Marilyn's casual approach to maintaining a friendship with benefits typifies the mindset of older folks who have reconciled themselves to having "great fun" even if it's "just one of those things. In The Normal Bar, a book I wrote last year with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, we reported that 61 percent of female survey respondents who had partners fantasized about someone they had met. For men, the figure was 90 percent. And should they be propositioned by someone they found attractive, 48 percent of the women and 69 percent of the men said they would be tempted to have sex outside the relationship.
Indeed, many surrendered to that lure in actuality: It found that 6 percent to 8 percent of singles age 50 and up were dating more than one person at a time. The same study revealed 11 percent of survey respondents were in a sexual relationship that did not involve cohabitation. Can a casual sexual relationship exact an emotional toll? For sure, people who associate intimacy with commitment are ill-suited to sex that's as meaningful as a summer breeze; for them, the FWB arrangement would be a bad idea.
That doesn't mean all casual lovers feel emotionally bereft in the wake of a purely physical rendezvous, mind you. Many say they're getting exactly what they want and need. Is that a deplorably manipulative state of affairs? Possibly — until you stop to consider how many of us are comfortable with being unpartnered but how few of us are willing to remain untouched. Sixty-something sexologist Joan Price, for one, endorses "gray hookups," but with a couple of strong caveats: The people involved must be emotionally capable of handling their status as noncommitted bed partners, and they must protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.
In a national study conducted in , the Center for Sexual Health Promotion found sex partners over 50 twice as likely to use a condom when they regarded a sexual encounter as casual rather than as part of an ongoing relationship. Mature sex partners do not have the best track record when it comes to using condoms, but at least they're likelier to use them when they know very little about a partner's sexual past — or present! Personally, I think it all comes down to a very simple choice at any age: Is enduring loneliness, celibacy and extreme horniness really a better option than exchanging a few "simple gifts" between friends?
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This can apply to casual relationships as much as serious ones: Being real friends-with-benefits requires the highest level of emotional honesty and communication in order to make the parameters of the relationship clear and avoid hurt feelings. Your point that advertising this on your profile may elicit creepy messages is not an irrelevant one, but I do think for maximum efficiency you should be pretty clear that you are looking for something casual because of your existing commitments.
And you do want someone who is very sex-positive. One option is to look for people with similar profiles to yours: If your tastes run to the kinky, you could also consider investigating in apps and sites that are more open about their focus on sex, such as Fetlife.
Once you do decide to meet people, remember to take the same precautions that you would if you were dating for more romantic reasons: Dear Eva, I am 37, a single mom and am looking to find someone , but not a boyfriend. Basically, I want someone to have sex with and not much else....
Recreational sex sex site
Or what I'm doing to attract guys like that even with my many warnings. The guys that are more willing to just hook up are usually pretty gross, and not my type at all if I'm being completely honest here. I've even tried guys that are single dads or super busy with work in the hopes that they'd be to busy to get on my case, but that's a no go. I'm getting really frustrated. I can make acquaintance friends really easily but finding someone that can handle my personality is really rare.
I know it's nobody's responsibility to make sure I'm not lonely, I'm happy with my life and hobbies, and my friends have people. But it still sucks and I don't know what solution there is. I've been debating getting into a relationship for the sake of sex and intimacy and just trying to dodge any concrete future planning, and when it gets too serious maybe make them dump me so they don't have to feel any version of heartache? Then maybe we could just be friends that occasionally have sex, like I wanted all along.
If I'm upfront about my not wanting something serious and my inability to fall in love, is it then their problem if they continue to harbour delusions of being "the one" that can change me? I get it, I thought I was in love many times before, before I realised it was the constant sex and offerings of food that kept me.
So I know feelings can be confusing, but I also really want to get laid consistently with someone I can trust. OK, that out of the way: You've come to the right place, FWB, because back in the bad old days… I was exactly one of those guys who frustrate you.
This is like someone from my past writing to me in the future. Part of the Secret Origin of Dr NerdLove was my falling for someone who was incredibly upfront about the fact that she was not open to dating anyone. While she would totally enjoy the time we had together, we weren't going to be in a romantic relationship. I didn't believe her. As far as I was concerned, she was damn near perfect and by God I was going to change her mind about this shit.
