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No Strings Attached

  • February 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Last weekend I had the opportunity to see the movie, “No Strings Attached” starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman which touches on the age old questions: Can two individuals be “sex buddies?” and Can a true relationship develop from one that is initially based on casual sex? The movie was a cute romantic comedy. For movie reviews, you can click here: http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810159162/info

Let’s explore these questions:

Can two individuals be “sex buddies?”

Many times our friends are people we share common interests with. We confide in them and we enjoy spending time with them. What’s the difference between a friend and a lover? Not much besides the fact that you have physical intimacy with the lover. So making the decision to turn a friend into a friend with benefits is not a difficult one. In fact, the idea that you can have a friendship in which you feel totally uninhibited is very alluring. And if you’re able to make rules: no expectations, no jealousy, no fighting and most important of all…no falling in love. It seems like the perfect arrangement. Unfortunately, this arrangement at the least can only work in the short term and at the most is extremely unrealistic. As humans we are not simply governed by our biological drives and urges but also by our biological needs. We each have an emotional need to feel loved and cared for. We also have a need to attach and bond with others, which is influenced by the release of the “love hormone” oxytocin, during sexual stimulation and orgasms. Therefore it is inevitable that one or both of the parties are going to become attached to the other forcing the relationship to transition into something more serious or bringing the relationship to an end. So before entering into a friendship with benefits, make sure to ask yourself is it worth risking the friendship? Be cautious and be careful.

Can a true relationship develop from one that is initially based on casual sex?

As I mentioned above, it is inevitable that one or both of the parties in a friendship with benefits may become attached to each other and want to transition the relationship into becoming something more serious. Can those individuals create a happy, fulfilling and possibly long-term relationship? Surprisingly, the answer is…Yes! Upon analyzing relationship surveys, University of Iowa researchers determined “that those who became sexually involved as friends or acquaintances and were open to a serious relationship were just as happy as those who dated but delayed having sex.” This suggests that true love can emerge if people become sexually involved and then build a relationship. I believe this is because many times the building tools needed to create a lasting and intimate relationship are already in place: common interests, respect, sexual compatibility, etc. Therefore as long as both parties are interested in being in a relationship that is more committed, evidence shows there is little difference in the satisfaction levels of people in a relationship that was based on “hook-ups” and those who delayed having sex.

Although the idea of having sex with no strings attached sounds great in theory, the reality is there are ALWAYS strings attached. It’s like playing Russian roulette. Things may work out in your favor, but then again they might not. Are you willing to take the risk?

Have you had a “sex buddy?” What was the outcome? Did it blossom into a serious relationship or did it ruin the friendship/acquaintance? Do you have any advice for someone thinking about entering into a friendship with benefits?

Photo: Paramount Studios