Sex with a friend: the pros and cons of friends with benefits!

Well this is going to be fun. I have tasked myself with writing about the joys and troubles of having sex with a friend – the real pros and cons of friends with benefits. How to answer that fun and yet daunting question: Should I sleep with my friend? For this, I am heading back in time. No not the mirror type of going back in time, but to the fun careless times before Mr. Walsh parked his particulars permanently in my life.

Should you sleep with a friend? Are there really any benefits?

Looking back, I think I have had the good fortune of having mostly successful sexual encounters with a few friends along the way. On the whole the aftermaths were ‘good’, although what ‘good’ covers perhaps needs some clarifying. Not awkward seems important. Unchanged friendship status is an absolute bonus. But these outcomes will only be perceived as ‘good’ by an individual who wasn’t expecting anything more from the encounter than an enjoyable time in the sack, as it were. If you fall for your friend after a night of snogging and he’s just like: “well that was lovely, see you at Jan’s party next Saturday”, then ‘good’ can be rather horribly depressing.

But what about when sex with a friend is completely and utterly, absolutely brilliant? One of those ‘God I wasn’t expecting that!’ moments when someone you’d never thought about smooching with, suddenly transpires to be the most amazing kisser in the world. This is a wonderful situation for anyone involved, as long as everyone involved is either a) happy to not try it again, or b) really happy to try it again, a lot.

It can all be a bit of a minefield, even when things do go well.

There are quite a few difficult scenarios and feelings that often pop up after sleeping with a friend. Awkwardness the least among them, the loss of a fabulous friend one of the worst. There’s also a really high possibility of an unrequited love situation arising that might create heartache and embarrassment all round. No one wants their previously likeable friend turning into a bunny boiler after a foolish drunken night that went too far.

When my old flatmate Dave slept with the normally sane Nadia one Friday night, she suddenly morphed into a nutcase who couldn’t stop turning up at our apartment at all hours of the night … when she was clearly not at all welcome. Dave had had an inkling that things weren’t going to go well when, after their one and only night of sex, she left a jar of instant coffee wrapped in a red ribbon on our doorstep (this was before good coffee was a thing).

They stopped speaking afterwards and I can tell you, we all suffered. Nadia had always been a hilarious and likeable person who happened to make the best chicken curry I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’ve never really forgiven Dave for essentially forcing her out of our lives, solely because he’d had a great night out clubbing and hadn’t wanted the party to stop. I know I shouldn’t blame him really, but Nadia’s homemade onion bhajis still haunt my dreams.

How friends are affected when you have sex with a friend

Herein lies another possible problem, if there is a problem after having a night of sex with a friend, it’s likely you ain’t going to be the only ones to be affected. If you are both in the same social circle there could be a knock on effect to others in the group. As with poor Nadia, sometimes the unrequited love issue leads to the spurned individual, feeling they have no other option than to seek an alternative social life.

And what about if someone else in the group had fancied Nadia, and not just for her bhajis? Well they did Dave, actually, you absolute idiot. Poor Darren had been mooning over the woman for literally months, much beyond a base attraction (were you blind?), and then there was me. I’d fancied the pants off you, on and off for eons, whenever i got really drunk, and when we lived together. Ok I might not have fancied you all the time, and really not very much when I wasn’t wearing beer goggles. But that’s not the point.

The point is, I had been SO prepared to walk the line of seeing what sex with a friend was like with you. Can you imagine how envious I was when I saw Nadia creeping out your bedroom to do the walk of shame that unfortunate weekend? Well, I was briefly, but honestly, cross my heart, in the main I was so relieved that it hadn’t been me. Because if I had you might not still be the wonderful, kind and brilliant person that I am so glad to be able to call one of my very best mates in the world.

But really, thanks Dave you selfish pratt. You managed to turn Nadia into a rabbit boiling nutter, you shattered Darren’s heart, and you broke up a very happy band of amigos. (Listen, I know that this is half Nadia’s fault, I really do, but men are bastards etc. and she really was an amazing cook.)

