Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lessons in Love: Learning the difference between great sex and good love

"I really miss sex." These are the words that greeted me when I met a girlfriend for lunch a few months ago. She announced it just loudly enough that conversation at the surrounding tables paused for a minute and speculative glances were cast our way.

"Hello to you too." I greeted her and sat down. She proceeded to tell me (in gruesome detail) about the sex she used to have and wasn't having anymore since the untimely death of her relationship last summer. I nodded in a way to indicate that I was listening but not really trying to hear it.

"I think I'm going to get one of those buddies. You know, the no-strings sex friend?"

I laughed. In fact, I guffawed. I laughed so hard that tears came out of my eyes.

"What's so funny?" she asked indignantly.

"Girl, you are a serial monogamist! Have you EVER had sex with someone you didn't fancy yourself in love with? Someone you weren't in a committed relationship with?"

She shook her head, "But how hard can it be. Come on, it's just physical. Jump in, get off, move along, right?"

I said, "You want me to warn you now or just say 'I told you so' later."

"I'm a grown-ass woman, Michele. I can handle myself. Won't be any need for any 'told-ya-so', okay? You always think you know better than anybody else."

Alrighty then. I performed the universal sign for zipping my lips and finished my spinach salad.

You all already know what's coming, don't you? Fast forward a month to my phone ringing. It's the friend. It's the best sex she ever had. Details, sheets aflame, burning loins, the whole nine. She went on and on until I heard this sentence, "I mean, when the sex is THIS GOOD that has to mean something, right?" Le Sigh and Le Double Sigh. But wait, lest you think this is a case of a woman confusing lust and love, let me add that the "buddy" was cooing about the chemistry and "meant to be" as well. Innocently I asked, "How much time have you spent together vertically… clothed?" Long silence followed by, "Michele – you are such a cynic." That silence you hear folks, was me being officially done with it. "Okay girl, good luck."

And then the inevitable update two weeks later, "It didn't work out. I wanted to try for a relationship and he said he did too but he wants to sleep with other people. Who does that?" [Benefit buddies, that's who does that] To my credit, I made sympathetic noises and choked back the snarky comments bubbling up. No point in rubbing it in. The point is some people (both men and women) can separate the giddy high of post-orgasmic bliss from the giddy high of finding a soul mate. Granted, it's great if your best sex partner is your best friend but it doesn't always work out that way. Here are some tips to not confusing the two:

Do you have anything in common besides great sex?

Is this someone you look forward to seeing even if there aren't naked aerobics involved?

Can you have a conversation (non-sex-related) with this person?

Is this a person you would introduce to friends and family as an SO?

Do you know more about this person than where their ticklish spots are?

If you answered no to more than one of those questions, you are having a sexcapade, not a relationship. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that as long as you don't confuse the two. But there are a few rules to avoid a feelings train wreck:

  • If you're going friend with benefit – be prepared to lose the friend if things go awry.
  • Be sure both parties understand what the situation is - don't assume you are both on the same page.
  • If your feelings change (for the better or the worse) let the other person know immediately.
  • Remember great sex can lead to good love and good love can lead to great sex unless they don't.
  • Desperation and clinginess are never a good look, when it's over… move on. Do not negotiate, beg or whine < -- no bueno

BTW Fellas, I have a similar story of a male friend of mine who tried to hit-n-run and got completely caught up. (a la Boomerang) So let's not make this a girl vs. guy thing. Please and thank you. Speaking of Boomerang - here's a classic example of one person thinking relationship while the other is thinking recreational romp: (partial nudity and sexual situations)

Later this week, we'll talk about what makes a "good relationship" but in the meantime: let me ask you, BougieLand… why is it so hard for some people to separate the sex from the love? Do you believe it's possible to really have "a purely physical" relationship or does someone always catch feelings? What advice would you give someone trying to turn their swerve buddy into a happily ever after?

65 comments:

ASmith said...

For as much as we all like to focus on the physical nature of sex, it's really an emotional thing. I mean c'mon -- sure, you have those "purely physical" romps, but that's the exception, not the rule. You might get away with it once or twice, but if you keep going, feelings shall be caught.

I haven't seen a "purely physical" relationship work out yet. Someone ALWAYS catches feelings -- and I say that even in cases where it seems to work out, somebody wasn't keeping it 100 (that's been my phrase of the last few days, I kinda wanna stop but I can't...) and let their emotions get all trampled on.

