Sleeping With Your Friends
I've lived in Toronto for seven years and have moved through a dozen or so social circles in my time here. Things are generally tight and without prodding, most groups tend to avoid long-term co-mingling. People move in and out but a core group tends to remain.
I've also had my share of fun and several relationships but I've noticed a distinct shift in terms of whom I choose to get closer with. Most of my hook-ups are close friends that I've known for awhile. While I've dated some of them briefly, all of them are people I feel comfortable with.
According to the ever-useful NOW Magazine Love and Sex Guide "35 percent of men and 39 percent of woman" identify as single while engaging in sexual relations with a friend.
Allowing for the demographics of those who cared to respond to the survey, that's still a substantial number.
A friend of mine once commented that friends who know each other long enough and well enough can get quite "incestuous" with each other. Leaving aside the potential for misunderstandings (of which there can be many) and monogamy (generally the favorite option) many people seem to find that while they are up for the idea of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, they're perfectly happy to sleep with a almost-right option, the friend with benefits.
The advantages can seem pretty good. You can hopefully be more honest with each other because , as friends, you both know what you want; a good fuck. No commitments, no romance, just some simple intimacy and you can both laugh about it in the morning.
If it were that easy, more people would be doing it. People become friends for a variety of reasons and while attraction is not always a factor, the FWB situation can be perceived as an opportunity by one friend for pursuing the other romantically.
The common fallacy of "if they sleep with me, everything else will work out" has a tremendous pull on many people and this erroneous notion leads to a lot of deception; the death of many a FWB relationship.
And yeah, that's right, it is a relationship. While commitment-phobes might like to call it anything but, it's a exactly that with some carefully-self-defined (if unspoken) unboundaries. While any relationship relies on honesty to survive, a FWB relationship is particularly fallible to fuck-ups when one person lies to themselves or their partner
The flip-side of being honest with your partner is not talking about the relationship with all of your other friends. Rumors, misconceptions and jealousy are no fun and all of the safety-nets that can apply to a monogamous relationship are often disregarded by those in the know who feel that the FWB relationship is not as "sacred". The more people who are involved, the easier it is for one of you to get hurt.
Me, I don't know how I feel about FWBs long-term but they seem easier. As I get older (and have a better idea of what I'm looking for) the desire to start a monogamous relationship with just anyone seems pointless unless I really want to make a go of it.
Picking up while out is generally unappealing and often has more unknown factors than I'm comfortable dealing with. Sticking with what you know is not the same as being stuck in a rut and can potentially be much more stable than one-night stands.
While some folks might look at FWBs as greedy letches who want to have their cake and eat it too, I just want another slice.
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