At the time, I had the perfect job and now the perfect relationship. All I had to do was just hang in there long enough and I'd prove that I was so wonderful that she couldn't help but fall for me. Fast-forward six months and first I lost the perfect job, and then the perfect girl dumped me. Because I didn't believe her when she told me that she wasn't going to fall in love and didn't want to be anyone's girlfriend.
Incidentally, you can watch all of this happen in the documentary Days of Summer. Well, part of it is cultural. Even in this day and age, guys still don't believe that women might just want to bang like men do.
It's taken as holy writ that women catch feelings like we catch colds and that regular banging will eventually lead to commitment because a woman who just likes to fuck? Well, there has to be something wrong with her.
And let's be honest: But another part is the people you're dating. From the sounds of it, you're dating younger guys, occasionally guys who don't have much relationship experience. Odds are, these are guys who aren't necessarily used to a woman sharing their interests and who aren't used to dating someone as confident or up front as you.
And this is no slight to those other women: Being up front and secure in what you want then just putting it out there can be scary for everyone. But then here you are: You're brassy, you're straightforward and you get them. You are, in all likelihood, the easiest and least stressful relationship they have ever had. To that kind of guy, you are basically a unicorn. Unfortunately, instead of embracing the situation as it is… they feel like they need to lock this down.
They want to round that unicorn up, tame it, ride it until its heart meter fills and they can put it in their stable. Some of this is due to inexperience. A lot of people myself included, way back when will find a situation like this and feel like they have to grab it with both hands.
They believe that this is a once-in-a-lifetime situation. They think they will never find someone this awesome that will make them feel this good and if they miss out, then they will go to their graves believing they missed their One True Love. There's also a fair amount of social programming involved.
A lot of people feel like every relationship needs to have the potential to be their last, and have a hard time dealing with the idea that some relationships are temporary and just for fun. As much as we like to talk about guys just wanting sex, a lot of dudes also start a friends-with-benefits relationship and catch feels. Some of this comes down to the difference between a fuckbuddy and a friend with benefits. In a fuckbuddy relationship, the relationship is about the sex. In a friends with benefits arrangement, you're friends… who just happen to have sex.
Some guys can handle that. For others, the combination closeness and emotional intimacy and occasional bed-rocking sex means that they can't keep maintain the necessary emotional distance. One thing is to make sure you're not setting up a dating frame.
Part of what's confusing these guys is that you're acting like a traditional relationship: The long dates, the longer talks, the flirting, the post-coital cuddles… to a lot of people, that's going to feel like y'all are headed toward a fairly standard relationship.
You're saying one thing, but the way you're acting says another, so it's pretty understandable that wires are getting crossed. If you say you're not a couple but go play house in IKEA, people might understandably get confused.
So it may help if you make more of an effort to keep things casual if you're not sure about the guy. I know you want that closeness that comes with a friendship, as well as the occasional fun naked time.
But if you want to break this particular cycle, that closeness may have to be something they earn over time if they show that they can handle it. The other thing you can do is focus on dudes who're your type but who also have a bit more experience under their belt. They may be older. They might be more emotionally mature. But someone with a little more life experience may be more compatible with what you're looking for right now.
You may also just have to ruthlessly compartmentalise — some friendships for the closeness and intimacy, some for the sex, and never the twain to cross. It isn't easy or efficient, but it may be one of the ways you can meet your needs. Unfortunately, there's no real way to guarantee that somebody won't catch a case of the feels and repeat the cycle.
You can only do so much; your potential partners are going to have to do their share as well. There'll always be guys who swear they can keep things casual… right up until they can't. There's a certain amount of trial and error that you just can't get around, unfortunately. But there are guys like that out there.
Your advice has helped me for a long time and now I feel like I'm in uncharted territory here. I'm a young gay woman with a break-up problem. Very recently I broke up with my girlfriend of six months, Jenny not her real name.
Jenny is a wonderful person and we've become close, but I knew she was in love with me, while I didn't feel the same way and could not foresee a strong romantic future with her, feeling more like we would work better as friends.
