How many times have we heard the term “f*ck buddies” or “friends with benefits”?
On vacation with a friend we spent a lot of time discussing this, mainly trying to decide if it was even conceivable. While exploring Ireland, we found ourselves coming back to this subject on many different occasions.
Our holiday looked like this: airport—pub—hotel—breakfast—old stuff—pub—sleep over a pub—breakfast—pub—oatmeal with Irish Mist (whiskey)—a Texan in a pub—breakfast—pub—looking for Colin Farrell and Jonathon Rhys Meyer…pub, pub, pub. You get the point. In my defense I actually was thinking of Will Ferrell, and was hoping for a glimpse of Henry the VIII.
Needless to say we may have proved two things:
I now believe Guinness to be food group on it’s own, and it may very well be possible to have a friend with benefits. I also now know who Colin Farrell is, I still love the Tudors and I learned a ton about the views of others and sex. All because of Ireland, my friend Elle and a Texan.
I used to waver on my opinion about whether or not having a purely sexual relationship was possible, and when I started considering this as an option—post divorce—I realized there may be something to gain from emotional detachment and physical closeness with someone I absolutely trust. I thought about it long and hard (pun intended) before making an informed decision.
I spoke to both male and female friends, starting on that vacation and continuing after I returned, to get their views on this taboo topic. It turns out my friends are really open about sex.
The majority of my female friends said that they do not think it works because someone always gets hurt. My male friends were all for it. My attention then turned to question who is getting hurt and why? If no one get’s hurt will it work?
It seemed to me this was being done the wrong way.
The women who spoke about the negative aspect of this type of relationship all admitted that they had developed an emotional attachment to their partner leaving them very hurt, and in the end their friendships suffered.
However, the men I spoke to also admitted to developing deeper emotional bonds, admitting that they backed off so as not to ruin their friendships and at the same time hurt the women.
Both ways the friendship was being effected. And on some level everyone was developing attachment, either emotional or physical or both, to their partner.
Why weren’t people seeing that this connection is natural and inevitable. Since the fourth century Plato has discussed human societal bonding. We are mammals and we bond with one another through touch. When we have a sexual relationship this creates a coupling—like it or not—for everyone involved.
If going into a situation that mutually benefits two consenting adults, why can’t ground rules be set up?
If you know your friend well enough then you would know if you are considering involvement with someone who is either desperate and clingy, or someone who is emotionally mature enough to understand it’s purely physical foundation. We are open with our friends.
This situation is not for someone you already have feelings for. You are setting yourself up for failure. If you have feelings for someone, be honest. What’s the worst that can happen? They may not feel the same way? You don’t know until you take that step. A key point though no matter which way you look at it though, is a sexual relationship will not create love.
Be realistic. Don’t go into this type of relationship thinking with your heart, or even worse thinking you can change the male friend who never wants to give up his bachelorhood and enjoys playing the field, or the female companion who is not ready for commitment and purposely keeps you in the friend zone. That is when you are going end up pulling something like this:
Remember: it’s not personal, it’s strictly business. The most outspoken of all my male friends was the Texan I met in Ireland (go figure)—no, we were not f*ck buddies. He, like me, does believe in this type of relationship if you set up rules and established boundaries.
Maybe a pros and cons list will help? (The Texan sent me one and I will share with you).
> emotional (yes, on some level it’s inevitable—be honest, take it for face value) and physical support
> self confidence (come on, you know you’ll feel sexy—maybe have a bit of swagger in your step).
> stress relief (enough said)
> great exercise (for the main act of intercourse it’s estimated that you can burn up to 200 calories. Add foreplay to that and and you can increase the burn).
> the likeliness of one person getting hurt is high (see pro number one)
> in the ideal “friends with benefits” situation both parties know there is no possibility of a long term relationship—that doesn’t mean that one or both participants will not meet someone else they could see themselves with. Ouch all around. Can the other person handle being left out?
> in theory a friendship would be unaffected by this type of thing, but in reality one stands to lose a good friend (if you were close enough to take the f*ck buddy leap, I’m guessing it would suck to lose them on any level).
I was involved in this sort of “relationship” earlier this year and we both fully understood:
> We were not “dating” each other.
> We were not “sexually involved” with other people.
> We did not discuss our relationship with other people, and we were 100% honest with each other.
When we decided to end our involvement, it was the easiest thing ever. No tears, no heartbreak, no drama. We are still friends, we have lunch and talk and we spend time together. Just not alone near a bed.
I fully believe this is type of thing is doable (pun intended), if you have realistic and compatible goals and open communication.
And an occasional Guinness. Cheers.
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Editor: Kate Bartolotta.
(adapted from my post on YOGANONYMOUS)