Looking at sexual behavior as rationally as I can, I come to the conclusion that safety and consent are the only things that make sex moral or immoral. Because of this realization I tend to be far more casual about sexual encounters than probably anyone I know. Of course, this leads me to be branded a slut- in a good-natured teasing way among friends (though it still kinda hurts), and in a cruel way by other people. Even among my more sexually liberal friends, promiscuity is, for the most part, seen as something negative, and I find this puzzling; this view contradicts statements they have made regarding the morality of sex.

Input? Is there, in fact, anything wrong with satisfying my desires in any safe, consensual way that I can? Why the divide between what my friends say they think and how they act on this subject? Are there other things you can think of that affect the morality of sex?


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I noticed this discussion some time ago and have been thinking of how to contribute. I found a story online of some research into "friends with benefits". It could be posted to one of several discussion threads here but I will post it here:

When 'Friends with Benefits' Turns Costly

 

To me, it seems that the promiscuity choice (and polyamory choices) comes with the inherent risk of emotional asymmetry. It probably is  a risk in the same sense of the risk human males have of prostrate cancer: it isn't a matter of "if" it will happen to you it is a matter of "when". Eventually, one party will feel the urge to change the casual nature of the relationship by terminating or expect commitment. Nothing unnatural about that, I suppose. But who can say to what lengths someone will go when they feel compelled to change the relationship?

There is a world of difference between "friends with benefits" and one-night-stands. I have never been comfortable with the first, I feel each person's perception of the relationship status is different, with one-night stands (outside of peer group) there is much less room for confusion.

 

Usually people who practice FwB are trying to live up to a prejudice-preventing non-promiscuity standard, and are willing to risk the relationship misunderstandings in exchange for that virtuous peace of mind. Promiscuous women still suffer frequent derogatory comments from a seeming majority of self-purported non-promiscuous people, moralists trying to impose their morals onto all :(

I have no problem with the concept of FwB, but I'm tired of Hollywood perpetuating the fantasy that a long-term, monogymous relationship will magically be created from it.  As if somehow chemistry and romance have no factor in attraction at all. 

Does anyone actually know a couple that developed a stable, long-term relationship that started as FwB?  It would be one thing if I knew only a few people, but I know zero.  Not a single relationship that started that way.  Am I in the minority here?

My dh and I were friends for several years before we got together.  I've known several couples who were friends first.  The benefits came later.  It depends on whether or not you are looking for sex or long term companionship.   I was looking for long term companionship.  My bil and his wife were fwB for about 10 years before they got together.

I can agree that friendship can lead to relationships; in fact, almost all of my relationships started as friendships first.  What I am doubting is the ability for two friends to have sex with each other casually without any formal commitment or jealousy between the two of them, and then if this ends, having the two go back to being friends like it never happened. 

 

I'm not saying that this phenomenon has never happened, I simply saying that these relationships are enough in the minority that there shouldn't have been three movies on the subject in a one year period, if at all. 

 

Are they trying to re-write the RomCom genre to appeal to a larger demographic that appeals to polyamorous and sexually liberated types that feel they were being ignored by the majority of society?

Usually people who practice FwB are trying to live up to a prejudice-preventing non-promiscuity standard

Usually the male screws up by demanding non-promiscuity in my experience.
The few FwB relationships that I know of have either failed miserably and "died" young or continued as brief but intense monogamous relationships.

I've seen it practiced by quite a few gay people though, why not have heterosexual fun if you know there's never going to be romantic feelings in the first place. I used to date a bisexual girl who had a gay male friend who've had more women in his bed then I ever had. He reminded me of it often ;)

So in theory it is possible but I do see the same potential for disaster as you I suppose.

minus the disaster part... I didn't infer that at all :(

I just don't partake in FwB having known a number of people who were actually in love while the 'friend' wasn't. Generally I just don't consider FwB to be a promiscuous behaviour.

Maggie, I think you're right.  Controlling female sexuality has been a part of patriarchal societies for so long that most people, at some level, feel it's natural and proper.  It isn't.  Do what makes you happy despite the attitudes of less liberated people.  Be aware, though, that sex is just more dangerous for women, partly because of the way the plumbing works and partly because men tend to be bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than women.  Strangers can be dangers, and friends with benefits can get possessive.  I don't think there's anything morally wrong with women having casual sex, but there is still a double standard in most people's minds, and there are still dangerous situations.  Be careful out there.
As a feminist, this is just wrong that this should be happening to you. My advice is that as a society of rationals we need to drop the use of the words slut, promiscuity, and other archaic words that have been used to describe women who are sexual and non virginal. As a proud polyamorous feminist. I will tell you there is nothing wrong with satisfying one's sexual pleasures as long as it is as it is said in the BDSM world, "Safe, Sane, and Consensual", I add something else, honest. As long as one is hones about one's sexual intentions and safety in sex is discussed beforehand, then it is moral, and right. I get very upset if I hear anyone call someone any degrading terms that have been used to enforce a double standard on sexuality among men and women and cause sexual shaming on that which is a natural biological urge among men and women. I ask them to refrain from using those terms around me because it is offensive.
People who throw around such demeaning labels don't make it into my circle of friends--or they certainly don't stay very long. Women who like sex (a lot) and have pleased themselves with many men are, in my world view, champions among women.
Thank you!
There is not a damned thing wrong with it. If you are happy and not hurting anyone, all is well.

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