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Friends with benefits?

In a recent blog post, Aspen Education Group wrote:

“Friends with benefits” is a term today’s teenagers and college students use for couples who have sex but are not romantically in love.

I have been aware of the use of this phrase for quite some time. However, I don’t think I have ever seen it written down or defined. Seeing it in print renewed my unease with the whole concept.

A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior indicates that such relationships are common. About 60% of 125 students surveyed at Michigan State University reported having had a “friend with benefits” relationship. Only one-tenth of these couples became full-scale romances. About a third stayed friends but stopped having sex, and a fourth broke off altogether. The rest remained “friends with benefits.”

Of course with statistics we never really know how reliable they are when extrapolated [good word?] out to the general population. In real figures that means that out of the 125 surveyed 24 of them are still ‘enjoying’ a friend with benefits situation.

“We found that people got into these relationships because they didn’t want commitment. It was perceived as a safe relationship, at least at first,” Dr. Timothy Levine observed. “But there was this growing fear that the one person would become more attracted than the other.” The couples usually never talked about one subject: their relationships.

And therein lies the two issues : a lack of commitment and an inability to talk about their relationship.

On scales of intimacy, “friends with benefits” score low on passion and commitment.

If they score low on intimacy and passion then it makes me ask the question – ‘why bother’? But then again the answer comes to mind immediately – it’s just an answer I don’t want to acknowledge!

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