Male and Female Sexual Relationships
September 18, 2012 3:42 PM   Subscribe

What type of sexual relationships do women and men enjoy? I have a question, what is healthy sex and a healthy male female relationship.

I will only get a girlfriend if I think there is potential to marry the girl.

Of course, one usually ends up growing apart and it doesn't work out. I don't want to wait years inbetween or just get into a relationship to please my sexual needs. I don't want to lead anyone on. Also, I know most girls have a sexual relationship with someone between boyfriends. I don't see people waiting for serious commitment and don't think they should. Sexual gratification is healthy in my eyes.

This may be a bit long winded.

I don't really believe in the waiting till marriage and I don't think sex is unimportant either. I believe it is sacred. I think it is healthy in a consensual relationship but the details of the relationship is where I get confused.

I use to think that it should only be practiced in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. From my observation, it is standard practice also to do it outside a serious relationship. Seems like people do the bf/gf thing only if they see each other as marriage material and want to try out a serious relationship. If two people like each other,and are sexually attracted to each other then, they will be seeing each other, but neither has the intent that it is forever.

So, if I find someone I want to be friends with and have sexual relationship with but don't want it to be forever, should I just be seeing them? Would asking to be boyfriend/girlfriend be leading the person on... Basically what level of is expected by both sexes and how much is too much where you are leading someone on?

I think it would be hard to get into the boyfriend girlfriend relationship and not take it seriously. I had a girl do this and she didn't state that. I felt a bit used after. I think it would be best to talk it out with you partner. If you don't want to try out forever, then skip the BF/GF and just be friends that are seeing each other. Is this how most people do it? Guess the sex isn't casual in the sense that you don't care about the person. You are friends and care about each other. You are committed to monogamy, just understood that the intent of the relationship isn't testing forever compatibility. You go on a sexual journey for a while together and meet the human needs of each other.

I think this would avoid a lot of heart ache in relationships. I think the sexual desire is a big factor of why people get into bf/gf relationships, and one person takes it more seriously than the other. Maybe if they were upfront that they wanted a friend to meet their sexual needs, and that they had a feeling they weren't going to last forever or lie to themselves, there would be less messy break ups. People would really talk out important issues before hand, instead of basing it on infatuation. Honestly, everyone would wait like 6 months to 1 year because that is the only way you would know if you were going to stay with this person for a long time. Thanks
posted by mrfawcet to Human Relations (25 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are as many answers here as there are people, so all I can say is that you have to decide what you want, and then be honest and upfront about it. If you want to be friends with benefits, say so.
posted by tau_ceti at 3:46 PM on September 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


People aren't a monolith, and neither is sexuality. Some people are very comfortable with physical intimacy in a casual setting; other people really aren't. A lot of people misread their own boundaries around sex, in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of directions.

The best thing you can do with your own sex life is spend the time and do the work to figure out what your needs really are (and be willing to re-evaluate if new data maybe pushes you to make new decisions!) and be up-front and clear about those needs to a potential partner.
posted by KathrynT at 3:48 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Asking what kind of sexual relationships people like is like asking what kind of food people like. There are a thousand different answers and none of them are wrong. Just be honest with people.
posted by elizardbits at 3:50 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


What type of sexual relationships do women and men enjoy? I have a question, what is healthy sex and a healthy male female relationship.

There's not one answer to this.

You've got women who do the "He was my one-night-stand, against the wall in the alley outside the nightclub, and then bimonthly fuck buddy. Then I moved away. Then moved back, dated him, and we married."

And you've got actual arranged marriages that grow into happy real relationships.

I think it would actually be unhealthy for you to have a mental model for a perfect relationship. What you need is the ability to recognize that 'this is a good relationship'.


Honestly, everyone would wait like 6 months to 1 year because that is the only way you would know if you were going to stay with this person for a long time


*scoff, scoff* Well, if x and y aren't really sexually interested in each other, then I can see them having an emotionally intimate relationship that is satisfying without having physical congress.

