Friends with benefits. Sex buddies. Booty call. Loosely involved. We have lots of terms for the ever-trendy entanglement, some more printable than others. But what does it mean? We've all been there – the casual sex, the waiting by the phone. We say we're great with the exciting trysts and late-night phone calls – but are we? Or, are many of us biding our time for it to grow into something more?
Usually loneliness or the desire to create something more than just friends, says Kate Billingsley (also known as Lady Fontaine), a love psychic, certified relationship expert, and life coach. These relationships appear safe on the surface and participants often feel that it is better than just sleeping around. Engaging in a friends-with-benefits arrangement allows for the physical gratification of a relationship without the commitment. These relationships offer what appears to be the best of both worlds where both partners lead their own lives and are not obligated to the other; which sounds enticing to some but every so often one of the partners secretly craves for more.
Friends with benefits relationships usually don't work out for either party, Billingsley says. Women and some men have difficulty with physical intimacy without the emotional connection. This can set up one or both individuals for more than they initially bargained for. For women, this type of relationship is much harder to maintain because of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone and neurotransmitter, released during orgasm. It is the same hormone released in higher dose when a woman gives birth. So, for women to maintain a casual relationship when there is sex involved chemically works against the dynamics of her hormones and body.
|Guys in friends with benefits situation have it just the way they want: Great sex, a friend to hang out with when they are bored, no commitment, no exclusivity.|
"It has been my experience that once you have been a friend with benefits, you will not get out of that role," says Irina Firstein, LCSW, a relationship expert based in New York City. If you want to be The One, do not get into a loose friendship/sexual relationship, as he will never see you the way you want him to. "I don't care what anyone says, men appreciate the chase, they want a bit of a challenge (if they are really into you) and once you are casual in sexual matters, and just give it away they will not see you as special; this is where you will remain. It is impossible to change your status," Firstein says.
If you are already in a friends with benefits situation, you will never get to that next step, cautions Berit Brogaard Associate Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at University of Missouri at St. Louis. The chances are absolutely minute. Guys in a friends with benefits situation have it just the way they want it: Great sex, a friend to hang out with when they are bored, no commitment, no exclusivity.
To increase the chances of getting to that next step you need to make yourself somewhat unavailable (for sex and friendship-on-his-terms). Your guy then gets a chance to miss you. Guys confuse longing with love. So, if your guy gets a chance to miss you, he may start to have real feelings for you and not just sexual desire.
What exactly is a "friend with benefits?" Is there a way to hook up casually and still keep a friendship strong? Explore this phenomenon with Dr. Joy Davidson.
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