Love and Hope and Sex and Dreams: The Ballad of the Fuck Buddy

Love and Hope And Sex and Dreams Sex Column

Love and Sex and Hope and Dreams is Brooklyn Magazine’s new bi-monthly sex column. Names have been changed to protect privacy.

I’m constitutionally opposed to parties, but several weeks ago, I went to one anyway. It was the good kind: A dozen women gathered in a Prospect-Lefferts Gardens apartment with enough wine that no one was repeatedly telling us how many bottles were left and implying that someone else should go get more. Almost all of the women present were single, many of us aggressively and intentionally so. That’s one of the best things about being in your 20s in Brooklyn; it’s a safe space to do literally anything you want besides get married and have kids, at least until you turn 35 or move to Park Slope–whichever comes first.

Two glasses of wine in, my friend Katherine asked me how things were going with the guy I’m dating, and I told her they’re great, but I’m not dating him. Ben and I have known each other for years, and we get along so well and have so few common interests that it’s like the universe created us to have only casual sex with each other. He’s kind, attentive, and treats me with respect, in addition to being a sexually intuitive partner who eats pussy like he invented the act. He’s the type of man who makes you want to put his dick in your mouth. If I could clone Ben and give one of him to every woman I know, I’d do it in a heartbeat. There have been times when I’ve thought about passing his number to a friend in need. He’s a gem, and I found him by sheer luck.

While I was explaining that Ben is more a five-star fuck buddy than a potential life partner, my friend got the thousand-yard stare of a woman being regaled with the details of a vacation she can’t afford to take. Katherine said she’d like to have that kind of man in her life, and several other women at the party joined in to agree–they’d all love to be having casual, regular, mutually fulfilling sex with a man with whom they weren’t hoping for eventual commitment or monogamy. After all, if some of your more basic needs for sex and intimacy are being met, it takes a lot of pressure off the other dating you’re doing and the other people you may be evaluating for more serious partnership.

Even though you’d think the promise of repeated sexual attention from an attractive, smart woman looking for little more than the same in return would be some sort of modern male fantasy, it’s a surprisingly difficult bargain to strike. That no one in the group had managed to do it isn’t because they aren’t trying, but because the men they encounter can so rarely behave themselves long enough to get boned repeatedly. If “Netflix and chill” is such a popular cultural cliché right now, why are men almost universally terrible at it?

In my (considerable) experience with using dating apps in this city, the problem is, at least in part, one of extremes. The men who are explicitly looking for sex often set off all kinds of slimy, creepy, potentially dangerous red flags and approach women with as much finesse as your average street harasser. On the other hand, men with more nebulous intentions often lack the clarity of purpose and emotional intelligence necessary to semi-regularly fuck a person without getting mired in miscommunication and hurt feelings.

The two groups do have some things in common, though. Once you get them into bed, men on both ends of the spectrum are often bad at the actual act of having sex, which is, of course, a significant problem. Fucking well requires empathy and close attention to your partner, and those are just not qualities most men are socialized to display toward women. Although fun, casual sex may be something idealized in plenty of porn, the relentless, implausibly acrobatic jackhammering of the average RedTube clip isn’t the best way to get there. Having a fuck buddy is a great way to explore and improve your sexual communication skills, but that can only happen if the man involved arrives to the situation ready and willing to learn from his prospective partner. Unfortunately, many men show up with little more than their dicks in their hands.

And then there is, unfortunately, the question of suspicion, which might be more important than the sex itself. When I’ve asked men in my social circle about their experiences gaining and keeping fuck buddies, almost all of them eventually admitted to having some anxiety over whether women who claim to want non-committal sex are really just hoping to weasel their way into their lives and end up in relationships. They may use language that’s a bit less harsh, but the upshot is the same: They have an underlying belief that women can’t only want sex. We have to be after something else, and we’re willing to lie to and manipulate men in order to get it. When that’s how you view women, of course it seems safer to hit it and quit it, as it were, than maintain an ongoing, respectful sexual relationship with someone you genuinely enjoy fucking.

When repeated back to them in such clear terms, the men in question were almost all aghast at their own misogyny, but I doubt it’s changed how any of them interact with the lovely ladies of Tinder. Gender roles are an ever-evolving part of American culture, and the way women of our generation have been raised to view ourselves–independent, capable, sexual, equal–is fundamentally at odds with the much more retro way men of the same age have been taught to view and treat the women around them. Until the men start believing us and stop punishing us when we say we want to fuck them, everyone involved is going to have a lot more lonely nights.

Around Brooklyn

See More

2 COMMENTS

  1. Keep them coming. Although not the best light shone upon men I still enjoyed the read. I can relate in some ways as well. I’d love to have a Fuck buddy..especially during these cold months..And I’m fairly certain I can give her buddy a run for his money(not that it’s a competition). I just know the few talents I have. And I’m extremely attentive to a partner, adore pleasing, and quite content to do the Netflix and chill thing. Now, if I could only find her and have her be as giving and attentive as I am..this winter would be so much warmer and yummier!!

LEAVE A REPLY