We’ve all watched, or at least heard of, the movie that was released in September last year,
which popularised the idea of a friend with benefits, a relationship that Wikipedia describes as both physical and emotional, yet without the demands or extra commitment of a more formal romance. It’s an interesting concept, most men will admit, especially in an age when wedding date. But when it comes to the real world, how do you decide whether a friend with benefits arrangements is better than a real relationship?
Since there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution possible in this case, I outline various criteria that will help you decide whether old-fashioned romance or a casual sexual partnership is best for you:
Criterion 1: Do you place greater value on sexual fulfillment or cuddling?
Romantic relationships demand that you cuddle your partner before, during, and after sex. Remember that old saying that women give sex to get love, and that men give love to get sex? It still holds true. Many women have an unwritten ‘no cuddles, no sex next time’ policy.
A friend with benefits doesn’t claim to love you or expect anything from you. They’re in it for the sex alone. Yes, there are women who think this is a sensible equation, but these women are more likely than not in their late twenties or thirties…how do you feel about this?
Criterion 2: How do you define intimacy?
A romantic relationship involves cosy evenings under the stars, (expensive) candlelight dinners, hand-holding in parks and cinema halls. How does this go down with you?
A friend with benefits defines intimacy as stellar performances between the sheets. This calls for a robust stamina, among other things, and a healthy self-assurance. How do you rank on these two prerequisites?
Criterion 3: What ranks higher with you, sexual gratification or love and affection?
A romantic relationship demands that you place your partner’s needs above or at least at par with your own. Women think that real love is making sacrifices, even though they might not make too many that really benefit you.
A friend with benefits is purely concerned with satisfying her own sexual needs, and she knows that you too must derive enough pleasure from each encounter for the arrangement to continue. But the overt need for self gratification in a woman might take on a certain crudeness…aren’t women supposed to be all coy and feminine?
Criterion 4: How important is communication for you?
A romance feeds and thrives on communication, both in the form of platitudes like frequent declarations of undying love, and in detailing your every thought and deed to your partner. If you’re not comfortable with sharing, you will be branded as emotionless and unfeeling.
A friend with benefits doesn’t need to recount the details of boring meetings with her boss or inane conversations with her mother. She won’t have time to listen to you grumble about work pressure or your long commute either. Call her up when you have good news; bad news must be dealt with yourself. If you need to express yourself to someone, a friend with benefits isn’t the first person you should think of calling.
Despite the faint contempt that society views casual sexual relationships with, an increasing number of urban men and women are resorting to friends with benefits option today. On the other hand, a reputation around town as a ‘player’ might forever sully your name in the marriage market, and come mid-thirties, everyone (you too) would want to settle into the comfort of a good marriage.
It’s the age old face-off between love and sex, and nobody but you can make the trade-off!
So, given the choice, would you opt for old-fashioned romance or a friendship with benefits?