No Strings Attached: Does Sex Without Commitment Work?
Girl meets boy. Girl likes boy. But girl isn’t looking for a committed relationship, so she agrees to some “no strings” nookie with boy. No, this isn’t just the plot of Mila Kunis’ upcoming film Friends with Benefits (which is strikingly similar to her Black Swan costar Natalie Portman’s film No Strings Attached). It’s also a very real option for a number of us. The rationale? Just because we aren’t ready or able to commit to someone emotionally, doesn’t mean we can’t fulfill their desires sexually. But can “sex only” relationships ever truly work? Or are these “friends with benefits” destined to crash and burn? Let’s delve into the real sexcapades of 20-something women:
YES IT CAN:
*Michelle, 27 (Los Angeles)
The Scenario: I met a great guy but I wasn’t interested in a relationship or even casually dating. But I discovered that the sex was AMAZING with him! The situation worked really well for a few months; we both had the same expectations and went into it with our eyes wide open. But when my partner began developing feelings beyond our physical relationship, I knew I had to end it.
The Lesson: One has minimal control over her feelings. Putting up emotional walls may work for a little while, but eventually nature rules and feelings escape. When that happens, be honest about it!
*Katrina, 24 (New York)
The Scenario: I was extremely attracted to an older, longtime friend. Because I trusted him, I knew that we could establish a sex only arrangement that would work. He was always there when I needed him, if you know what I mean.
The Lesson: Being with him taught me that I would need to separate my affection for him from my physical attraction to him. It can be done but it usually requires strong willpower. I developed it, but it took some serious personal reflection on my part.
*Erica, 25 (San Francisco)
The Scenario: I had just ended a relationship with my boyfriend, but I wasn’t ready to let him go. So, I settled for just sex. This of course didn’t work because my emotions were involved and I wanted more from it than he did.
The Lesson: Sometimes, you just have to let people go. Unfortunately, I had some insecurities and self-esteem issues at the time that I needed to resolve in order to learn from the situation.
*Alicia, 23 (Chicago)
The Scenario: I decided to try no commitment sex with a guy I had gone on a few dates with. But it didn’t take long to realize that it wouldn’t work. I actually started to like him but he wasn’t interested in letting what we had develop into a relationship.
The Lesson: My body is sacred and should be respected as such. It is MINE and I can do with it whatever I please. But, the key is to know what I expect from a man before I engage with him physically or emotionally for that matter.
Sex only bonds aren’t for everyone, but if you are emotionally able to partake in one, remember these important rules:
1. Reflect and make sure that you are only interested in a physical connection.
2. Establish specific boundaries with your partner before you have sex.
3. Do not mistake sex for intimacy or deeper compatibility.
4. If you or your partner begin to develop deeper feelings (and they’re not reciprocated), end the relationship.
5. DO NOT TRY THIS WITH AN EX UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
So there you have it, ladies. Go cautiously into any and all endeavors that involve your body and/or you heart. What’s your stance on having a friend with benefits?
*All names have been changed to protect the sexually adventurous.
Photo Credit: © Amy Seder