The sex between friends sometimes have been associated with a healthy practice that helps strengthen the emotional ties, without considering in this case those friendly relations that can arise between people who have only occasional meetings confined to sex.
The association between sex and friendship as something ‘positive’ has often been supported by the study “He’s Like a Brother”: The Social Construction of Satisfying Cross-Sex Friendship Roles” by Heidi M. Reeder, professor at the University of Boise, In United States.
This research focused on how friendship is established between people of different sexes, the roles and the degree of satisfaction has frequently been put as evidence of how sex strengthens the friendship between heterosexual friends.
In this regard, Judit Labernia Reverter, collaborator of Placer ConSentido and member of the Sexuality and Couple Group of the Official College of Psychology of Catalonia (Copc), explains to MyhealthMyskin that this study is more focused on the aforementioned aspects than on the implications of maintaining sexes between friends.
“However, they do cite some aspects observed in the study by Hughes et al (2005) that seem to be relevant in friendships that have sex.
Specifically, Reeder (2016) comments that in the study by Hughes et al (2005) ‘they identified a set of rules (or pacts) that go beyond those present in only friendly relationships and that these seemed to help the participating people to preserve friendship while having sex without commitment'”, clarifies Labernia.
According to this study, these rules for having sex with friends would be: not to get emotionally involved, to carry out these sexual encounters in secret and to consider friendship as a priority.
For her part, the COPC spokesperson considers that sex between friends may or may not strengthen the relationship depending on each case (both on the people who make it up and on the moment in which those encounters take place).
“Obviously, there is a lack of research on respect, despite this, from my knowledge and professional experience I believe that as a society we are evolving (I also like to think that we are maturing) in relation to sexuality, the presence of this type of relationship is an example of this, being aware that we have a long way to go ”, says Labernia.
In this sense, this psychologist emphasizes that affectivity is linked to sexuality and can vary according to the way each person connects, which will influence how these types of relationships are lived.
Likewise, this expert indicates that sexuality is built and changes throughout life based on different factors, including cultural factors .
“In our current context, I feel that sexuality is finally taking space and voice in everyday life, however, there are still many myths around it, little education, little deep work (root) in the inequality between the sexes, a culture phallocentric and ‘pornographic triumphs’, among others, which can lead not only to the friendship not being strengthened, but also to one of the parties (or both) reaffirming or asserting previous emotional and bonding wounds”, he details.
Sex And Friendship: Good For Mental Health?
As Labernia points out, sex between friends can sometimes lead to the involvement of emotions with an impact on one or both of the parties.
So is sex between friends healthy from an emotional point of view?
“In general terms, the scientific evidence on the level of health (movement within the health-disease continuum) that can be derived from sexual practices between people who maintain a friendship is scarce, if not practically non-existent”, responds this psychologist.
In the Spanish case, Labernia speaks of the “study carried out by García and Soriano (2016), in which they analyze different variables related to people’s sexual health; among them, risk behaviors (non-use of condoms and alcohol consumption), infections of STIs and the forms of bonding (attachment styles) of men and women who have sex with friends”.
In his opinion, the conclusions of this Spanish work, together with the results of research carried out in the United States, “put the focus and open the doors to the investigation of these forms of relationship and the possible implications for physical, emotional and social health of the people, at the same time that they show the lack of scientific evidence to be able to speak of generalities”.
These Are The Benefits Of Sex Between Friends
For a COPC psychologist, sexual encounters between people who have a friendship relationship can “contribute to personal development and self-knowledge and to the human sexual dimension; You can provide empowerment (obviously can also lead otherwise), impacting positively on the self esteem and self – concept; allow the creation of new relational frameworks that go beyond normative monogamy; promote social skills such as negotiation, assertive communication and empathy; can emphasize values such as respect and responsibility; enhance bonding, understanding and friendship; expanding the meanings or manifestations that we give to the concepts of commitment, intimacy and passion (Sternberg’s Triangle of Love) in affective-sexual relationships”, as well as providing the pleasure linked to sexual activity itself.
Emotional Problems Of Having Sex With Friends
At this point, Labernia recalls that sexual relations between people who maintain a friendship can aggravate previous emotional wounds, as well as some difficulties in this regard.
“For example, the fragmentation of the experience of sexuality and sex can be enhanced, just as the human being is fragmented from different disciplines, trying to focus attention on what I think (what we have agreed), leaving aside what that I feel beyond sexual pleasure”, he explains.
“With this feeling I do not refer to falling in love, but to the emotions that as human beings we experience in our lives.”
As for falling in lov, this expert warns that this can be a problem if it arises between one of the parties and the other does not.
“In general terms, the imbalance or differences in roles and expectations between the components of the friendship in which sex is practiced can be a great source of discomfort,” he clarifies.
Another drawback that may arise, according to Labernia, is that the friendship that was a safe place becomes a hostile space that affects the trust between the two when there is a lack of conscience, personal work, responsibility and respect.
On the other hand, this psychologist maintains that if friends who have sex “belong to the same group of friends, discomfort and discomfort may appear within the group, and even that one of the parties loses that group as a reference or nourishing space and comforting”.
How To Have Sex With Friends In A Healthy Way
“Based on the possible emotional problems that sex between friends can trigger”. This expert advises keeping in mind respect, assertive communication, empathy and responsibility.
In his opinion, all the people involved in this type of relationship should be honest about what their real needs are at all times, since these can vary over time.
In addition, Labernia recommends that “it be understood that sex is a small part of sexuality and that rationalizing (thinking-communicating from the mind ) is important because it creates a frame of reference to build the relationship, but that our emotions and our body also they are going to be present (we are an integral being), therefore, they deserve our attention and care”.
Finally, this expert advises that there is a commitment to constantly review the learning received around sexuality and the desire to demystify those beliefs that lead us to objectify people. To see more post on physical & mental health click here.