Subject: Male-female friendship. Can it succeed and last?
I start with the four relationship possibilities of two ‘friends’ of opposite sex. Except as noted she’s sexually attractive to him:
A. They have not had first sex together; no conquest.
B. They have had first sex together; he conquered her but that’s all.
C. They are friends ‘with benefits’; conquest is long past.
D. She’s not sexually attractive to him; conquest isn’t expected by him at least.
Each form of relationship produces different outcomes.
A. They have not had first sex together; no conquest. His primal urge as hunter-conqueror is the primary reason men and women can’t be just friends. In her presence especially, he continually lusts or longs for their first sex together. It’s not her so much as his conscious desire and subconscious primal urge to conquer. Neither desire nor urge is unquenchable except by conquest, which generates immense pressure on his psyche to do more, try harder, promote his agenda, and ignore her resistance. Not that he can’t live with the pressure. It builds and eventually spreads to non-sexual matters and one or the other finds other reasons to part company if not friendship. For example, pressure turns her against his likeability or his loyalty against her.
B. They have had first sex together; he conquered her but that’s all. His conquering urge has been satisfied. Each can now settle into a routine of longing for more sex that the other can accept or dismiss.
For the purpose here, let’s assume it’s normal relations with sexual desire penned up inside and released as both agree or disagree. Everyday temptations are met and overcome. He wants more and she says no. Or she wants more and he says no. Unless one gets piggy about it, they can be friends for awhile.
Even though conquest entitles him to own their sexual agenda, if she repeatedly denies access, he can adjust and let her prevail. Oh, he’ll keep trying, but not as intently as before conquest. Plus, she has removed herself as competitor for sex, and he can accept that. Mutual likeability helps them remain close but ….
Ultimately, the one continually denied refuses to go along anymore. It happens easily for the man, because conquest blessed him with ‘ownership’ of their sexual agenda, and she keeps thwarting his effort. Men will only take so much of what they see as denial of what they earned. Again, the male nature crowds out lessons learned about fair behavior, female expectations, and close connections. Their friendship inevitably dwindles into nothing or fades away. Or, they may shift to friends with benefits.
Moreover, other pressures work against stable friendship. He won with conquest. He had what it took at the time, and she can’t take that away from him. Consequently, he is more than good enough for her and so she’s no equal, which is an invitation to look elsewhere. Perhaps for friend or something else.
C. They are friends with benefits; conquest is long past. This relationship is unstable for the female. Soon after conquest his interest starts to decline and she soon sees that what she gives is not worth what she gets. She bonds more deeply but he doesn’t. Her bitterness easily follows breakup. She feels hoodwinked by what transpired in their friendship; she was friends but he was not—true friends, that is.
My Husband’s Wife at 2321 provides a statement very relevant to friends with benefits. “I remember hearing a very good interview with Dr. Miriam Grossman who found that the girls coming to see her on campus suffered not only physical affects, but serious psychological effects from their “friends w/benefits” / hookup relationships. It happened so frequently that she has now made her life’s work teaching the real biological sex differences that the new “Sex Ed” completely ignores in order to promote promiscuity.”
D. She’s not sexually attractive to him; conquest isn’t expected by him. Ah, ha! But it goes against the female nature that a guy associating with her does not have a sexual interest. The female nature is susceptible to focusing on being ignored sexually, which triggers behavior to turn it around, which causes women to invest themselves in pleasing the guy, which causes them to fall in love with him, which generates either conquest and a different relationship or his objecting to her attentions and escaping the friendship.
In all four alternatives, male-female “friends” is an unstable relationship and ultimately ends over the subject of sex. Of course, in some cases two friends may realize they should have and do enter a deeper relationship, but it’s a different psychological connection. Example, recall the ending of When Harry Met Sally?