During Julia’s junior year in college, she met a great guy. But she didn’t want to date him. “I was at the end of another relationship that had been really good. So I don’t think I was psychologically ready to get involved again and at the same time, I was pretty horny,” she recalls.
So after a halfhearted attempt at a romantic relationship, Julia and Steve decided that what they really wanted was “friendship with a little sex thrown in.” For years after that, whenever both of them were single at the same time, they would sleep together. “Friends of mine always used to hope that we would get together, but I always knew there was nothing but friendship,” Julia says.
Having regular, no-strings-attached sex with someone you’re not romantically involved with has become such a cultural phenomenon that it’s acquired a name –“friends with benefits.” (Others call it “bed buddies,” or use more explicit terms.) For Julia and Steve, it worked out well — the “benefits” part of their friendship ended when she met the man who is now her husband, but they’re still close, and get together for dinner when he’s in town. But are they the rule or the exception? Can “friends with benefits” really benefit both parties, or is there usually unexpected emotional fallout?