Friends with Benefits: What Really Goes On?
Two new movies feature single friends hooking up, but that’s Hollywood. What really goes on under the sheets? Jean Hannah Edelstein studies relationships with no strings attached
Two decades ago, Harry, of meeting-Sally fame, told us that “men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way”, these days, filmmakers are focusing on making the sex part of the friendship. Two new comedies about friends who have sex-sansromance tell us that it’s not just all right to hang out with opposite-sex pals: it’s also normal to shag them, without expecting that the afterglow will involve any greater display of emotion than a high-five.
Friends with benefits (FWBs): so hot right now. No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, and autumn’s Friends With Benefits, starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, share a point of departure: sexy twentysomethings are reluctant to commit to real relationships – too busy, too scarred by breakups, too cool. But they desire the pleasures (and consistency) of a bed partner who they don’t mind having a conversation with. It’s the job for what Portman and Kutcher’s characters call “sex friends” – the erotic counterparts to the chums you do Pilates with and the mates you go for a drink with after work. Pals with shared interests. Read more