Sex with benefits

We’ve all heard of friends with benefits.  There has even been a movie recently made on the topic, which, being a romantic comedy, romanticises the notion, and of course, implies that such a course is not doomed to disaster.

The tv series, Boston Legal, also visited the subject with two of their longer-running characters.  Of course, the fact that the woman in question was a very assertive, strong woman, who controlled the connection (at one point, she had two such “friends” at the same time) and that the main friend was in love with her made the whole scenario rather untrue to life.

I know people who have walked that path.  In most cases it has led to disaster.  Way too many women think that if they go along with it, eventually the man in question will be smitten by their charms and will lay his heart at their feet.  In a couple of cases, it has worked out ok, but only when both people seriously do not want any more than a purely sexual arrangement, and both have eventually gone their separate ways quite happily.  But I personally, don’t know anyone that started off with that arrangement, and ended up together happily ever after.  No doubt it has happened, somewhere, to someone…but I would be very surprised if anyone could prove it to be a statistical probability.

So, what is friends with benefits?  It is theoretically, an arrangement where two single people agree to meet sexual needs with each other, without all the hassle of a commitment of any kind (including something as harmless as boyfriend/girlfriend).  In essence, there are no promises, no guarantees, and either party is free to walk at any time guilt-free.  It sounds very mature, practical and modern, doesn’t it?

Personally, since it is called friends with benefits, my literal assumption would be that the two people concerned were aquaintances, with common bonds and ties of friendship, and some background of liking and respect for one another.  Under those circumstances, and with suitable levels of sexual attraction for one another, and a background of social interaction which might or might not lead to sex on any given occasion, I could almost see this as being an eminently practical solution for many singles.

There is a problem though.

Many, many people who announce they want friends with benefits publicly – i.e. dating sites – are men…mostly very young men.  But for those who actually spell it out, they are not looking for any kind of friendship, or bond or social interaction with the opposite gender.  They just want to have sex without any kind of connection at all.  Most of them don’t even want to go through the parade of some kind of dating situation first.  Essentially, they want to name a time, a place, have the woman show up, satisfy the man’s needs, and then she disappears.  Purely mechanical, without any socialisation aspect to it at all.  Another, less flattering, but undoubtedly more honest name for this arrangement is a booty call.  Of course, to put it in it’s plainest, most unflattering terms, what these men want is a prostitute…but they don’t want to pay for one.  They want sex without intimacy, without developing any kind of liking or interest in the other person beforehand.  It’s the sexual equivalent of fast food.

Of course, some women are happy with this arrangement.  I haven’t personally met one yet, but I am sure they are out there.  Mind you, I am sure the real working girls must eye with disbelief, those who exchange sex for…..nothing.  I don’t know if they have a motto, but if they do, I am sure it is something like “If you’re going to get laid, then you might as well get paid!”.

This is the point at which someone is going to accuse me of being overly moral, or prudish…or possibly immoral after making up that slogan.

But seriously…isn’t it really kind of sad and pathetic when two human beings couple in a mechanical, animalistic way…without having any genuine liking or interest in the other person?  And if you are happy to walk away without a background glance afterwards,then don’t try and argue that there is genuine liking or interest.  All you really mean is the other person didn’t revolt you.

Humans are naturally social animals.  There is the odd exception, but most hermits become that way after being revolted or horrified or disgusted by the other humans they interact with.  An emotionally healthy human being, with healthy contacts with other human beings does not become a hermit.  Some people don’t need a lot of interactions, as long as those they do have are of high quality.  But we all need some.

Sexual pairings are one way to add to our level of social interaction.  Certainly the whole courtship dance, whether or not it is designed or destined to end in a permanent pairing, is quite an exciting social interaction.  The initial attraction, flirting, the build-up of sexual tension, the anticipation…all of these things add  value to our lives.   When we skip all of that, and cut straight to the mechanical aspect of sex, then we lose all that excitement…the whole adrenaline rush of courtship.

This leads me to suspect that those who seek only a no-strings attached coupling (NSA sex) are unable to achieve intimacy.  I exempt those who are in a temporary state of damage; e.g. the person who is recently out of a bad relationship, for example.  But for someone who doesn’t have that excuse….someone who simply want to “f*ck and flee” on every occasion…there is something definitely wrong with them, because a healthy social animal doesn’t work that way.

As I said, there seems to be a preponderance of them on online dating sites.  I suspect that what seems to be an excessive number may be in part due to them flooding any and all prospects with their enticing emails..”U r hott…want 2 hav sum fun?”.  But there are certainly far more of them then there should be.