After deciding I needed to break up with her, I possibly made a mistake of waiting a couple of weeks to actually do it so that it happened after her birthday and after she finished some stressful school projects. Meanwhile, I have a friend, Tanya not her real name. Tanya and I met while working professionally on a freelance project, and we subsequently became friends almost exclusively through text, seeing each other never alone maybe three times since we finished the project months ago.
In the couple weeks leading up to breaking up with Jenny, it became clear to me that Tanya and I had a lot of chemistry and that I could see myself dating her. Once I made the decision to break up with Jenny, my ideal plan was to remain friends in whatever way worked best for her. Then after a month, following another professional engagement I had with Tanya and assuming I still felt strongly about her, I would ask Tanya out. This plan seemed fool-proof and even kind in my mind: Have a healthy break up, give myself and my ex time to grieve, then proceed to move on and date a new person.
However, things changed when I actually broke up with Jenny. She was absolutely devastated, more so than I feared she would be. This was the first serious relationship she had had with another woman, and I don't think she had been in love with anyone like she was with me. And yet I broke her heart. She tried to bargain with me and ask if there was a way we could come back in a week and rethink it, or if it was something she did or didn't do that she could fix, but I assured her that my choice to break up had nothing to do with her actions, and that my feelings would not change, as I didn't want to give her false hope.
But as careful as I tried to be, she was still devastated. What shocked me the most was when she asked if it was because of someone else - specifically, if it was because of Tanya. Jenny had been cheated on by previous partners, and it made her anxious and constantly afraid of it happening again.
She knew Tanya and I texted often, and on the few occasions we did see each other, Jenny could sense Tanya was into me even when I couldn't at the time. She did not mention any of this to me prior to this day, for fear she would seem paranoid, which I understand.
I confirmed to Jenny that I have not cheated on her, and it's just about how I feel about her, and no one else. However, right after that, she told me she was in a relationship before where she suspected her boyfriend was cheating. Once they broke up, her former boyfriend and the woman she suspected was the impetus for the breakup began dating almost immediately - and it crushed Jenny, and caused a term of depression and amped up her anxiety.
So it turns out my plan was not anxiety-proof. At the end of the long, tearful break up, we agreed to be friends, but she definitely need some time to process, which I'm hoping she genuinely takes. So, I feel like I'm in an ethical dilemma. Protect my ex's feelings and potentially her mental health but lose the possibility of seeing a woman I really like? Or do what I want and date this woman, but take the risk of further hurting my ex and any potential friendship we have?
Jenny is not my girlfriend any more, and even if we became friends, it isn't her business who I date. However, she specifically said that the idea of Tanya and me dating would cause her a lot pain, and since I already broke her heart, to compound that with dating the one person she was afraid I was into could only make things worse for her mental health. Because otherwise I would feel tempted to just rush into her arms, I talked to Tanya, especially since very recently through text she has been flirty, while I've been giving her a lot of mixed signals.
I explained to her that although originally I intended to ask her out after some time passed, Jenny's visceral reaction to the idea of us dating has given me pause, and even though we both want to date, I would need more time to decide what I think is right.
Tanya understood, thankfully, so I have more time to figure it out and gauge how my ex is processing everything. So what do you advise, Doc? You will have your own limits when it comes to how connected you want to be.
The following resources might help you define your ideal relationship while clearly conveying your wishes to others. They focus on non-monogamies which may not suit you but still contain useful advice about negotiating boundaries and clear communication.
Exhibitionism for the shy. You may want to visit chat forums, blogs, websites and groups with like-minded people. One of the ways no-strings relationships are presented to women be they bi, straight or lesbian is they are inherently dangerous. Stern warnings are given that a one night stand could easily end in an STI or being harmed by your partner. When you meet someone be very clear what you would like to do, where your boundaries are and what is not ok. The resources listed above can help with this and reduce misunderstandings over what you want or who you will be intimate with.
Not every encounter has to end in sex and all involved can change their mind at any time. If you are having sex with multiple partners it makes sense to think about safer sex and use condoms and dams even if you are using other forms of contraception. If you drink or use drugs consider how this might impact on your decision-making.
While you may completely be into having a short term relationship it can still be painful if things end. Having friends or family around who can support you is important although is not possible for everyone.
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