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September 23, 2012


I had what some, especially those older than 70, would consider to be a perverse childhood, in that, as a young boy, 5 - 7 my friends were my sister and her two friends, all younger than me. I have fond memories of playing hopscotch, Simon says, and singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat..." with them, and hunting for grasshoppers in a field.

My mother wasn't to keen on it, and had grievous concerns that if it continued, I'd become gay. She arranged a situation essentially ordering me to hang out with this new neighborhood boy instead of my sister and friends. That didn't last long, but by the time I was 8 I had met other people in the area and had boys to hang out with and lead what could be construed as a normal boyhood.

But the fact is... those early memories stuck to me, and by the time I'd turned 20, I knew I really liked women, and it wasn't just a marriage thing, or a wham, bam, thank-you ma'am sort of thing - about getting laid, that is.

Some hard things to discuss, but someone's got to do it.

Oh I was horny all right at that age. And a late bloomer. I had a girlfriend for a week in the 8th grade, a very long week that we went steady, kissed one day, talked on the phone for hours and flirted in school. One week, then we broke up.

Around age 18 I went with friends to camp at a state park... others camped in the park, and others included women, and women we found and that's when I lost my virginity. I had a girlfriend at the time too... someone I'd been with for over two years... She had french-kissed with her first boyfriend, who'd broken up with her, so she refused to french-kiss with me because of that. I remember laying on her couch kissing closed mouth, feeling her breasts through her sweater, and that was our relationship for over two years.

Something had to give, or change.My parents of course were waiting for the big marriage announcement. I am the oldest of 4, so of course, after I turned 18, that was the next step in life.

Sorry to disappoint...

My first real girlfriend, was looking back a friend. A very close friend. Not knowing any different, we did "date", so to speak... I had met her at a wild party, gave her a ride home, didn't get her phone #, so had to call around for it, remember a night walking 30 miles in the rain to see her at her home, and getting a ride back later from a friend. I remember we went camping once, and I remember we moved in together and we had a life. We had sex often. And ultimately nothing about our relationship was permanent or to be construed as courtship. We were friends, exchanging benefits.

As the years transpired for me, I had other relationships, and now looking back, in each and every relationship I treated her as a friend, and seemed to get the same in return. None of the relationships lasted, for over 3 years, as many went on to become married and have children, which in my case, the very idea of getting married or having children was something that on a tri-weekly basis I was pestered about from my dear old mother.

Most of my girlfriends would say that things between us seemed so comfortable and intimate. That sex was more sensual and warm. All platitudes, as none of them lasted, long enough to propose. Which I really would have wanted to do, but the women were everywhere, and working at a college at the time, I had plenty of friends... and plenty of criticism to keep me running, dodging, ducking...  oh, yes... the tri-weekly phone calls were quite abrasive... with questions like: "When are you going to grow up?"; "When are you going to get married?"; "When are you going to get serious about life - you'll be in your 50's before you know it!?"; When are you going to stop kidding yourself about the whores you hang out with?".

By age 30 I'd had sex with around 30 women, with another 30 I'd been naked with and kissing... and every single one was a friend. Things rather slowed up after that... my point is I may be guilty of seduction, in many of these liaisons, but every single engagement was through communication. Talk. Honest, "...would you like to have sex?" I never did learn the art of deceitful seduction... for me it was always straightforwards.

So, I've been called out, so to speak, to enlighten us on the concept of Friends with Benefits. As apparently, good, old-fashioned courtship and intimacy without emotion or attachment, is being questioned, and many want to know what else there is? Attachment doesn't happen simply because you become married, which is a joke, really, as many marriages are simply a facade for the act of matrimony, and not real attachment. The marriages that work, I guarantee they are friends. Or have a rigid game-plan they go by.

Men and women can be friends. I know among some of you this is impossible, especially adding sex into the mix. But it's not really.

There's the recent movie, "Friends with Benefits", starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.  It's helped bring the reality that there is such a thing into the public arena.

Within friendship there can be extraordinary trust and openness. And this can logically morph into a sexual relationship. And why not? Sex is physical and it feels good, does the body good. It doesn't have to be about social mores, or involve thoughts of marriage. Friendship involves trust, caring and sharing. 

In the old days... 1700's for example, it wasn't uncommon for a man of status to have a wife and a concubine. Historically, the relationship involved a man in a higher status position, usually with a legally sanctioned wife, who maintains a second household with the lesser "wife". The woman in such as a relationship is referred to as a concubine. In essence, marriage was the status quo, but men had friends, and those friends had a friend. It's not uncommon in the old cemeteries to find a man, usually a governor, a sea-captain, or a preacher, buried with his wife and concubine.

I have a lot of regrets in life... how I didn't know who my friends were, and was so slaughtered by what mores society expected me to abide by, which I didn't, and so was always on the run.

It makes me think, and this is fodder for politicians who are not only our law-makers, but the epitome of what just and moral... I suggest a new law making sex without a license illegal. It makes perfect sense. It is pretty much understood, and taught in our schools that sexual abstinence is good. That sex is like a drug, which makes it bad. That sex should be between husband and wife. That to have sex outside of marriage is bad, and often leads to a crisis, a public health issue, and therefore, should be illegal.

This would effectively block the whole Friends With Benefits idea... and put much more control of peoples rights and sex-lives into the hands of law-makers. We can't smoke marijuana, so why let us have sex outside of marriage. Makes no sense... with all the diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and rapes occurring, make sex illegal without a license.

Seriously, it's said that FWB is cheap, meaningless and men benefit the most. I disagree. First, men generally don't know the first thing about how to be friends with women. Second, a "one-night-stand" is not a friendship that lasted one night. We're talking friendship, not pure lust. Pure friendship I would say, where the two people have a caring connection with each other. There isn't a girlfriend/boyfriend commitment per se, as it's the friendship that keeps the two together. It's hardly cheap, and it's not possessive. It's an arrangement. A mutual understanding.

Which doesn't mean it should be legal... in our national bid to make personal freedom illegal, it's one of those human behaviors politicians should take a serious look at. It's not unlike prostitution, in that, although it be barter, an exchange is made often between the two parties. Persons in FWB relationships often benefit a lot from the arrangement. That goes against the very nature of our society in which puritanical regiments dictate our choices.

I never got married... though I wanted to. I'm sure I would have made a good husband to a woman. A good father. But it didn't happen. Today, at 58 I have to ask myself if that is such a bad thing anymore. Is it not worse that I didn't appreciate what I had when I had it? Isn't it worse that kicking myself into believing I was doing something wrong over the years only made me bitter and depressed in later life? 

I believe strongly that friends between male and female with benefits is a viable life alternative. I believe what I experienced was wholesome and good. I believe we have a flawed system of dating between the sexes. I believe men and women can be friends and can experience profound intimacy if they can just let go and enjoy. 

The best relationships begin as friendships... 

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