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Friends With Benefits – Why Not?

You are it. Not like “it” in Tag, or the kind of “it” that means you have to do some crappy task your boss created for you last night while plotting your demise. No, this kind of “it” is the kind that finds you driving the hotties home from rock shows, and gets you the best assignments at work, and returns high marks in class despite the fact that you’ve got absolutely no clue what you are doing.

That’s you, right now. On top of the world. Mr. (or Ms.) It. (If it’s not you, right now, it will be you in the future. I can tell. Work with me, eh?)

Everybody wants a piece of The Its. They want to sit by them in class. They want to work on their shift. They want to be their friend. They want to date them. Hell, some of us will roll around naked in a pig sty just for the hope that The Its will toss even a sock they wore all day in the gym our way.

Society tells us that if you’re really an It, and not just playing one for the moment in the reality show called Your Actual Life, you can definitely handle the pressure…and then some! You’re smart enough, strong enough, fast enough and agile enough to maintain your top of the world status NO MATTER WHAT, and you’re definitely on the fast track to a successful future. Anything less means you’re not really an It, you’re an imposter. A wannabe. A fraud.

So to add to the balls you’re desperately trying to keep in the air, you should definitely be involved with someone. I mean, isn’t that what life’s about? What are you waiting for? Get out there and commit, commit, commit! You’re not someone if you’re not WITH someone, dontcha know.

Thing is, in real life, we’ve all got baggage, and making big decisions (like commitment) isn’t always a good move when we’re dealing with it. Sure, there are some kinds of baggage we will always carry around, and I’m not suggesting we should avoid relationships while growing as people. But there are times when it’s better to keep commitments out of our socializing, if only because we’re not in a place to keep them.

It’s not always emotional. Some people are too focused on their education and/or career to give a relationship the attention it deserves. That’s life in these united states. Commit and succeed. Failure is not an option.

This is where people usually ask, “But what about sex?” and I counter with, “What do you mean?”

There’s this commonly held belief that if you are not in a relationship, you cannot (or, rather, should not) have sex. One night stands are occasionally forgivable, but a person who continually has sex with people they never plan to commit to are “bad” or “dirty.” People tend to fall into this pattern of getting into a relationship, or promising a relationship, or giving the impression that there may be potential for a relationship down the road so they can have sex with the person they’re sitting with in the back of their Volvo.

So you’re on top of the world, and everyone wants a piece of you, but you’re not in a place to carry on a commitment as big as a serious romantic relationship? Find yourself a couple friends with benefits, I say. Make sure everyone understands there are no strings attached and enjoy relaxed relationships that sometimes result in phenomenal ugly bumping without having to worry about what happens when your stint as an It comes to an end. Or when it starts to get in the way.

Why not? Seriously. Why not?

The thing that always bothered me about the idea that sex is “relationship only” is that sex is a very important part of human social interaction. It’s how we size ourselves up in the eyes of those we’re attracted to, and those we’re threatened by. It’s one of the top reasons people give for being incompatible with their exes. And while I get the religious reasons some people don’t have sex (as much as one who doesn’t believe them can), I’m still flailing for a reason non-religious folks preach abstinence till marriage – or at least a relationship. So what’s yours?

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