"Friends with benefits" sounds good, but that mess never works out like it should. I'm of the opinion that sex is not a good thing to put between two friends. It's messy every time. I also think that trying to do friends with benefits is like trying to have your cake and eat it too.

I can't say how many conversations I've had (usually with men, but as you point out Chele, it goes both ways) where at some point I had to say something like, "I know you guys talked about it, but emotions are tricky things and usually can't be foreseen..." Not to mention, a lot of people go into a "friends with benefits" situation hoping/planning for things to get serious. Kind of a quid pro quo. "I'll play this game so we can play my game later..." No bueno.

I think trying to turn a "swerve buddy" into something more is a waste of time, but if you just gotta try, honesty's always the best policy.

Inkognegro said...

Folks are gonna learn about that stupidness. God didnt mean for sex and emotion to be detatched. All that other stuff about Pre-marital Sex notwithstanding.

You detatch emotion from your sex life at your peril.

You don't develop cancer immediately upon smoking cigarettes, there is a cumulative effect.

So it is with Emotionless sex. The more you do it, the harder it is to re-inject emotion when you want it.

jake said...

I always (always) get burned when I try to go strictly physical. Like Ink said below, at some point I started to think it was more than it was. Lesson learned. Casual sex does not work for me.

Eye Candy said...

I think it can work if it's discussed in advance and kept short. You can not have a swerve buddy you see every week for months - that's a relationship. I had a buddy that I saw whenever we were both in the same city at the same time. The drawback came when I got into a "real relationship" with someone else and cut him off. So I guess it's difficult no matter what.

OneChele said...

Well said. For the record, I've never seen it work out either.

thinklikeRiley said...

You hit, quit and go. No repeat business, no feeling, no big deal. Say it up front.

ASmith said...

Say it up front all you like...

Meanwhile, Riley, I'm not thoroughly convinced that you really believe everything you say. That's ok. #noshade. Somebody's gotta be the dissenter.

OneChele said...

Preach on it. People tend to forget that every major religion has sex as a construct within a relationship for the purposes of furthering the species. All this other stuff is manmade. Not that I'm throwing religion into the mix, that's a whole other discussion. I just think people get so caught up in sex for sex sake that it may cheapen the whole experience.

reeciecups said...

I've had that happen to me too--and when the relationship ended, we went right back to doing what we did.

I know before my relationship I had caught feelings for this dude though, and going back was moreso about that than anything else.

I think eventually feelings will get caught, esp if its someone you keep around for awhile...

Andrea M said...

At some point, both women and men need to quit playing. Stop smashing folks you don't know and act like you got some sense.

Reecie said...

my comment above shouldve been in response to you...

thinklikeRiley said...

I'm just trying to add a different look at the issue. The Problem started when chicks started trying to get their smash game like dudes. you can't think or act like men, quit trying. Women are here to nurture, men are here to conquer.

Reads4Pleasure said...

Oh Riley, what would the day be without your POV?

Dr. Peppa said...

Ditto. I figured out anyone I like enough to sleep with, I like enough to try and have a relationship with.

thinklikeRiley said...

But I'm not wrong, am I? The minute chicks went all "liberated" the state of relationships went straight to hell.

Reads4Pleasure said...

And once again you find a way to blame all of societal ills on women.

I Am Me said...

I'm not going to address Riley's wackness down below directly. I will say that the breakdown of clear, honest communication has contributed to more brusied feelings and broken hearts than anything else.

All Honey said...

So women's lib killed relationships? For real tho? Ninja please.

Hidi said...

I think people really do not know what they want and need to ask themselves: Why am I doing this? If you are looking for a relationship, then I don't think it is going to work. If you are not, then do your thing, but like someone said below: it is hard to detach feelings and sex. {shrugs shoulders} I think honesty is a great approach to the situation.

As far as the possibility of having a "purely physical" relationship, only if you are in the sex industry. LOL
Advice for those who want to turn "swerve buddy" into a happily ever after, the person should have never been you're "swerve buddy" to begin with. {wink}

OneChele said...

Great answer

SBChitownChick said...

