28 September 2011

Friends with Benefits (Alison Dowsett)

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image via Life Changg
Friends We Benefit From err, Friends With Benefits, a guest post by Vancouver writer Alison Dowsett ... 

As I watched the film Friends With Benefits a new sexual identity arose against the tired old cliches on the screen. Not at first though, I quite liked the movie. The actors are super cute, and the first sex scene is fresh, with the pair making out and getting naked while exchanging banter about how they like to be touched, what positions work best and just generally being authentic. 

However, eventually the story falls into the familiar rut of romance, and the lovers fall for each other-- which isn’t at all surprising for a romantic comedy. I’m not a movie critic, nor do I expect a Hollywood movie to blaze a trail into bona fide sexual freedom but as I was saying, I walked into the movie theatre plain old me, but by the time the curtain closed, a sexual freedom fighter sat in my chair.

As the film played certain assumptions were laid out:

1. Friends with benefits is accomplished by remaining emotionally distant;

2. It is also considered immature, something done in college and then moved on from - the notion that we advance to marriage-style committed relationships in order to be fulfilled;

3. The soul mate, or as it is called in this movie, the ‘prince charming,’ the idea that there is one person out there for every one of us.

I sat in my chair. The assumptions were laid out for me and none of them have any bearing on my life. I have had at least four soul mates. I am single. I expect to meet many more soul mates that I will make love with. I view my closest friendships as soul mates too. My entire life is made up of long-term relationships, only the ones where sex has been involved have fizzled away. I want sex and intimacy and lots of it but my life is not devoid of love because I don't have a lover. 

I suppose the biggest thing is that I no longer feel the need to rank my relationships. It used to be that I would meet a lover, determine whether or not they were available for a partnership and then put all my energy there. That relationship took precedence over every other one and in some way this caused an acceleration to the end. Now that I’ve done that four times I can’t see the point of continuing as such.

Friends with benefits. I say it slowly. Oh it gets people’s backs up, this phrase. It’s rife with sleaziness, lying and emotional hedging. But slowly, I say it. Friends. What is friendship? If I’m going to do this, I have to go slower than I ever have. I can’t be in a hurry to have sex anymore. Friends can kiss. And find out about big stuff like who wants children and what happened at the last break-up. And ask questions about sex and what it might mean, how it will change the friendship. And it will be so different than just jumping in to bed and then trying to piece together some boundaries. There will be all that space created by the waiting and the friendship. I’m free. I’m gonna do it.

Alison Dowsett's work has appeared in The Science Creative Quarterly, Terminal City and Xtra. Twitter :: @alisondowsett
 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

logical... but what if the slow ache of waiting dries the initial passion and drowns the flirt.

FlyingDakini said...

Yes. Isn't passion like fresh desire? ... always threatening to dry up if not fed. But, I do know desire that exists outside of geography and time. One that doesn't follow regular rules of engagement. So maybe it's that connection the author is willing to take time to find. Thanks for your thoughts! Annette

AD said...

It's a great point, Anonymous makes. I am the author and in fact, the waiting did just drown the flirt I was feeling with someone I've been dating. I have no attraction to her now that I know her quite well.

I did feel let down remembering that sizzle I felt on our first date, how she'd dressed up super sexy. She was wearing jeans and a hoodie the other night.

I suppose the real question is what will happen after I ignite the fires of passion and jump in, since my intention is not to rank that relationship.

At least now I've had the experience of watching the luster fade off of a crush in a matter of 7 weeks.

 
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