In a few days, I’m going to Cuba on vacation with a guy I’ve been sleeping with for eight years, but whom I've never once called my boyfriend.
We live on different continents, but inevitably, a few times a year, we find each other somewhere in the world, have a few days of romance, and then go our separate ways.
Like, who do you want to bring to the sex party—your boyfriend or your fuck buddy? I’ve done so many things with fuck buddies that I never would have tried with partners, because I was too much of a jealous monster.
(Like once I let Malcolm tie me to a dresser while I watched him have sex with my best friend.
When I met him, he was 45 and charmingly grumpy, and he would always tell me: “Sex is so perfect. ” I’d go over to his apartment for a couple hours in the afternoons, we’d have sex (soberly, which meant I could actually cum), and then afterward we’d drink tea and complain about stuff. There were times when we saw each other frequently, and other times when things dropped off for a while, usually because one of us had a partner. It felt like we had entered this secretive bubble of transparency—we were emotionally intimate, yet free of the burden of jealousy and ownership.
And sure, when he would get a girlfriend I would be a little bummed out—I’m (unfortunately) not a sociopath—but it didn’t cause me to spiral into an emotional cyclone the way I would have if I’d been cheated on by a boyfriend. We could spill our guts to each other because we didn’t have anything to lose.
“Having a friend with benefits is great because it’s just—it’s just less ,” he said, smoking a cigar and dressed in an inexplicable beige silk onesie. It’s not encumbered by obligations, which just lead to resentment.”He then gave me —the one that means he’s about to admit to something despicable and blame it on humanity.
“We are all selfish—we all live in this Ayn Rand–ish self-centered world, whether we like it or not,” he said. You can have your sex-power persona, or you can play the super-misogynist pig, or the bimbo, and it’s okay, because you’re not being judged.
But subscribing to that belief ignores the fact that romantic friendships can be extremely fulfilling, enlightening, and straight-up fun.Boyfriends and girlfriends have come and gone, but my friends with benefits have stood the test of time. That’s longer than I predict my first marriage will last.And while I can’t imagine being with my Cuba date “for real”—I mean, he’s a low-key homeless anarchist who once took me on date to his Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting; there are red flags—I still value our relationship immensely.“But with my fuck buddies it’s been like, There’s almost a level of titillation to sex stories when it’s somebody who’s not your boyfriend. I wish I knew, so I could bottle it and never be possessive ever again.”For all the benefits of fuck friendery, it’s still possible for this dynamic to screw with your emotions.“At different points in our relationship,” Casey recalled, “it was hard to respect the line between friendship and flirting when he started dating someone, because I’d known him more intimately than his new partner.