Many people seem to think that the arrangement of a friend with benefits is something new to our age which didn’t exist in the repressed, prudish past when it was taboo to even speak about sex to a person of the opposite gender, much less have actual relations outside the marriage bed.
This is an absolute lie. Human nature is what it is, and whether one wants to admit it or not, being in love and being in lust are two entirely different things, as is the need for physical gratification with no ties versus the need to share one’s actual life with someone special. Therefore, though the term itself may have been coined within the last fifty years or so, the need to have this kind of purely physical connection with someone is nothing new.
Of course, this isn’t something everyone experiences. It depends on the individual – their wants and needs, not to mention the kind of person they are, their state of mind, and their particular journey in life. Some people are judgemental about sleeping with someone without being in love, but let’s be frank:
Falling in love with someone who really and truly loves us back is hard, very hard. Picking up a random person or indeed a friend and deciding consensually to play a bit in your free time when you’re both single and not hurting or deceiving anybody is not.
I’m not referring to adultery or two-timers. I’m speaking of people who have no deep emotional attachment whatsoever, and who merely meet to give each other pleasure in the physical sense. No expectations, no strings, no attachment, no special communication or sharing of experiences. Just sex.
What most people don’t get is that when one feels the need or scoops the opportunity to have a friend-with-benefits arrangement, the focus of the issue is not the other person at all. Sex on its own and without love is merely an itch to scratch – just a natural need like eating or going to the bathroom or sleeping.
The need for this kind of connection with another human being highlights the lack of importance one attaches to the other person, since neither party really amorously cares for the other. If they did, the connection wouldn’t be an arrangement, but an actual relationship. If you have a friend with benefits, it’s not the friend who’s at the centre of your attention, because in reality they’re simply a means to an end. Through this connection, you’re really focusing on no one else but yourself.
I’m neither saying that this is bad nor that having casual emotionless sex is needed to attain Nirvana or to feel complete. What I mean is that perhaps the individual is at a certain point in their life where they need to distance themselves from their emotions, in order to perhaps start a new phase, or to cleanse or release themselves after a break up, or maybe to grow as an adult, or even just to explore one’s own sexuality. They can do all of this without having to get any type of feelings into the mix.
Perhaps the individual’s just horny. The thing is though, having a friend with benefits isn’t like a one night stand; it’s a planned, structured, and recurring kind of arrangement. It’s not something that happens once impulsively when out on a drunken night, but something comfortable and almost routine, like putting on a snug pair of fluffy socks for bed and knowing they’re always there waiting for you if you should feel like it.
It’s not for me to say whether the state of friends-with-benefits is a temporary phase or a permanent type of arrangement in a person’s life. It all depends on the individual. However, whether you’re a young adult exploring your sexuality, or a lonely being seeking human contact or just plain randy, it’s important to be very clear with the other person at the start of such an arrangement in order to draw the line between physical attraction and emotional attachment. In the end, if the understanding between the two people is clear that it’s consensual without any frills or misunderstandings, and if there’s no partner waiting in the side lines, there’s nothing wrong with it at all.
On the other hand, casually scratching the itch isn’t really as offhand as it sounds, since there are serious downsides to it. Aside from venereal diseases and personal hygiene, imagine how you’d feel if you started dating someone, and they told you that they’d been having such an arrangement with an acquaintance of theirs for some months, but that since they were seeing you they’d ended it, would you be comfortable with that? Many people wouldn’t, which would mean that those having friends with benefits would essentially be losing the opportunity to have a real relationship with someone they could love or share their life with.
It depends on what you really want, and what you’re willing to risk for it. Is the game really worth the candle?