So, friends without benefits is, to my mind at least, a bad idea.  So, I would like to suggest an alternative…sex with benefits.

It works this way..two people meet who are sexually attracted to one another.  Rather than running at one another like animals in rut, and then running away again after before there can possibly be any suggestion of any other kind of interaction, they take a whole new approach.  They both actually work at heightening the attraction.  They flirt, they do things like dancing (incredibly sexual activity), they learn how to seduce the other person’s mind (yes, seduction is actually very sexual…who’d have thought?), they create an environment where brushing the other person’s hand is enough to trigger that rush of excitement and thrills.  And then when the tension is at it’s height, then and only then take the steps to actually engage in the next level of intimacy…and do that in the expectation that sexual intimacy also takes time (more than one night please!) to build and heighten into something bigger and better.

Ok, maybe this won’t result in a white wedding, house in the suburbs, and 2.4 kids.  I never said they would, and in fact those results actually have very little to do with emotional intimacy…in many cases, those things can directly destroy or more frequently lead to atrophy of that intimacy.  But maybe, if more people learnt how to focus on building that intimacy in the first place, then relationships would be better overall, and have a higher success rate.

And if, to get back to my food metaphor, people ate a lot less fast food, and learnt how to cook their own gourmet meals in partnership with others…they have a far better chance of eating in style for life.  And if one cooking partnership falls apart after a while, then you are better situated to find a new cooking partner in future.  Less running from one fast food joint to another, and more long-term exploration and development of fine restaurants (if you are still hanging in with this metaphor, good for you!).

Anyway I, and I am sure a lot of other people out there don’t want an endless chain of soulless sexual encounters.  We want sex…but with all the benefits that it can bring…social interaction, emotional satisfaction, and sometimes even, an actual relationship.  Because frankly, if we are going to treat sex like a business transaction…then we might as well be getting paid for it.

Advertisements

Did Grandma eat plastic food?

Mine certainly didn’t.  She did eat a lot of things that are now frowned upon, in quantities that defy the government approved dietary principles of today.  And yet strangely enough, she was thin as a rake her entire life, and pretty healthy too.  And her diet didn’t kill her; that was the shock of losing her only daughter that made her give up living.  It was her mind that killed her, not her food.

So what did Grandma eat?  I spent nearly all my school holidays with her as a teenager, so I am well-versed in that subject.

Lamb was pretty popular.  She’d cook up chops in a casserole, and that would last several nights in a row.  This is old fashioned lamb too; not the heart smart, lean cuts.  Sausages were also popular – and they weren’t anything fancy either.  She usually had take-away once a week; either fish and chips, or fried chicken, chips, and a pineapple fritter, cooked by her local store…not a chain fast-food restaurant.

She ate mashed potato, nearly every night, made with full-cream milk and butter.  She used a lot of butter in her cooking.  She ate toast with butter and Vegemite for breakfast most mornings.  Lunch varied; sometimes a sandwich, sometimes leftovers.  She never threw food out; always ate it up.

So, what didn’t she eat?

Not a lot of bread…a loaf would easily last her one week.  Never pasta, and rice was something that turned up in a rice pudding, not a risotto.  She didn’t eat plastic food – the kind of food that has a list of ingredients on the label, half of which are created in laboratories.  She didn’t drink soft drink/soda…it was either tea or water.  And the water came out of a rainwater tank, which always had a faint tang of kerosene (which she used to pour on top to kill mosquitoes).  She didn’t eat breakfast cereal, aside from porridge/oats in the winter, and so avoided all the sugars and flavourings used to make modern cereals attractive.

She grew some of her own food; raspberries, and almonds and tomatoes and beans and peas – I will always remember helping her to shell big bowlfuls of peas.  She made some of her own jams too; apricot and plum, and would sometimes make tomato sauce too, if the crop was plentiful.  She never bought commercially made cake.

Her diet wasn’t exciting, or rich with the food of other cultures, or balanced according to a government promoted guideline.  It was plain,and plentiful, and real.  A bit of bread, some meat, potatoes,  a few different vegetables, a bit of fruit.  Full cream milk, full-fat butter, and white cooking fat if she was frying something.  She walked her dog for a couple of miles every morning, and spent a couple of hours per week in her garden.  She was quite healthy for all but the last two years of her life, which considering she didn’t undertake weight-bearing exercise to strengthen her bones, or maintain muscle tissue was fairly remarkable…or it would be today.  Back when I was young, and spending time with her, most of her counterparts were also in reasonably good health.  Heavily overweight people were rare – the morbidly obese we see today were virtually non-existent then.  And yet we consider our diets to be so much better today?

