Last night I enjoyed a lively conversation with Lucy Beresford on her sex & relationship programme on LBC radio, We were discussing ‘friends with benefits’ relationships and whether they can ever work.
According to online statistics, 47% of all single people admit to having had, at some point, a no-strings-attached FEBR (friends with benefits relationship) meaning they are far more common than I’d expected. Similarly, when I put the subject out to graze on Twitter, the general feedback was positive – needless to say, it was the men who were particularly enthusiastic, after all, booty call on demand, what’s not to love.
My thoughts? Hmm, I’m not so sure.
Maybe it’s because I’m an old bird now, and, in my day, a FEBR meant that, basically, the guy who you were shagging didn’t like you enough to call you his girlfriend, but I struggle to believe that a FWBR can really go the distance without one person becoming emotionally involved. After all, speaking for myself at least, attraction means more than a six-pack and a pretty face – it’s about general compatibility, being attracted to someone on a mental as well as physical level, it’s about real chemistry, and real chemistry inevitably leads to an emotional connection – sex for the sake of literally riding a dick? No thanks, I’ve got a vibrator for that.
And it would seem I’m not alone, because (and here’s the science bit) it is, according to the ‘experts’, scientifically impossible to have sex without a degree of emotion after a certain amount of time. All to do with deep limbic systems you see, where the emotional centres of your brain also stores the sexual memory, one thing triggers another and, hey presto, your fuck buddy who you barely remembered the name of is now the person you spent much of your waking day stalking on Facebook to see if he’s shagging anyone else.
Sure, hook up apps are making it easier to meet people for no-strings-sex, but along with an ongoing no-strings relationships comes a list of rules in order to make it successful … don’t hook up with a neighbour, don’t read more into it than there is, don’t expect much communication, don’t go mad when you see him with someone else, etc, etc. Sod that, it sounds like harder work than a ‘normal’ relationship, and why waste time with a person who ‘instructs’ you not to contact them outside of working (ahem) hours when you could be channelling your energies into meeting someone who didn’t mind seeing you in broad daylight.
Maybe I’m being harsh, and sure, with two consenting adults who agreed boundaries (and are clearly, really bloody horny), it could work.
But I’ll pass, thank you. Friends with benefits relationships to me, really mean that he’s just not that into you – master the art of masturbation, it’ll be far more fulfilling in the long run.