It’s the type of relationship that so many want, as they see it as something ever easy, completely rewarding, and totally noncommittal. For many, it can seem mythical: something that either can’t be obtained, or when it is, turns out to be poison.
No-strings-attached relationships do indeed exist, though perhaps those who successfully undertake them may not refer to them exactly like that. In essence, there is indeed a degree of attachment. Friends with benefits may be a phrase but that too seems overused and less than meaningful.
Whatever it’s called, and you’re free to dub it as necessary, it’s a relationship that like any other needs to be constructed on a strong foundation and nurtured in order to see it reached its fullest potential. With that in mind, here’s what it takes to be in a relationship where continuous sex is the focus and basis.
Talk About It
It’s quite easy to fall into any sort of relationship without talking about it, especially one that is mostly about sex. That type of arrangement can last for a while, but if it’s not directly addressed, and instead say the two of you just happen to always meet up at night, it can turn sour fast or end badly. Uncertainty will always eventually breed chaos. Talking about it can be easy, especially if the two of you already know what’s what without saying anything. By being straightforward about what you both want though can make that experience even better. There is no pretense, no judgment, and no unfair expectations.
That is, once you establish expectations. The ‘no-strings-attached’ part is more of a loose descriptor, because yes indeed, there are obligations. You have a responsibility to be honest about other people that are currently in your or may happen into it later that can affect this relationship either emotionally or physically. If this partnership is a placeholder until more exclusive relationship comes along, then that should be acknowledged. Determine whether you are dating or sleeping with other people. What’s more, it should be discussed about how often you want to meet, and how much you expect from the person, just like any other relationship. It’s an allegiance based on a physical bond yes, but there must be an emotional element where your partner isn’t just some sort of outlet, but instead seen as a person, with their own feelings and desires. So be honest.
Just because it’s sex, doesn’t mean it should be easier for you to cancel or back out of plans. Making a date with your partner here is no less significant than making plans with any other friends or partner. It’s a relationship like any other, and it requires both parties to be active participants and be present. It’s especially significant because you both will likely become very comfortable with each other should it progress, and that comfort can lead to complacency, which in turn can lead to a slow crumbling of the relationship. Unlike friendships, which can be massaged and upheld through texting and email and all other forms of communication, if you are going to have a relationship based on physical sex, you have to show up.
Accept the Finality
Most relationships end. It doesn’t mean this person will leave your life, but at one point or another, something will happen that will alter this arrangement. Because it’s a partnership based on sex, it can happen more sudden than other relationships. Should someone new cross either or your paths that is desirable on not just a physical level, that can quickly threaten this set up. It’s vital for both people to be aware of these possibilities and to be very careful that the bond you have doesn’t become possessive simply because it’s a physical one. Embrace the present while being aware of its fleeting nature.
The height of such a relationship is that because of the lack of pretense and judgment, and with some assurance that things will continue on, you both can explore each other and your desires. A continuous physical relationship will lead to both of you becoming far more comfortable with one another, and far more in tune with each other’s bodies. Ideally then, the sex should get better and better, allowing for open and honest communication, which should open the possibilities of new and satisfying experiences.
Anthony Marcusa is a Toronto-based freelance journalist whose writing dabbles in film, TV, music, sports, and relationships – though not necessarily in that order. He’s simultaneously youthfully idealistic and curmudgeonly cynical. You can follow him on Twitter @MrAnthonyWrites.