There are lessons to be learned here.

Learn to date – Part one

This is for both genders…no-one is exempt!

I have become quite taken by a song by country singer Shea Fisher, titled  “Don’t chase me (‘less you’re willing to catch me)”.  In the murky waters of dating and relationships, I believe she has a quite valid point to make.

For some people – too many people – the search for the One has resulted in a long and messy trail of first-and-only dates, short-term relationships, and what seems to be rising levels of infidelity (both men and women) within marriages.

I think relationships are yet another casualty of our retail mentality.  Which is too say, we do a lot of window shopping, cruising from store to store, trying on one person after another, and throwing them aside because they are not “perfect” for us.

Now, I am the last to advocate settling for someone you don’t love deeply.  Settling is a very, very bad thing.  But what I am saying is that if you find someone who is close to your ideal, then actually give them a chance.  Stop making every little thing on your “perfect partner” list into a deal-breaker.  And bear something else in mind – if you do find someone, who is perfect is every respect…what makes you think that YOU live up to their standard of perfection?  Yes, it does work both ways.

Being single, I have my fair share of those one-and-only dates.  Some of them are one-and-only for very good reasons.  Like the guy I met for lunch, who proclaimed himself to be a spirit healer, and then tried to use that to persuade me that I needed to listen to the spirits (through him) and become his lover (yes, this is over a LUNCH date!) in an open-ended relationship.  Open-ended because the spirits had told him he would be meeting his soul mate later in the year, so he couldn’t commit to anyone else.  Er, yes.  The point being, if you meet a loser, nutcase or anyone else waving red flags, run for the hills.  If they are so boring you would gnaw your own arm off to get away, then say “thanks so much, wish you luck in your search, goodbye”.

But if he or she is most of the way there, but just not your laundry list heart-throb…for heavens sake, give them a chance.  At least 3-4 dates in different environments just to see if they do have potential as a person.  After all, if not your one and only, perhaps they might make a really great friend (and one whom you can then set up with your single friends).  Consider it to be networking.  And remember there is no possible way for someone’s great qualities to all emerge in the course of one date.

We create a great deal of misery and loneliness for ourselves because of the way we approach dating.  We often have unrealistic expectations of the other person, and are subsequently disappointed when they fail to perform as we had visualised.  Remember, they are a person too, and may be as nervous as you (or even more nervous!).  Also, there is a tendency to behave differently on a first date – trying to be the person you think the other person wants you to be (this ties into the whole expectation thing).

So essentially, what I am urging is this…try and get past the first-and-only date block.  Give them three or four to allow you to find out more about them.  Treat them as a person and not a commodity.  Dating is meant to be a process of getting to know someone…not making snap judgments.

Mind your manners (online)

I have read many articles about how people behave differently online.  In many cases, the anonymity of an online profile frees one up from the consequences of speaking inadvisedly.  This has then encouraged some people to be deliberately provocative in what they say, knowing they will never personally be called to account. Continue reading

Baby Bodies (aka un-yummy mummies!)

There are times when women in the public eye really make me want to puke.  They project such unreal images of women, in so many phases of their lives.   The one that really gets me going is post baby.  Six weeks after the baby’s birth, when most women are going in for their post-natal checkup, and have barely assimilated all the changes in their life as a result of the new bundle of joy, actresses, singers and their ilk are doing photo shoots, demonstrating how swiftly their bodies have “bounced” back to normal. Continue reading

Our daily bread…

…except mine isn’t.  Back in November I decided that I was going to completely swear off buying bread.  I have been baking specialty breads for a couple of years now, and when motivated, made regular bread for sandwiches.  But I decided that in my quest to improve all the food in my life, bread had to be one of the first things to be revamped.   In this case, this means making it all myself (dealing with the whole commercial flour concerns will be tackled later in the year – one thing at a time). Continue reading

Don’t justify being fat!

One of the things that concerns me about our obesity ridden society are the innumerable stories people tell themselves to justify why it’s ok to carry excess body fat or even to be obese.  This is not aided by the amount of research being done into the reasons people gain fat and subsequently fail to lose it, because people fail to understand the implications of the research and simply use it as still another justification. Continue reading