No-strings-attached relationships: are they inevitably a bad idea?
As liberated 21st-century women, why shouldn't we engage in the same no-strings-attached behavior men historically have enjoyed? For Whitehill, she learned early on that the only thing she and her "This American Life" host, Ira Glass-lookalike had in common was sex. Without a steady boyfriend, she thought she could pull off the flings and go about her business as usual. But, as is often the case, carefree turns to caring... and analyzing... and anxiety, and ultimately it becomes hard to identify all of the stress-free "benefits." Whitehill aptly describes what we'll call "the end of the affair" symptoms:
"Plenty of my thirty-something girlfriends were doing it to stay satisfied, so I figured I’d give the laid back, no-romantic-attachments approach to getting laid a whirl. A year later, faux-Ira and I still hang out and hump. After our most recent rendezvous last weekend, I began to wonder what I’m doing. What are the real benefits to friends with benefits? Sure, now I have an in-case-of-sexual-emergency-hit-Glass-lookalike. At the same time, I’ve started to realize my situation is causing me to question the meaning of friendship, challenging my chances at romances, and wobbling my emotional stability."
While the hormone oxytocin naturally produces feeling of attachment in women after sex, is our relative inability to carry on meaningless hookups a nature or nurture issue? Has society trained us to want commitment after a sexual encounter or is it merely our animal instincts kicking in?
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