A couple months ago, I met a middle- aged female author during her book party given by a mutual friend. The book was autobiographical and covered her adolescent years of sexual abuse and her deliverance from the feeling of guilt, drug use, and promiscuity. She revealed during her presentation that she had gone through many ‘Friends with benefits’ relationships. However, through it all, she triumphantly stated as she raised a hand to God, “I found the love of Jesus Christ and now I’m saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost...hallelujah!” After the book signing she mingled among the small gathering and we had a chance to chat. I sensed that she was still carrying emotional baggage and was not as “delivered” as she proclaimed. I later suggested that we exchange numbers and perhaps I could refer her to other groups where she could speak and introduce her book. She offered her card, however, as she handed it to me she bluntly and firmly stated, “We could be friends but without benefits.” As I gave her my card, I replied, “All friendships have benefits.”
On my drive home, I began to process the evening and thought about the few minutes I spent with the author. It suddenly occurred to me the depth of her statement that “we could be friends but without benefits”. The woman obviously thought that I was prospecting for sexual benefits under the guise of friendship. The now vogue term “Friends with Benefits” implies that a couple engages in casual sex without any expectations of commitment to each other. Therefore, when I put my foot in my mouth and blurted that, “All friendships have benefits,” I obliviously confirmed her misguided suspicions. In my life journey, I have experienced, by definition, “Friends with benefits” only to discover the friendship paled in the light of the benefits. Friendship extends far beyond sex, if sexual activity is even present; however, in the “Friends with benefits” cliché the friendship is driven by the benefits; therefore, no real friendship exist. With that in mind, I tossed her card out the window and wouldn’t be surprised if she did the same because months have passed and I haven’t heard from her.
In my estimation, all friendships come with benefits, to which sex is not a prerequisite. Sex; however, in casual relationships is not usually a true friendship although the partners involved like each other and may even grow to love one another but still lacks the bond of friendship.
Friendship is deeper than sex. Most partners to a friendship driven by sex wouldn’t risk losing a tooth to save the other; however, most friendships driven by mutual loyalty, respect, and admiration would do so and more.
Most friendships conceived out of lust dwindles as the sexual magnetism dwindles. On the other hand, opposite sex friendships conceived in a long term non-sexual or non-romantically inclined relationships can endure the absence of sex but not if sex or romance was the glue that bonded them in the first place. A man may go out of his way to aid a female friend because that is the benefit of a friendship but the same man may disrespect or take for granted the commonplace ‘Friend with Benefits relationship.’ When I told the author that all friendships come with benefits, I meant that in the sense that to have a friend is to have a rare and beautiful benefit. However, taking in consideration the new slang, I understand her guarded position and wish I had called her because she just didn’t want to be misunderstood.
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