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Can Friends Survive Friends w/Benefits?

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis in "Friends with Benefits"

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis in “Friends with Benefits”

Sometimes friendships between women and men turn into “friends with benefits.”

Not surprising, really.

Friendships between men and women often start when one of the two – usually the guy – is hoping for sex.

Or sex is wanted without the baggage that relationships can bring, and FWB seems more inviting than hookups with strangers — especially for girls who want to avoid being called sluts.

Still, many fret that if things don’t work out, FWB could bring the loss of their friend. To keep things platonic, many avoid discussing the relationship, and make sure to bring up romances with others. And no flirting.

Still, the line is crossed at some point in the lives of about 60% of college students. What happens next?  Read the rest of this entry

Sex Gets in the Way of Friendship, For Men

when-harry-met-sallyHarry told Sally that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sally didn’t believe him.

Maybe that’s because the sex part often gets in the way for men, but not so much for women.   Read the rest of this entry

Sex minus Emotion; Emotion minus Sex

hookupsThe Modern Love College Essay Contest of 2008, sponsored by the New York Times, found students grappling with hookup culture: sex without emotion. Three years later students struggled with the opposite issue: intense emotional relationships that were devoid of sex because they were online.

The strategies seem to be complete opposites. Yet they hold similarities.  Read the rest of this entry

Downton Abby Ends in Feminist Dystopia of GIRLS?

downton-abbey-season-4-castDownton Abbey and HBO’s Girls seem to be talking to each other, says Anand Giridharadas in a New York Times piece

The early 20th Century world of Downton’s British aristocracy knew “there is a way to do everything, from cleaning spoons to dressing for dinner.”

But then World War I unleashes its chaos, confusing notions about who is independent and where one stands. Thus,

The family driver, believing in equality and marrying for love, runs away with the family daughter; thus the men wear black tie instead of white to dinner one night; thus a new generation of servants is less servile, more willing to question.

HBO’s Girls yields the fruits of that push a century later — and it isn’t pretty, he says — as four young women navigate the stresses and opportunities of New York City: a world that “says you can be anything but does not show you how.”  Read the rest of this entry

Do Men Want Women To Ask Them Out?

woman asks man outSome guys wonder why women don’t ask men out. Some women wonder how men would feel if they did. So I asked guys in my women’s studies class for their thoughts.

Out of a class of 46 I’ve just got nine men (this is women’s studies, after all) — and only seven of them showed up in time to take the survey, so this is a very small sampling. And between a willingness to take that class and living in the Bay Area, they may be more liberal than most.

Here’s what I asked them:

Has a woman ever asked you out? If yes, what did you think and why? If no, would you like a woman to ask you out, or would it make you feel uncomfortable? Should it be socially acceptable for women to ask men out?

And here’s what they said:  Read the rest of this entry

Yeah, I’ve Asked Men Out

Woman-on-Phone11-300x200Guys sometimes wonder why women don’t ask men out. Plenty of women don’t. But it turns out that many have — and do. Here’s what students from one of my women’s studies classes had to say. (My method was discussed in another post.)

Out of the 26 women who responded to my survey, 17 had actually made the first move at some point. So many more had than hadn’t.

Here’s what they had to say:  Read the rest of this entry

Why Women Don’t Ask Guys Out

date meGuys sometimes ask why women don’t ask men out. Some suppose they can’t take rejection.

I teach women’s studies so I asked my students to write down what they thought on the topic.

I asked:

Have you ever asked a guy out? If not, why not? If yes, why? Were you nervous? How did he respond? Should it be socially acceptable for women to ask men out? Would making a move make you feel more empowered? Or would you rather not have to face rejection?

This is an intro to women’s studies class in the Bay Area, so the women may be more liberal than most.

I got 26 responses. Interestingly, most had asked a guy out at some point. But over a third (9) had not. Why not?  Here’s what they said:  Read the rest of this entry

Girls Get Friend-Zoned, Too

friend-zone-2Think only guys get friend-zoned?

Well, I’ve been interested in men who saw me as “just a friend,” too. One particularly can’t-take-my-eyes-off-you gorgeous man comes to mind. It’s not that I asked him out and got rejected. He just never asked me out. So we stayed friends when I wanted more. Leaving me in the friend zone.

So even women who don’t ask men out get friend-zoned. Unless every man they are interested in asks them out–which is hard to imagine.

Yeah, being “friended” in a not-so-wanted way happens to women, too.

True, the friend-zone is more in-your-face for guys since they’re expected to make the first move. So it may be more hurtful for them in that way. But we all end up in the same place: outside the arms we want to be in.

Of course, it’s possible that some of the men that women are interested in simply don’t make that first move because they are shy or don’t realize we find them attractive. So that brings up another topic. Girls often don’t feel like they can ask guys out.  Read the rest of this entry

Women as Prey, Men as Predator

homophobiaWomen are expected to attract, men are supposed to be attracted. Men want, women want to be wanted. Metaphorically, this is a predator/prey type relationship. Women are subject to the hunt whether they like it or not, so men’s attention can be pleasing, annoying, or frightening. It all depends.

Accordingly, women know what it feels like to be prey.

That’s from Prof. Lisa Wade of Occidental College and the popular blog, Sociological Images (where I got the great cartoon, too.)

Not all men make women feel this way, she says, and probably most don’t, but we’ve all pretty much had this experience, whether it’s,

The leering guy on the street, the heavy hitter in the bar, the frotteurist on the subway, the molesting uncle, the aggressive fraternity brother, etc.

Does homophobia arise partly from being demoted on the food chain and feeling like prey, she wonders?  Read the rest of this entry

Getting Creeped Out to Fit In

0_21_450_SexAddictionSometimes we’re confused about what’s “normal” and end up doing uncomfortable things — that may even creep us out — just to fit in

Take wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am (or sir) sex. Plenty of us are really into it. But usually, we think others are more comfortable with random sex than we are, ourselves.

University of Texas sociologists, Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, studied sex on college campuses and found that many young people feel conflicted between their private preferences and their public behavior because they think everyone else — most importantly, “the popular” — want hookups. To not join in — or at least act like you want to — would be social suicide.

That, in turn, creates its own reality: a hookup culture that everyone thinks is real, but which is a figment of the collegiate imagination. Because while most say they’re for it, most don’t actually do it.

Researchers asked college students how comfortable they felt doing acts ranging from “first base” to “home run” (you might say) with someone they barely knew.

Turns out, women and men, alike, tend to think that men are more comfortable in random carnal intimacies than they, themselves, are. AND, Read the rest of this entry

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