I had one purely phyiscal relationship briefly in college that worked with no hurt feelings on either side. But I always felt like I dodged a bullet. Could have backfired in so many ways. A few months back me and my current SO were at a restaurant in California with my former swerve buddy walked in. He came over to say hi and my SO was all - where do you know him from? Me - college. Him - oh did you date? Me - yep. I could not own up to swerve, I just couldn't.

true2me said...

YAAAAAAAAAAAY, non committal sex, one of my favorite topics.

I feel like women are taught that they HAVE to have meaningful sex or they are "whores". Plain and simple. Its embedded into our brain. We are CONDITIONED to believe that sex HAS to be meaninful. We feel bad about ourselves if we have sex w a man who don't mean anything, so we try to FORCE into something it's not to save face.

Bottom line, women care too much w people think regarding their "reputation".

FWB isn't for everyone. I enjoy my FWB when I do have them, some don't and seek something more or try to make something out of nothing.

And you are right, there are men that do the same thing, but most likely women are the culprits of getting "caught up"

Once we let go of those ideals that our cooters are our most valuable asset, then we can move on and enjoy benefitual sex more (I made that word up lol)

Violet Rose said...

I'm not a one night stand or casual "just for sex" girl. I tried, got my ass kicked, not trying anymore. I sort of admire people who can do that, but I sort of feel sorry for them too.

true2me said...

smashing everyone woman you can doesn't make you a MAN!! POINT BLANK!!!

Real men stick with their women and create families and honor them. They dont "smash" everything walking.

And when women "smash like men" they aren't "Being men" they are just following their physical instincts like men have been KNOWN to do in the past.

Get off yourself :-/ . I bet you like 22 years young

true2me said...

lol I'm not religious, so the "GOD" thing doesn't apply to me :-). What would you say to that? Please, I wanna know?

storm529 said...

I hear you and agree with you, for the most part.

But, since my "cooter" is my most valuable asset, I will never let go of that ideal. And don't want to either.

storm529 said...

Also wondering what she would say about same-sex sexual liasons? Since these partnerships can't procrete and all. Are these sexual unions always just sex for sex sakes? Whatever that means?

OneChele said...

I'm saying sex for sex sake as in - without emotion or commitment, if that's possible. Too which I say... to each his/her own as long as you're honest about it.

true2me said...

why is your cooter your most valuable asset? Don't you have other things going on for yourself? What about your personality? Your loyalty? Education? Street Smarts? Sense of style? Among all those things, WHY do you still feel like your vagina is the most important thing you have to offer? If your vagina is the most important or most valuable part of you, how are you going to stand out from the rest of the "competition" since we ALL have vaginas?

Hidi said...

On a unrelated note: You don't have to be religious to believe in God (Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit). :) In the words of Onechele, "that's whole other discussion". {wink}

true2me said...

I agree, you don't have to be religous to be believe in God, but you do to believe and follow the Bible, but that's another discussion.

true2me said...

right, there is nothing wrong w to each her/his own. But when people come in and say casual sex is just "wrong" thats where the debate comes in. :-)

true2me said...

I have seen it "work out". You see someone for a certain period, and when it dies down it dies down, same as a relationship *shrugs*

JaymeC said...

I think it's just wrong for people who can't handle it. Like marriage is just wrong for people who can't commit. But I agree each person has to do what works for them and what their comfort level is. We all have that one friend who has the same relationship over and over again.

storm529 said...

My vagina is the most sacred, valuable gift that I could offer someone. Yes, my personality, education, street smarts -- and all that -- are valuable too. But, I maintain that, when I share my vagina with anyone I am offering them a special gift, one that I and they should value highly. So, based on this, I guess you can tell that I don't do casual sex. I don't judge those who do -- everybody do you.

And, I don't know about a "competition." I don't feel like I have to compete with anyone to get a partner. Yes, we all have vaginas, but I know mine ain't the same as yours, or anybody elses. That's like saying we ALL have cars, without taking into account how many differnt makes and models there are available.

Steve said...

Wow, ya'll going in. How's this for an idea - why don't women stop treating sex like a tradeable commodity and men stop treating it Lay's Potato Chips (can't have just one). Sex without strings is great if both parties agree and walk away unscathed, unfortunately - that does not happen often. But I think everyone can agree that sex when emotion is involved is on a whole other level. Can we not?

See Chele - I'm working on my evolved side...

BB Waite said...

