“Booty calls”. “Friends with Benefits”. “Fuck Buddies”.
In theory, I don’t have a problem with that: my overall philosophy is as long as all parties are consenting adults and no one is getting hurt, any sort of relationship that people chose to get into is fine.
However, I’ve recently had a number of friends and acquaintances come out of relationships where one party was only interested in sex and failed to tell the other. Worst of all, the other party believed that there was genuine love and connection in the relationship, when in fact it was all one-sided.
While I’ve found that no break-up is truly amicable, there is something especially upsetting and hurtful to learn that the person you thought you loved and had a real connection with, was with you only or primarily for sex. In a few cases, these experiences were downright traumatic. At the very least, as one friend put it, such experiences do little to help one’s self-esteem and self-worth as a person.
Not surprisingly, women are much more likely to be “used” for sex than men.
Speaking from my own experience, I simply cannot have sex with someone for a period of time and not love them. Blame it on hormones, the differences in how the female brain is wired, etc., but most women I know feel the same way.
Men, however, tend to be different. As one male friend of mine put it, “If it’s an offer, I’ll take it.” Crude, but he’s not alone in this. (And just to be fair, I have had a few male friends who were in relationships where they were used as sexual objects by women.)
In any case, there are usually certain signs if your significant other is only interested in sex. While this list is no way definitive, these are the ones that have come up over and over again in conversation.
1. Your partner only compliments you in physical terms.
Everyone enjoys a compliment every now and then. It’s nice to hear that you are pretty or handsome or even that you have a nice ass from time to time. However, if all you ever get in the way of compliments is comments about how you look, it may be a sign that your partner does not think about you beyond the physical.
Another major sign is if your partner constantly refers to your body (or specific parts of your body) in crude terms. (i.e., “tits”, “pussy”, etc.) While there is nothing wrong with occasional “dirty talk”, constantly referring to your body in such a way, especially if you are not suggesting it, may be your partner objectifying you and having little interest in what lies between your ears.
2. You never meet their friends.
This should be a huge red flag. My philosophy is that even if someone is “only” my friend, it’s just basic manners to introduce them to my other friends especially if we happen to be in public together and run into someone.
Frankly, if you are having sex with someone and they do not even acknowledge your existence to their friends, take it as a sign that you are not “the one” for them.
3. They want to constantly role play.
Again, I am not the sort to dictate what anyone should do in the privacy of their bedrooms. If role playing is your thing, then go for it. However, if your partner is the one who is constantly suggesting role play, wants you to pretend to be someone else, and only wants to have sex with you if you are in role, then the intimacy you crave may not be there.
I’m not talking the little things but major things like the death of a pet, the first day of a new job, etc.
Ideally, a boyfriend or girlfriend is first and foremost a friend. Friends by their definition love you. They are there for you even if it is only in the form of a short text or email showing their support.
If someone is not there for you, then they do not love you. Even though it may be painful to acknowledge this and the temptation to make excuses for them may be strong, it really is as simple as that.
5. It’s very one-sided.
I was in a relationship once where I was constantly doing things for my then-boyfriend (i.e. I cooked for him, folded his laundry and picked up the bill the majority of the times we went out). He, on the other hand, seldom even said thank you, much less returned the favor.
Unfortunately, this is very common in relationships where one party is interested primarily in sex and the other wants a “real” relationship.
Often, asking the other party if they are only in it for sex, seldom results in an honest answer. The fact is, people lie, especially when it is in their best interest to do so.
Most of the time when we feel that we are being used for sex it is because we are.
As painful as it can be, extracting ourselves from such relationships is often the best thing we can do for ourselves.
While many of us make the mistake in thinking we can “make” someone love us by giving them our bodies, it simply is not the case.
To paraphrase Bonnie Raitt, it truly is impossible to make someone love us when they don’t. Loving or perhaps more correctly lusting for someone’s body is not the same as loving their mind. While there is nothing wrong with two people coming together to satisfy mutual lust, there is something inherently wrong and potentially damaging with loving someone physically and emotionally who does not return the feeling.
If it happens to be a case where there is uncertainty, perhaps go on hiatus for awhile and see if your former partner returns and more importantly, the reasons they cite for wanting you back in their life.
If they don’t come back, then please refrain from beating yourself up, feeling that there is some failing within yourself, or that somehow you are the one lacking as a person.
The truth is, we all deserve to be treated with a minimum amount of respect and love. As painful as it sounds it’s nonetheless true: none of us can ever truly lose someone we never had to begin with in the first place.
Relephant to this:
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: elephant archives