Friends With Benefits With Marriage?
My husband and I watched the movie The Freebie last night, starring Dax Shepherd and Katie Aselton, who also directed the movie. It centers around a married couple whose sex life is less than satisfying; they are very much in love and communicate wonderfully but can’t seem to connect on that physical level for some reason. After months of a sexless but happy existence, Shepherd’s character, Darren, brings up the idea of taking a night off from marriage. A freebie date with someone else, no holding back and no strings attached, one time only, no questions asked.
I enjoyed watching The Freebie and won’t ruin it for you; it’s currently streaming on Netflix if you’re one of the few who haven’t divorced them yet. The film did result in a bit of conversation between my husband and I and got me thinking a bit about how married and committed couples deal with the physical side of their relationship when everything else gets in the way. No, my husband and I didn’t grant each other a freebie and no, we have no plans to in the future. The most we’ve ever discussed is something many couples do; the celebrity free pass. The celebrity one is an easy one for couples to bring up because the chances of it happening are slim to none. A husband can give his wife permission to bang it out with Brad Pitt because he knows it’ll never happen, just as a woman can give her girlfriend a free night with one of the lovely ladies on The Real L Word with the confidence that they’ll never be in the same room at the same time.
Talking about a free roll around with Emmy Rossum is totally different from talking about doing it realistically. Lulls in a couple’s sex life can happen and unfortunately, like the couple in The Freebie, it often happens after marriage or another type of serious commitment is made. Jobs and housework and children and pets and bills and friends and scheduling and LIFE just get in the way of that special time that used to be so easy to find together. The comfort zone is also a factor. Women stop wearing sexy lingerie, men stop shaving every day, you burp and fart in front of each other without shame, and you enter almost what can be described as a friend zone. Things slow down, the passion dies a bit, and nighttime cuddles turn into sleeping back to back.
It can be considered a turn-on to think of you and your mate going off one night for a hot ride with someone else, knowing that you’ll be coming back to each other afterward, stronger and more in love than ever. Whoever you have your tryst with will make you more appreciative of what you have at home, plus it’ll rid you of the urge to see what things are like with someone else and will rid you of the fear of knowing that the person you’re with is the only person you’ll be seeing naked for the rest of your life. Excluding porn, of course.
For someone like myself, even imagining some woman with her hands on my husband is enough to make me cringe, so I don’t even want to imagine all the other body parts she’d be rubbing on him. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to pick up a guy to take home and bang, nevermind being able to face my husband the next day, even having his blessing to do the nasty with someone else. Call me old-fashioned if you will, but when you get married or enter into a civil union, you’re committed to being with one person and one person only from then on. If you’re unwilling or are one of those people who likes to share, don’t make that commitment. You can pretty it up however you want, but stepping outside of your marriage or commitment, blessing or not, is still cheating.
The stigma of being a cheater aside, what about the other consequences of boning a stranger? Condoms aren’t foolproof and don’t protect against everything. How is your relationship going to be after one of you brings home a nice case of herpes? What if a pregnancy results? What if the person you chose to have your free date with decides to broadcast your roll in the hay to the wrong people or develops a connection to you and wants more or has a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend that now wants you to suffer? If you’re “responsible” and choose a friend to have your free date with, how will that affect the friendship? Will there be jealous feelings every time you all are in the same room? But most important, is one free fuck worth your entire relationship and the live you’ve built together?
I can’t say I’m lucky to not have this problem because honestly, this isn’t a problem people should have. You shouldn’t have to resort to sleeping with other people in order to fix your sex life. Problems aren’t solved by running away and seeking someone else. If you’re unhappy with how often you bump uglies, try to initiate it more often or dress sexy, plan a massage or a bubble bath, take them out to dinner or cook a romantic one at home, or maybe just rent some good porn and watch together. Or maybe, just watch The Freebie. If my night was any indication, I’m pretty sure it’ll have a positive outcome for you.