But it's damn helpful to have a bit of sex on the second (or tenth) date to make sure that you and and your partner have matching needs and physical chemistry.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:56 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is always at the discretion of those involved in the relationship.

But, if you're asking how you can establish a relationship so that you'll never be hurt ever - not possible. There are simply too many variables.
posted by heyjude at 3:59 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry you got burned by this girl. Maybe next time take a little while to know her and see if she meets up with your values?

Do you think this could be a cultural thing? Because it seems like English is not your first language, just with your wording.

What I would do in your situation is examine my beliefs and associate with people who fell into my beliefs. Because it seems like more of a culture shock than anything else.

Yes, it's pretty common for girls to hook up with guys and not be asking for them to be their husbands, if that's what you're asking. And it's okay for you to explore, as long as that meets your value system and you are honest with the other person (that you are just dating but not looking at them as a potential lifetime partner).
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:59 PM on September 18, 2012


Communicate with people clearly and thoughtfully. Make no assumptions about others' motives or intentions. Define your owm values and boundaries regarding sex, relationships and intimacy, don't compromise these values and never promise more than you can give. Once you are clear about what you want, you may or may not meet someone who wants the same.

I used to enjoy fwb situations, now I do not. Therefore, I no longer have casual sex or sex without (minimal) committment, and do not pursue sexual partners who are not on the same page.
posted by peacrow at 4:00 PM on September 18, 2012


as others have said, there are almost as many variations of relationships, casual or serious, as there are people. the only things you can do are a) be really clear with yourself about what you want—but also be aware that what you want now may or may not change in the future; and b) be clear with whomever you choose to date what it is you are looking for as well.
posted by violetk at 4:00 PM on September 18, 2012


There seems to be a lot of musing, but not many questions here.

So, if I find someone I want to be friends with and have sexual relationship with but don't want it to be forever, should I just be seeing them?

Are you asking for permission? Some people want to be in a committed relationship before they have sex. Some people don't. The definition of "committed relationship" is not the same for everyone. For some people it's marriage. For others it is an agreement to see each other exclusively. Some committed relationships are entered into with the assumption that it will, if all goes well, lead to marriage, but that's certainly not a requirement.

I think you need to be honest with the other person and (and this is the hard part) honest with yourself, but that's about it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:04 PM on September 18, 2012


Honestly, everyone would wait like 6 months to 1 year because that is the only way you would know if you were going to stay with this person for a long time.

I completely disagree with this. I believe a relationship should start the way you intend for it to continue. (So I'm also an advocate against fancy dinners unless you actually plan to do them regularly throughout the relationship.)

As for whether being GF/BF means that you plan to get married... well, that just needs communication. Anything is negotiable, including whether you are monogamous, how often you'll see each other, and how long.

And even if you start out with a perfect understanding, feelings/circumstances may change and you may become incompatible. And yes, there may be heart ache. But that's part of what it means to be alive and reaching out for human interaction.
posted by ethidda at 4:07 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm also an advocate against fancy dinners unless you actually plan to do them regularly throughout the relationship.

what? are you saying that because a couple isn't going out to fancy dinners on the regular, they should never go out to fancy dinners? ferreals?

as noted above by others (including yourself), circumstances may change. there's no "oh we never did this in the beginning so we can't do this now." things change. people change. you just need to make sure you let your partner know along the way.
posted by violetk at 4:13 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe if they were upfront that they wanted a friend to meet their sexual needs, and that they had a feeling they weren't going to last forever or lie to themselves, there would be less messy break ups.

