The article below is noteworthy on four counts.  First, it signals the apparently profound and still-in-existence differences between the sexes in liberated 2008.  Gender turns out not to be such a construct after all.  And trendy young women still seem to be ducking the ‘whore’/’slut’ label and identity.

Second, this FWB (’Friends With Benefits’: regular sex-only partners) is increasingly seen as respectable, and at least not a positively immoral, lifestyle.  The CNN would not warmly describe, say, activity which is perceived as completely beyond the pale (for instance, ‘A Day in the Life of Marc, Slave Owner in Sudan’).  But the FWB phenomenon has managed to make it to first, even second base, aided in huge part by its prevalence and ‘feel-good’ factors, which help to grant some social legitimacy to it.

Third, this article is deeply sad. That women (and men) could settle for FWB – with the requisite social and linguistic manoeuvrings, so as to lessen the unintended negative consequences – and not realise how they will get burned is tragic.  One cannot undo the sexual, psychological and spiritual bonding which occurs in sex. Just because one does not reckon on the price does not mean one will not pay. Moreover, how these FWB are remotely ’friends’ is beyond me:  ‘friends’ in fact are the one thing they are not. Yet such is the euphemistic nomenclature ascribed to them.  Why?

Finally — and I hate to bring it up here but will do so anyway — this article confirms the reality that one of the sexual phenomenas in ‘gay’ culture, that of the f—buddy, is being firmly established in ’straight’ culture, just with a more genteel label and refined etiquette. Norms of sexual libertinism, most advanced and developed across the culture in ’gay’world, are now appearing in wider society. ’How Gay Sex Changed the World’, Channel 4’s recent documentary, boasts such is the case and gives lots of evidence to prove it!  In ‘gay’world, these ‘relationships’ have been called f—buddies; in respectable ’straight’ world, they are called FWB, though even there f—-buddies terminology is surfacing in less formal, more popular spheres now. See for yourself.  Google is a great place to start.

So much for the privileging of the intimate binary psycho-sexual ’relationship’ — we are now into the cultural affirmation of a love-free pure orgasmic experience with FWB (and Friends is rightly in the plural).  And you must not assume that the members of your church are immune from its corrosive touch.   Though few would probably volunteer the information — such matters are still relatively taboo, are they not? — they would know all about it.  Perhaps only too well.

OP-ED: The Proper Way to Be Friends with Benefits
Judy McGuire October 9, 2008    Hat-tip:  Maggie Gallagher, iMAPP

There are times in every woman’s life where her body wants either what her heart can’t handle or her brain knows better.

Men are seemingly born knowing how to detract emotions from sex, but women can have a harder time of it.

You know the drill — you want a man, but not a relationship. Or, more to the point, you want some loving [‘loving’?]  but don’t want the strings attached.

Maybe you’re wildly attracted to a dude physically, but find him mentally or morally lacking — like a tanning technician or a bounty hunter.

There’s no way you’d ever date him, but why should you deny yourself entirely?

Answer: Not a reason in the world.

Negotiating a long-term, friends-with-benefits type situation can be tricky for us ladies.

Dudes are seemingly born knowing how to detract emotions from physical activity. In fact, with many of them, I think it’s their default setting. They can spend the night with a woman and then meander off into the sunset without giving the assignation a second thought.

But women can have a harder time of it. We worry that we’re being “used” (hello? Pot meet Kettle!) or feel like we’re being promiscuous — talk about a double standard!

The trick is to accept what you’ve got with this person and avoid trying to make it something it’ll never be. I’ve certainly been guilty of trying to turn a completely fine FWB into a BF, and the results were predictably disastrous.

So here are some pitfalls to avoid:

* Language: Yes, it helps if he speaks a foreign language you don’t understand, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Pronouns like us or we are to be avoided like an open sore and all talk of plans further into the future than an hour or two away is verboten.

* Meals: Acceptable FWB dining situations include shared bowls of cocktail peanuts, late-night grilled cheese sandwiches, and fancy desserts. Meals to be avoided are breakfast, brunch, dinner, with a special get-out-of-jail free card for lunch.

* Conversation: Questions any more probing than “what are you wearing?” and “when can we meet?” can get a little sticky. Your FWB doesn’t want to hear about your crazy mom and you really don’t want him to start yapping about his Ayn Rand fixation. Keep it light, keep it moving.

* Socializing: He doesn’t meet your friends, you don’t meet his. That goes double for family members. The best thing about having a FWB is that he’s your dirty little secret.

I remember being out with a girlfriend and running into the French-Canadian model I was spending my nights with at the time. He kissed me hello as my friend’s jaw dropped down three flights of stairs. Blushing, I introduced him to my buddy who was still having trouble recovering her powers of speech. As he walked away, she punched me. Hard. “Shut up!” she yelled. I just smiled.

On second thought, if he’s that hot you might want to bring him around just for a drive-by.

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