Fuck-buddies? Friends? Shagging your mates? It all sounds wonderfully fun and jovial:
“Let’s shag! Hey, we’re buddies! We’re fucking and we’re friends too - fantastic!!!”
How convenient to have sex on tap, and with a mate too, how fun!
Not in reality, obviously. It is far more complex than that, and often more problematic. For starters the phrase fuck-buddy is a misnomer: having someone on call to have casual sex with, is not the same as being mates with that person and also sleeping with them. The former need not involve any emotional intimacy; the latter depends on it.
The definition of a fuck buddy is someone with whom you are sexually involved, but with no (relationship, ie. emotional or romantic) strings attached; where occasionally through having a productive one-night-stand with them, it can then lead onto having a series of Regular One Night Stands (RONS™). These can then develop into being an on-call sexual relationship – fuck-buddies.
Sex with a RONS can be fun, relaxed and enjoyable; it can be refreshing to shag someone without there being any expectations of commitment or co-dependency, and it can also be pleasurable to have multiple sexual experiences with them over a period of time: casual sex does not have to mean a once-only affair.
Although friendly, the relationship with a fuck-buddy is in its essence, purely physical. When I get a call from a fuck-buddy, I know they are not getting in contact with me to have a chat and find out how I am, like a mate would; they are instead calling me to say,
“I’m lying here with a stonking hard-on, thinking about you sitting on my cock. Fancy a shag?”
And I can either reply ‘yes’ and go round there and sit on said cock, or I can decline and say ‘maybe another time’. There is no awkwardness, no guilt or hurt; it’s a simple situation, with little or no complications. It is not a problem that they only wanted to see me because they were horny; I am not offended that they didn’t ask after me, to see how I was doing. I don’t need to get validation from them on an emotional or intellectual level – I can get that from my friends.
With a RONS there is no real intimacy beyond nakedness and sexual desire; there might be nothing in common with that person other than a sexual attraction: seeing a mate means you go and watch a movie with them and talk about the plot over dinner afterwards; spending time with a RONS means you are likely to only see the inside of their bedroom.
The criteria for friendship then, is very different to that of a RONS. Whilst I may not give a shit if I hadn’t heard from a RONS for six months, I would be quite hurt if a friend was out of contact for the same period. With a RONS, seeing as sex would be the sole objective to seeing them, I would expect to cut to the chase: some wine, a chat, then a good shag; but with a friend, I would want to catch up with them, meet up for drinks, go to a gig. If sex was also to follow those things, then so be it, but it would be a secondary expectation, rather than the primary goal.
This is where it gets complicated. What happens if you do end up in bed with a mate? What are the boundaries of the relationship then? How can one sleep with a friend, not be in a relationship with them, and also not be fuck-buddies, given that the friendship may have existed for some time? How does one ensure that a friendship can survive casual sex?
It’s difficult. I have in my past, fucked my friends. I have lost the friendship of one, when I learned he wanted more, and I ran scared, shutting him out of my life in the process; and I have caused pain in another, when I discovered she was in love with me, and all I wanted was some drunken groping with her. It cuts both ways: my own heart has been broken too. When I slept with my closest friend, I thought we would spend our lives together as a result of our passionate sexual closeness, but he married someone else and I learned the hard way, that sex, intimacy and friendship don’t always have to mean anything, and that they often don’t mix.
But sometimes, when both parties are open, honest and upfront people and where they want the same things out of the situation (ie. non-romantic sex), then it can work – and be great fun too, if the following rules are taken into consideration:
a) You have romantic feelings for them. It will only mess with your head and your heart, and inevitably, your friendship too.
b) You find it hard to have emotionally disconnected sex*. Shagging someone you don’t care about can be hard in itself when it comes to just having a physical connection; shagging someone you do care about (even just as a mate) can make the experience painful at best, and emotionally damaging at worst.
c) You really want to be in a relationship with someone, and even though you may not harbour romantic feelings for your friend, you know that having sex with them – and experiencing intimacy – will remind you of what you are missing, and what you really want: it may leave you feeling crap about doing it, and regretting it afterwards.
I’ve done all of the above in the past. I’m sure I’ve been on the receiving end too. And none of it was particularly pleasant. So I don’t make a habit of fucking my friends, in fact I now steer well clear of it; it’s far easier to keep things platonic and maintain those boundaries, than to complicate things with a meaningless shag: those can be had with anyone.
And even though there may be sexual tension between myself and a mate, I find it far better to talk about it – in the open – and have a laugh, than explore it and risk the friendship I have built with them. (Usually, anyway; I have my weak moments, like everyone else). Generally though, I keep them separate and enjoy the casual liaisons I have and the non-sexual friendships too.
Sometimes though a RONS can become a good mate: there is one whom I have had casual sex with over more than a decade and we are pretty good friends now.
Although I think I may have hurt his feelings a little when I recently left him sleeping in bed and tried to quietly creep out of his flat at 6am.
More on that soon: how NOT to have a one-night-stand.