While I respect where you are coming from, I would argue that your heart, spirit and soul are a far more valuable commodity to guard than what's between your legs. The physical fades and in the end, it's your spirit that attracts and keeps a mate.

true2me said...

okay for some reason your vagina is "sacred" not your mind, or heart, but your vagina, okay. I'll take that, given that, will you "settle" for a dude who doesn't view his peen as sacred? Do you feel that a man's PEEN is sacred and his most important, valuable "gift" he has to offer?

BB Waite said...

Steve - if this is sincere, this is growth on your part. Very well said.

OneChele said...

LMAO at the Lay's comparison.

true2me said...

LMAO @ lays potato chips .. steve right tho

storm529 said...

Again, my vagina is scared along with my mind, heart, and soul.

First, a little backstory about me: I am a lesbian, so no I don't give any thought to a man's PEEN. Second, to answer your question (but putting it in language that I can relate to), I feel that every woman's vagina is sacred. No, it is not the only thing that is important/valuable about her, but I prize it highly, so I expect her to do so as well.

Perhaps, I am not expressing myself clearly. Wish I could write as clearly and expressively as OneChele. Alls I am tryin to say is that my "cooter" is one of my most valued assets. I place a high value on it, so anyone that I allow access to it will also have to value it as highly as I do...so no fly by nights, we have to be in it for the long haul.

true2me said...

please elaborate, why do you feel "sorry for them". You probably have some unfounded assumptions about them based on your experience and emotional level. I feel like its like a person who wants to enjoy the company of another person without the pressure, without the high expectations and without the drama and hard work. Doesnt mean they are lacking or defensive. They may just be taking their time in life. No need to rush such a committment. Everyone isn't hungry for that strong committment.

So again, why do you feel sorry for them sometimes...im curious?

true2me said...

Not to mention they stretch out after kids LOL ...I kid I kid lol..but they do tho :-|

Joy Andrews said...

First of all, the picture with this post makes me nostalgic for a RELATIONSHIP. Not sex. INTIMACY. I miss kissing and holding hands and being excited to see someone's name on the Caller ID. *wistful sigh*

Secondly, the hell? How did your cute story about your misguided friend swirl up all of this?! I step away from BnB and look here. What next girl, a discussion on whether size matters? (it does) LOL! I would LOVE to be a casual sex person, life would be easy but I can't. The minute I let a person get close (literally) I let them in emotionally. I can't disconnect. Others can. Good for them. But whatever you do - be up front about it. If you are just in it to hit and quit (RILEY!) say so, clearly. And repeat it often.

Good post, interesting reactions...

Man's World said...

Here's the deal. You can have a casual one-night stand but the more nights you tack on, the more possibility there is for someone to feel more than the lust. Let's face it (and I'll try not to be too graphic) the act of putting a part of one body inside a part of someone else's body is PERSONAL. Very, very personal. I go in on people for even "kissing casually" - that's fluid and DNA... what's casual about that? I'm not saying people shouldn't do it. I have before and I will again. I'm saying people should stop acting brand new about it not being that big of a deal.

Page Bartlett said...

I'm throwback old school, sex is for relationships. Relationships are for marriage. That works for me. Blessings to others to think and live differently but I gotta be who I am. On an unrelated note, the pink shoes in the new banner? I need. Info please.

Violet Rose said...

I just think they are missing out on all the other stuff but if they truly don't want all the other stuff, so be it. It's good stuff though. ;-)

true2me said...

Gotcha hun. No hard feelings and perhaps I did misunderstand you. Nothing wrong with you being more selective than others, but I think we all said that.

Hidi said...

LOL. I am going to agree to disagree with "heart, spirit and soul are a far more valuable commodity to guard than what's between your legs."- This can be interpreted in a negative way( by male and female young'ns). Yes, your soul, heart, spirit are valuable, but the V-Gina and Penis is right up there too.; it depends on the person. However, I understand your point of view. I believe more than one thing should be a valuable asset to a person, and there is nothing wrong with guarding what's between your legs. :)

Anna N. said...

