Is it really beneficial?

Sabina, I feel for ya. I really do. I’ve been there, done that, and had to deal with the fall out as well. But I have to ask, since I asked myself this same question, is it really beneficial? Sure, they help you get a release that, let’s face it, is completely different then the one you can provide yourself, but do you gain anything from it? And, although we call them “friends” with benefits, are they really friends during the friends with benefits time? Or are they really just trusted living sexual aids? No more then a living dildo or a fleshy blow-up doll?

I know, that seems terribly uncaring and crude, but let’s face it, if they aren’t looked at as unfeeling sexual tools, then all you’re doing is lying to yourself and your partner(s). You’re in a full-blown adult sexual and emotional relationship! That’s just how it works. I’m not saying it’s love. It doesn’t have to be love. But the absence of love does not mean the absence of feeling and emotion. In fact, I don’t think it’s actually possible to have sex with the same person more then once without having feelings and emotions attached to that person. It’s human nature. Humans bond through shared and similarly-shared experiences. You can’t get a much more shared experience then consensual adult sex.

So I say that if you can confide in someone, look forward to being with someone, and put your trust in someone while having sex with that same someone, then you have no right to expect that person to maintain an emotional distance. It’s ludicrous! You’re defying the very definition of a friend.

You want a friend with benefits? Get a dog or a cat (the benefit is there’s none of that sexual tension, they don’t talk back, and you can lock them in a room when they get really annoying and they don’t hate you for it). You want a friend with sexual benefits, then call them what they really are, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, whatever. Just don’t expect them to be emotionless. You’re not.

Oh, and if you can handle more then one (I know I can’t) then do that. Just make sure they know what they’re getting into.

Still single and now getting off my soapbox,

Scott

[UPDATE] Just so that everyone reading this (especially Sabina) knows, I am not condemning Sabina for any of her actions in this blog. I can’t condemn her for doing something I myself have done in the past. I was just expressing my own experience-gained opinion on the matter of friends with benefits. Sabina is a good-hearted, thoughtful, fucked-up person just like me. I love her dearly and would not want anyone reading this to think otherwise. Okay. I feel better now. S.

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How long can benefits last?

Up until a month ago, I was convinced of the wonders of the friends with benefits scheme. What better than to merge the friend, the guy you can talk to, with the sexual partner, and all without the hassle of a relationship (something I don’t think I can handle at the moment)? The best part: you can have more than one! There are no demands, no pressure, no jealousy, no tantrums, and no heartache (or guilt, if the one with heartache is the other). Perfect, right?

Wrong! Invariably, something changes at some point in time. And I’m not talking about the weirdness in the friendship, that’s over in a couple of days, and there’s usually smooth sailing from there. In my experience, this includes respect in case one of the friends is involved in a relationship, occasional calls and nighttime meetings otherwise, and total secrecy among other groups of friends to avoid gossip. I’m not delusional; I was skeptic when I first started having this kind of relationship. I was wary of letting feelings come into the picture (theirs and mine), because I knew from day one that I did not want a relationship to result from the pact. It didn’t. Everyone behaved as planned. For a time I felt as though I’d figured out the secret of life. I had all the benefits of relationships without the downside. And then I let my guard down.

There was one particular friend, let’s call him S, with whom I let my guard down more than with any other… He’s 40, incapable of monogamy, constantly travelling and living life as it comes. I like talking to him, I can confide in him, even though he’s a little too sappy for my taste (refer to the “Am I the Guy, Then?” post). He calls me on the rare occasions that he’s in town and free. We’ve been seeing each other in this fashion for three years. He’s married (it’s an open marriage; his flings are with his wife’s permission)! There was no reason to suspect that feelings might become involved. And then, one fateful night about two months ago, he told me he loved me. As he was leaving, he complained that I never let him stay the night (he’d never asked). He insisted on seeing me the following week (also a first), and I complied, hoping we’d fall back into the comfortable friends bracket. He told me he loved me again. He told me he’d missed me all week. He asked me to go with him (he was leaving for two months on a project). I said no, walked him to the door, and sighed in relief, hoping that the two months away would be enough to make this sudden infatuation die down. It wasn’t. I get racy (but poetic) texts almost every day. Several times a week, there are poems in my inbox from him. I rarely answer, but that hasn’t deterred him, he just assumes (rightly so) that I’ve been busy.

Two months have come and gone, and he’s due back in the city any day, and I’ve been worrying about how to handle it. I have to let him down, that I know, but I’m worried about being too harsh; he’s sensitive and I don’t want to hurt him. I also want to stay friends, although I’m pretty sure the benefits part will have to be over. For now, I’m happy to report that I’ve got business trips planned all month, which give me a perfect excuse to avoid him, but I can’t avoid him forever.

The party’s over, at least with S. And here’s to hoping that H, W and J don’t suddenly develop the need for something more.