When a friend with benefits is painful

Ten years or so later I was fortunate enough to be in another entertaining and rewarding gang of brothers, another group of people that enriched my life on a daily basis, who always made the world a better place. I know I am enthusing to a sickening level of enthusiasm, but they really were excellent. A mixed and varied bunch of singles and couples, both gay and straight, and of various ages. Many of us worked at the same company and those that didn’t would meet the rest of us most days after work for a coffee or beer. For a crowd of ten individuals we were pretty inseparable over several years. It was like being in Friends, only not in New York, or as well paid, but much, much naughtier. We had a lot of fun and joyous times together.

So ‘not upsetting the apple cart’ was a reasonable reason for when two singles in our midst, Alex and Angela, started having regular sex and decided not to tell anyone else. They had previously been just really good friends and had always spent a lot of time working and socialising together, so no one noticed anything.

All fine and dandy, I hear you cry. Well it would have been if Angela hadn’t fallen head over heels in love with Alex, who was actually still desperately in love with a previous girlfriend. The longer their secretive love affair continued, the more Alex wanted to keep it under wraps, and the more rejected Angela felt. By the time it all came out after six months or so, and Alex decided not to make it a serious thing, poor Angela was a wreck. She just couldn’t figure out why he seemed to find the thought of dating her so embarrassing. It was rejection and unrequited love at the top end of the scale. (You see, I told you all men are bastards).

But to be fair to my long time gorgeous friend Alex (and he is truly gorgeous both inside and out) his reluctance to go public was not only down to him not wanting his ex to hear about it, but also because he didn’t want to rock the status quo of the group.

When friends with benefits is good

So it’s not looking that good so far for having a friend with benefits. However I can now confide I’ve had relationships with a couple of friends that involved some sex, that I think were sort of benefical. Well, all I can hope is that the other individuals involved thought so too.

There was a deep mutual liking with a school friend that occasionally in the early years of adulthood involved some very enjoyable groping and late night gymnastics. To my surprise, it never affected our friendship in the slightest and we always resumed total normality the day after any philandering. I was always enormously pleased to see him, but my heart never fluttered or longed for him, and I knew instinctively that he felt the same. It was so nice to feel only happiness for him when he met and then duly married the love of his life.

Then there was the one night stand with a work colleague who had been my partner in crime and Thursday night drinks comrade for three years, before we suddenly, and inexplicably, jumped into the proverbial sack together. It was a totally inexplicable incident because not only had we never fancied each other in the slightest, he also happened to be gay. These things happen, anyone can look like George Michael after a few vodka & cokes. I’d been wearing cowboy boots and a black leather jacket with tassels at the time. So you can’t really blame him too much for getting waylaid. He’d been a big fan of the ‘Faith’ era.

We remain true, true friends thirty odd years later and I’ve always been able to look him in the eye and say “what the bloody hell was that all about?” He says he feels the same and at the very least was glad to have given hetrosexual sex a try. He never tried it again. Oh christ, I’m not going to think this through too deeply.

When sex with a friend is a bad idea

Yes I’ve had the odd disaster darling. The time when I misread my older sister’s ex husband’s friendliness and went in for a smooch is a particularly cringe worthy memory. God cringe. I am dying at the thought of how he recoiled in horror! But these life lessons can only be used to make us wiser, and help us appreciate the encounters that do make us feel happy.

Can you learn to assess every given situation so you don’t try and hump your clearly sexually uninterested brother-in-law one day? I’m not so sure we always can. And if you make the wrong decision not to go in for a smooch one day, you might be missing out on something, not long lasting, but definitely very pleasurable.

I think it’s the luck of the draw, because after all you can never count on the heart. Friends with benefits works perfectly whenever the two lovers involved have no expectations and when both are equally happy not to be lovers after all.

Sex with friends: are there really any benefits?

Well yes, but clearly on the whole it’s simply pleasurable feelings. If there’s too many other emotions involved, you might not only lose a good friend, but Tuesday curry nights with Nadia too. God damn you Dave.

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