CHRIS BEDELL
Staff Writer

The idea of sex without commitment permeates several aspects of pop culture. For example, the films “No Strings Attached” and “Friends With Benefits” illustrate the idea of casual sex. Additionally, Meredith and Derek from the show, “Grey’s Anatomy” and Chuck and Blair from “Gossip Girl” were both couples that began as “just sex.”

Regardless of the examples, the idea is clear. Sex is never just sex.

It isn’t even about making a value judgment. In theory, there is nothing wrong with having “fun.” But theory is much more different than reality. As with everything else in life, there is almost always more to the story. There are different aspects and issues that must be considered.

One issue with a friends-with-benefits/no-strings-attached relationship is that everyone has their own idea of a relationship. Relationships can start as sexual and turn into something more. On the other hand, relationships can start like friendships and then turn into something more. As a result of everyone having their own idea about what constitutes a “relationship,” ambiguity exists. One person might think a real relationship is slowly developing while the other person continues to play the field. That is why communication needs to be clear.

The idea might seem like a cliché but that doesn’t detract from its merit. Just because a relationship might only be sexual, it doesn’t mean that communication isn’t still necessary. Two people need to be on the same page. If they are not, it is almost guaranteed to cause hurt feelings.

Playing the field is one subset of the friends-with-benefits relationship. If a person is just in a sexual relationship with someone, it might seem like there is no harm in seeing multiple people and having experiences. And it’s true. As long as a person is having safe and consensual sex, there is no moral/ethical issue.

But there is the potential for heartbreak. Just because a person might be seeing multiple people in a casual fashion, doesn’t mean that heartbreak can’t still happen. It does.

There are two main schools of thought when it comes to potentially dating someone. Some people believe that a person should just focus on spending time with one person and see where it goes. Other people think that it is important to spend time with several people.

A love square might have been fun to watch on the show “Revenge.” But it translates to real life poorly. The real truth of the matter is that life is complicated enough.

The idea of an exclusive friends-with-benefits relationship is another subset that exists too. Either way, there is a need for good communication. In the end, rules of exclusivity are for couples to decide for themselves and determine what constitutes a relationship.

Another issue of casual sex is the aspect of putting up a façade, where one person pretends not to have feelings for the other person. Just because someone might be having fun, doesn’t mean that a person doesn’t have real feelings for their partner. A person can try to convince him or herself that they don’t have feelings and that they are avoiding a serious relationship to protect themselves. Well, the cold truth is that a person can still get emotionally hurt anyway. That is why sex should not just be used to get over a broken heart or as a vehicle for escape. The reality is that sex without emotion really doesn’t exist. It is still there, even if a person doesn’t realize it. Sex is a very emotional and personal act. Sex means that a person is sharing their body with another human being.

The reality is that the nature of casual sex isn’t going to change anytime soon. And that’s OK. People just need to understand that sex is anything but simple. There are a lot of ramifications.

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