Most people wouldn't call this a girlfriend/boyfriend, they'd call it a friend with benefits. This still doesn't avoid the problem of things getting 'messy', though - not surprisingly, many people develop strong feelings for someone they're having sex with.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:15 PM on September 18, 2012


Thanks everyone. Very thoughtful and it really helped. I'm trying to figure out my own values and what are the values of most girls. I think as you said there are many variations but there is also a culture norm and what most people expect.
Marie, ur answer was particularly helpful. "Yes, it's pretty common for girls to hook up with guys and not be asking for them to be their husbands, if that's what you're asking. And it's okay for you to explore, as long as that meets your value system and you are honest with the other person (that you are just dating but not looking at them as a potential lifetime partner."
In my mind, I think most people know if it is serious or not. If it is serious, than they will be bf/gf and explore potential lifetiem partner. If not, they will just keep it to dating and having fun.
My main dilemma was do most women want the bf/gf title once they you become sexual even if the guy knows from the start that he won't settle? Do they think that is leading them on or do they like the extra commitment? I'm guessing that most girls would like to keep it to just dating if you aren't 100% or know it isn't serious. I think this because you wouldn't want to fall in love and save the heart ache. Or maybe have the gf title but say it isn't serious. To me that is silly and kind of like a slap in the face... or not?
Basically, I'm looking at what like the average person does because i believe there is a cultural mainstream.
For me, if I don't feel it can be serious, I will just date. But, if I really want to see if it can go somewhere than I will try out the bf/gf thing.
I honestly believe that most people want to be in a committed sexual relationship whether serious or not. One night stands aren't as fullfilling, safe, and fun as growing sexually with a partner even if temporary.
posted by mrfawcet at 4:17 PM on September 18, 2012


Honestly, everyone would wait like 6 months to 1 year because that is the only way you would know if you were going to stay with this person for a long time.

This whole post comes across to me as incredibly weird and off-putting, OP, but this part jumped out at me. Dude, sometimes people split after forty years, and sometimes people who get married after knowing each other a month have marriages that last a lifetime. The real world and all the people in it are far more complex and self-contradictory than you're making provision for here, and when you start trying to build human-proof systems for behavior that's usually a sign that you're living in your head more than in reality, which is also usually a great indicator of some severe human misery (sorry, if this is the case), and also someone who does not need to be within thirty emotional miles of a romantic relationship for a good long while.

There is no "most girls". Don't date anyone until you realize that on a bedrock, emotional level. People will always surprise you.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 4:18 PM on September 18, 2012 [22 favorites]


There is no "most girls". Don't date anyone until you realize that on a bedrock, emotional level.

This is so very, very, very true. Girls (women) are people, and are as different from one another as any other kind of people.
posted by KathrynT at 4:20 PM on September 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


In my mind, I think most people know if it is serious or not. If it is serious, than they will be bf/gf and explore potential lifetiem partner. If not, they will just keep it to dating and having fun.

My main dilemma was do most women want the bf/gf title once they you become sexual even if the guy knows from the start that he won't settle? Do they think that is leading them on or do they like the extra commitment? I'm guessing that most girls would like to keep it to just dating if you aren't 100% or know it isn't serious. I think this because you wouldn't want to fall in love and save the heart ache. Or maybe have the gf title but say it isn't serious. To me that is silly and kind of like a slap in the face... or not?


FOR ME PERSONALLY... all I want is to know up front what your intentions are. There are some guys I'd have that sort of casual hookup relationship with, and some guys I wouldn't. What I DO hate is for someone to refuse to clarify what they think the nature of our relationship is, or what they want it to be. I want to know if you think you might wanna date me; I want to know if you just want to hook up. Because sometimes I would rather date a guy, and sometimes I would rather hook up with him- so I need to check and see if we're on the same page.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:29 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


What is right for some people? As others have said, there are about as many answers as there are people. Be honest, take care of yourself, and try not to hurt anyone else.

What is healthiest for the average person? It's hard to say, and it depends on what you want. But it's the wrong question to ask unless you're an anthropologist.

What will make you happy? That's also hard to say. Personally, I'd recommend following your best judgment, and seeking out enough meaningful interactions for you to be enthusiastic about every relationship you have.
posted by sninctown at 4:43 PM on September 18, 2012


Basically, I'm looking at what like the average person does because i believe there is a cultural mainstream.

