CALL it a booty call, zipless shag or friends with benefits – the bottom line is that sex doesn’t only happen between people in a relationship, or steady couples. Although this has
been the case long before 1973, it was in that year that the conversation about sex outside of a relationship happened. This was in the form of a book called The Fear of Flying, in which the lead character, a married woman, has sex with someone other than her husband and goes on to enjoy it and defy the conventional wisdom that says people can’t have sex without commitment. The book sold 20 million copies around the world.
THE HOOK UP CULTURE
Fast-forward to 2017 and society has changed so much that there is a generation of people whose dating experiences are firmly informed by the belief that you don’t have to be in a relationship or in love with a person to be in a sexual relationship with them. You both must want to sleep with each other with an understanding that your relationship is only
sexual. Welcome to love, sex and lust and the age of hook ups, where there are Apps and websites for people to connect sorely for sex. Offline, it’s called having a friend with benefits. This is someone in your circle that you have regular sex with. This can be because you are attracted to them, but they are not the type you date. Or perhaps you are both in relationships with other people.
Hazel Motswana* (34) says that most of her sex life has been in the context of having a friend with benefits. This is how she describes a friendship with benefits: “My first one was with a colleague’s brother. I didn’t want to be in a relationship because I was still mending a broken heart, but I still needed a thriving sex life. He was into me, and he understood that I would only be available sexually.” She says that she was not the only person in her circle who had a friend with benefits. “Most of my friends are women, some single, married or recently out of relationships. We had or have friends with benefits for different reasons. It can be that sex with a partner is not satisfying, or that they’re bored sleeping with one person, or so attracted to someone that they have to have sex with them.”
One of the buzzwords of the hook up culture is catching feelings. “It’s a dirty word because it means one of you has forgotten that you are in a physical relationship that should not become emotional. When one of you falls in love, things become very complicated,” says Hazel.
■ Always use a condom even if you know each other’s latest HIV status.
■ Set rules and boundaries. Will there be sleepovers and socialising outside the bedroom?
■ You must agree that the relationship is strictly casual and sexual, so even though you may see him with another woman, you cannot cause a scene.
■ Don’t assume that your arrangement is becoming romantic or emotional just because it goes on for months, or because you spend a lot of time together.
■ Don’t turn it into a social media parade. Discretion is an important part of having a friend with benefits, so tagging them or leaving messages on their public platforms is not the way to go.