Very interesting discussion, OC. Have to say, I'm a little more on True2Me's side with the issue. Yes, I am capable of sex without strings. Matter of fact, sometimes I PREFER to have sex with no strings. Know why? Sometimes I get tired. I get tired of dating, of holding my breath waiting for something meaningful to happen, of puttin' a curl in my head to leave the house, of trying to make a relationship work, trying to figure out when the right and acceptable time to drop drawers is... You name it, I'm tired of it. At that point, casual sex is like a cinnabon washed down with cold beer followed by a massage and a Calgon bath. Don't get no betta. I look at casual sex kinda like a cinnabon - a reliably tasty, infrequent guilty pleasure. And the real key to this whole thing (and what ruffles the brothas feathers like no other) is that a woman's jumpoff needs to be great in bed, but have something wrong with him that keeps her from being tempted into a relationship. That's why the so-called "Good Black Men" get so upset because they feel they're made to wait while lesser men get the invite upstairs. *chuckles* Ah well.

Mr. A said...

whoo-wee...I love it.

1) Why is it hard to separate?
I think initially if the love didn't come before the sex it's hard to separate because (good) sex stirs up something inside of us (hopefully not 9 mos later or after a clinical visit). It's easy to love something or someone that makes you feel good. There are people who love heroin? Get my drift? You might even say you love a favorite food because it smells good, tastes great, and feels good going down (yeah it's a pun)...l-o-v-e.

2) Purely Physical relationship?
Unless said "relationship" is filmed in the Bronx or on a Ranch for an HBO special, or will be shown on Big Sticks for Chicks volume 113, it's not possible. Someone ALWAYS catches feelings. ALWAYS. Man or woman, doesn't matter. Someone's eyes are going to roll in the back of their head and once they regain composure you can see cupid's drunk ass falling out the window.

3) Swerve buddy to happily ever after? Nope. If either party wanted more they wouldn't have kept you in the swerve category. You'd be the man or woman on their arm while the sun is still in the sky. Most people want to get married on a sunny day right? Well if they only prefer to see you in the dark there will be no room at the altar for you. Enjoy yourself and keep on searching. This situation is what it is.

OneChele said...

The pink shoes are Christian Louboutin. Sad to say I don't own them. I cannot as yet justify $2,500 for a single pair of shoes. ;-)

datdudeincali said...

Well you said what I was going to almost verbatim. So that leaves this - cosign.

Jamar Hudson said...

*steps up to the mike*

I fully support friends with benefits, cut buddies, the Tiger Woods, etc. It can work and can be great for both parties. A physical relationship with no strings attached. The key is that both parties go in with the understanding that this is what it is, nothing more, nothing less. It can't work if, before you start smashing (for lack of better words), one of the two is interested beyond the physical pleasure. If that's the case, it's doomed from the get go. Once real feelings become involved, it can't work because expectations come into play and that's the point of FWBs. No expectations. Just shoot the text, come through and see ya in a couple of days.

It can work...as long as the "rules" are in place.

Don't judge me...

Sarah said...

I'm feeling my age reading the comments today. I can't collect my thoughts in a coherent little collection of sentences. All I can say is that people are inescapably emotional creatures. Nothing they do is disconnected from emotion. It is only a question of what kind of emotion. You cannot be with a person like you can watch a movie or listen to music. One way or another you will both be effected.

datdudeincali said...

BTW, as a single black man raising a daughter alone - I will be telling her there is no such thing as casual sex. Only married sex after you turn 30. That is all.

Grace said...

The Boomerang clip is a classic. I'm on the side of the argument that these things tend not to end well. I stay out of situations that could blow up in my face. Just one girl's opinion.

maureen palmer said...

Everything is not for everyone, & i know for sure this kind of hook up is not for me. it's a slippery slope; simply because i think for most women the lines get blurred real quick.

Grace said...

I know right? Steve came correct today?!

Sarah said...

It sure changes things when it is your daughter doesn't it? While you are at it, tell her to make sure she has a good way to earn a living first as well.

Just Passing By said...

I've done both well and I've done both poorly. *kanye shrug*

Reads4Pleasure said...

Now if we can just get Riley to come correct :-)

ecthompson said...

I think the most important thing is to know who you are. Are you someone who falls in love every time you see the opposite sex? On the other hand, are you someone who is so skeptical that even after six months of great sex, love never enters the picture? That's the key.

My two cents.

derek love said...

Great post, commenters dove into the deep end. I've had enough meaningless slap and tickle to last a lifetime. And now, when I actual want a relationship, all I'm finding are women who want to hit n run. Karma is a bitch. Think on this all of you advocating the physical.

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