Um. I think the point of this thread is that you pay attention to what your partner wants and needs, (and communicates) rather than trying to reason this out from first principles or preconceptions about the ideal or average woman.

Start listening to your potential partners.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:14 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wait, what?

Relationships are a leap of faith. You get into a relationship, you like the person, then you REALLY like the person, maybe even love the person, then love the person...it blooms and progresses.

The thing is, you don't know when you first start dating someone how this will bloom or progress.

If you get to a point where a sexual relationship seems appropriate (NOTE: this could be any time, whenever YOU think it is appropriate) then that's that particular step. There's no set schedule, or scenario or expectation. Life isn't cookie-cutter and neither are emotions.

You can have sexual relationships that are one night only and feel passion...or not.

You can have lifetime relationships that are non-sexual and non-passionate

You can have everything in between and then even combinations of physical and emotive that you've never thought of before.

It's not linear.

Take a leap of faith - go with what you are feeling. When you trust your gut and your feelings, you're never wrong. You may revise those feelings later, but that's also part of life and the beauty of it all.

Enjoy the journey. There is no manual.
posted by floweredfish at 6:04 PM on September 18, 2012


I think as you said there are many variations but there is also a culture norm and what most people expect.

No, there is no "cultural norm". There's only a lot of people trying to make themselves like something because they think they're supposed to, because that's what everyone always said was "normal."

Do what YOU want. Find a woman who also wants the same thing. And the only way you can find that that's what she wants is to ASK her.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I'm trying to figure out my own values and what are the values of most girls."

PLEASE DON'T DO THAT.

First of all, unless you're 12, they're women, not girls. Second, each of them is a unique person with her own set of values. Yes, DO figure out what your own values are. That's important. But you cannot know the values of a woman you have not yet met. You can only assume. And we all know what happens when you assume: You make an Ass out of Ume. And Ume freaking hates when people do that. Trust me, I asked him.


"Basically, I'm looking at what like the average person does because i believe there is a cultural mainstream."

Don't do that either. Why assume you or your date is the average person - as if all "average" people think and act 100% the same?

The questions that matter are: What do YOU do? And, what does YOUR DATE want? The first, you figure out on your own because only YOU know what you believe to be right or wrong. The second, you figure out by getting to know your date, which often includes coming right out and asking.

Seriously: please lose terms like 'cultural mainstream' when thinking about how you would treat a fellow human being.

The answer to all of your questions is so shockingly simple that you probably won't even believe me when I share it with you, but I will do so anyway. Are you ready? Here goes: If you want to know what your date thinks, ASK HER. It doesn't matter what the average person thinks or what the cultural mainstream does (as if to suggest we all collectively decide such things as a group). What matters is what your date thinks.

Every woman is unique, just as every man is unique. The only way to know what someone else thinks or what sort of relationship someone enjoys is to ask that person. Every human being is unique.
posted by 2oh1 at 6:43 PM on September 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


Thanks showbiz, I found your comment most helpful. Thanks everyone else also.
2oh1, I appreciate the straightforwardness but also being nice about it. Way to call it like it is.
posted by mrfawcet at 7:01 PM on September 18, 2012


I see three generally-accepted sexual relationship categories.

One night stands: Self-explanatory.

Friends with benefits: This is where there's sexual interest, friendliness, and a certain amount of compatibility, but no illusions on either side that the relationship will be permanent. There can be romantic elements here.

Boyfriend/girlfriend: This is a serious romantic relationship. People don't generally enjoy these unless it's with someone that they could see themselves potentially marrying. Sometimes one or both partners will stay in these relationships after realizing that it can't or won't be permanent, but that's usually because they haven't found a bearable exit.

These are the categories, but people move between them all the time. Some women are only interested in one or two or none of these categories. Same as men.

