Nov 2, 2008

friends with benefits

The specificity of the term FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS lends itself to allude to the clandestine nature of such arrangements. I’m not sure how many people reading this are familiar (be it first, second or third hand knowledge…) with this social phenomenon—FWBs is an arrangement in which 2 consenting individuals who have an existing non-romantic relationship include the intimacy element into their relationship without any strings attached. (in the vast majority of instances, this applies to an active sexual relationship.)

Interesting piece in the Times about the first research study conducted about the friends with benefits phenomenon. Of 125 young adults, 60 percent reported having been involved in a FWB situation:
One-tenth of these relationships went on to become full-scale romances, the study found. About a third stopped the sex and remained friends, and one in four eventually broke it off — the sex and the friendship. The rest continued as friends-with-benefits relationships.

Further it found that the common thread in these arrangements was a fear of emotional attachment:
The relationships tend to have little romantic passion, but stir the same fears that stalk lovers: namely, that one person will fall harder than the other.

Paradoxically, and perhaps predictably, the study suggests, these physical friendships often occlude one of the emotional arteries of real friendship, openness. Friends who could once talk about anything now have an unstated taboo topic — the relationship itself. In every conversation, there is innuendo; in every room, an elephant.

Obviously, the conundrum should now be obvious—the supposed compromise of openness in the friendship runs antithetical to the precise progressiveness of the friendship that allowed that intimacy to occur in the first place. Additionally, the concept behind FWBs now appears to be fundamentally flawed, in that the dividing line between emotional intimacy and physical intimacy appears more prone to being blurred than not. FWBs are predicated on a necessary separation of the 2—hence permitting the “no strings attached” status.

I think at the end of the day, there is not much else to remind us of our own humanity than to what lengths we would go, in the pursuit of eradicating the loneliness we feel far more often than we’d like to admit.

Thoughts? Would appreciate the discourse at the moment!!! Best avenue is MSN:

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