Monthly Archives: August 2011
Justin Timberlake and Mia Kunis star in the new movie Friends with Benefits set to be released in North America this Friday. This new type of romantic comedy is sure to be a hit but at what cost?
For those not familiar, “Friends with Benefits” occurs when two friends have a sexual relationship without any kind of commitment. For many, especially in their twenties, this has become the accepted norm. It is so popular that NBC is debuting Friends with Benefits a half-hour sitcom this fall. The show is set around a group of twenty-something friends as they navigate through the dating world, helping one another out by ending up in the bedroom together.
This prevailing attitude is strikingly lacking one very important element―human emotions and attachments. Evolutionarily speaking we were made to bond so we can procreate and raise our young, thus ensuring the continuation of the human species. Oxytocin, a hormone released during an orgasm is nature’s bonding hormone, often referred to as the cuddle hormone.
The fascinating part of this biological response, which is not taken into account in the FWB relationship, is that estrogen seems to increase the calming and bonding effects of oxytocin, while testosterone seems to mute them. This explains why many women tend to feel more attached after sex than men do. This would also explain why so many women, who enter FWB relationships, even with the best intentions, end up feeling hurt and empty while taking a hit to their self-esteem.
Sure FWB relationships are often rationalized with such sentiments as, “It is better than being lonely, I am safe with my friend, it is not complicated, I can get my needs met and not have to deal with relationship issues.” However, the reality of these relationships is that they do end up with issues―whether for the friendship or the individuals involved. Once a friendship has crossed the line into physical intimacy, it is extremely difficult to keep it intact—especially when one or both develop feelings for the other.
The unspoken price of FWB, especially for women, is experiencing greater feelings of being more isolated, alone, and unfulfilled. The nature of a woman is to be pursued. She feels beautiful and desirable when the man she is interested in exhibits these behaviors. Having casual sex with her friend who is not in hot pursuit of her or maybe even talking to her about his interest in other women covertly affects her either emotionally or psychologically. As well, the nature of a man is to chase. He thrives in the process of attaining the affections of the woman he desires. FWB short-circuits this process when sexual intimacy is offered so freely leaving him sexually satisfied but feeling as if something is missing.
The bottom line is that there is not a short cut to having a real intimate relationship. To experience the incredible wonders of a deep love with physical intimacy, one must be willing to risk being vulnerable, opening up their heart, and making a commitment to their partner and their relationship.
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