Early on in a FWB relationship, it's helpful to define exactly what's going on, in case the other person sees long-term potential when you do not. This conversation has to be approached very delicately. Saying something like, "I really enjoy hanging out with you but I have to let you know I'm not looking for anything serious right now," is usually adequate but it is not uncommon for FWBs to develop feelings for each other that they didn't have in the beginning.
posted by gentian at 7:43 PM on September 18, 2012


You remind me a lot of my best friend. He's exceptionally smart, successful, and caring - but I sometimes wonder if he'll ever have a serious relationship because he overanalyzes everything. Personally, I also have a similar view of the bf/gf relationship - I'm 34 and I can't remember the names of everybody I've slept with (not that it's an extremely huge number, but I just don't waste too much brainpower on trivial stuff) but I've only had three girlfriends my entire life, because I don't believe in putting that level of commitment in unless I feel it has the potential to lead to something long-term.

First of all, everybody has different views about sex. For some people, sex is implicitly exclusive, unless stated otherwise. For others, it's implicitly non-exclusive, unless exclusivity is discussed. For others, it's never exclusive... and varying degrees in between. In fact, individual people can have double standards about sex. For example, I was once dating two women and asked one of them to be exclusive with me. She told me she liked me a lot but didn't want to be exclusive... and then went crazy with anger two minutes later when I told her that I would continue sleeping with other people in that case (because she hadn't been aware that I was sleeping with anybody else until that point).

As with sex, so too with emotional commitment. Some people will give you a complete emotional commitment almost right away, others will vest it in separate people and only gradually put their eggs in one basket when they gain more trust in you, and still others are incapable of maintaining a long-term emotional commitment because they get bored or have a short attention span or whatever.

In my experience, the best thing to do is plan a defensive strategy to minimize risk, by attempting to limit the amount of information you give away while maximizing the amount of information you get about the other person's motives. For example (in my experience, at least), sometime when you ask a girl too soon into the relationship if she wants to be exclusive, she thinks you are too needy and breaks up with you. On the other hand, if you just assume that you're not exclusive, then you can get broken up with by sleeping with somebody else when your current lover thought you were implicitly exclusive (but didn't specify). So now, instead of saying "I want to be exclusive" my current plan would be to put the decision on the other person. I'd say something like "I want to talk about exclusivity. You're a really special person and I'd be lucky to have you, but I don't want to pressure you into a commitment until you're ready for it. So I'm going to let you decide when you're ready to be exclusive, because I care about you and respect your opinion." Then I could date other people with integrity, knowing that she has no right to get angry at me (because hey, if she didn't want me to date other people, she should have said something when I asked her). At the same time, I'm not phrasing it as me wanting to date other people, so I minimize risk on that end as well. I call this methodology "tiptoeing around the landmines."

Another piece of advice I would have is to consider your views on sex carefully and formulate a coherent and logical code of sexual ethics that you stick to and apply equally to yourself and others. For example, I don't respect women who sleep with men based solely on physical attractiveness, so I personally made a choice not to sleep with anybody (no matter how attractive) unless there is at least one thing I really respect or admire about her. Applying a single standard uniformly shows integrity and will give you a lot more confidence while also helping you narrow down what you are looking for. This code of ethics doesn't have to conform to society's expectations but it must make sense to you and be something that you can explain and justify logically to somebody else (because one day you WILL have this discussion with a significant other - trust me on this).
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:48 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm going to echo what other people are saying here, which is that you're not going to find a Grand Unified Theory of How Relationships Work or How Women Work because human beings are too complex and individual. Just figure out what you want, what you feel comfortable with, how you feel about the person you're with and talk about it with her. No games, no working the angles, none of that bullshit. Just be honest and be yourself; don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable or that betrays your principles (or that violates what she wants and is comfortable with). And don't be surprised if how you feel and what you want changes. I was pretty adventurous in my youth and got involved with a FWB relationship in between boyfriends. These days (I'm 48), I don't feel very comfortable with casual sex any more. But I know what I want; when I met my partner in person for the first time--after meeting online, e-mailing, and phoning for a week--I had him in bed in about 5 minutes. The younger me would have been shocked at that, but the older me doesn't like to waste time. ;)
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:32 PM on September 18, 2012


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