It’s that hoary old question: Can you be still be friends after sleeping together? A stupid question. Of course you can and should be friends.
In my world, sleeping with someone is the quickest way to make a friend with a particularly deep level of intimacy. I don’t call it ‘Friends with Benefits’. The benefit IS the friendship. Let’s just call it what it is: ‘Sex with Friends’. And some of the best friendships I have are with people I’ve slept with.
Sex is an excellent way of making friends; and friendship is an excellent reason for sex.
I have lots of close female friends and a few close gay male friends, but until a few years ago, when I exited a very long marriage, I didn’t have any deep friendships with straight men. I now have a precious handful of these and these are all men I have slept with. They add a dimension to my life that I didn’t know I was missing. They bring a different perspective to my questions and musings. There is an honesty and frankness in how we interact but any erotic tension that there might have been has been dealt with and diffused. Maybe it works for me because I don’t do “no-strings sex”. I don’t want a LTR necessarily, but the “strings” I want are shared values, companionship for a few hours, sparkling conversation and emotional maturity.
The latest research is that loneliness can shorten your life by as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. We make new friends when we are young, with our circle of friends peaking at around age 25. This circle shrinks as the years go by, when opportunities to make new, deep friendships are fewer, and our old friendships drop away. How do you make new bosom buddies of the sort you made at university and school?
Picture this scenario. You meet a new acquaintance and decide you really like them. Do you get time to spend hours alone with them? Would you invite them over for dinner and a sleepover? Would you get a chance to chat over breakfast the next morning?
Assuming you have some of these aforementioned “strings” and you have gotten to know that person at least a little before jumping into the sack, these intimate moments – the dinner, sleepover, breakfast, AND the sex – are the magic ingredients of a bond, a friendship bond. They cement the connection between you. You have (literally) opened yourself up to them and maybe exposed your vulnerabilities along with your genitals. To see someone’s O-face is a privilege and a gift. They have revealed their bodies and a small part of their soul. Some of my favourite moments are in the post-coital, oxytocin-rich aftermath of skin contact and conversation. Pillow talk is personal talk.
And when the afterglow wears off, you can’t go back to how you were before – of not knowing those things you now know about your lover. There may be more sex dates, or there may be none. Eventually, like all things, this thing will probably end. But the end of the sex does not have to be the end of the connection that you’ve established. As mentioned, if you got on before you got off, this person may turn into one of your friends for life. As for me, I may die a horrible death but at least I won’t die of loneliness.