Should I ask my "friend" if she wants to have casual sex with me?
July 26, 2008 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Should I ask my "friend" if she wants to have casual sex with me?

Here's a bit of a gen-X versus gen-Y dillema for y'all.

I'm a 36 y/o single guy. About 2 years ago, I met this 24 y/o girl in a pub we both frequent. I found her very physically attractive, and she's very charming, but, at first, I never even considered the possibility that she would have any interest in an older guy like me. But after a month or so of casually chatting and drinking with her, one night, after quite a lot of beer, we ended up sleeping together.

At the time, I didn't take it too seriously, and the most I was hoping for was that we could have some kind of "friends with benefits" arrangement. We were both single, and (seemingly) attracted to each other. I thought that she thought the same way. But then she started to say things that made me think she wanted more. She started telling me how much she liked me and talking about dating, but there was always some excuse why it had to wait. I switched off the "friends with benefits" thoughts and started to think of her as a ... a potential girlfriend.

After several months of being told "yes, but not yet", I guess I started to appear too desperate and turned her off. I ended up getting the "sorry, but I can't give you what you want" talk.

We remained friends, and have become very close friends. Getting to know her better, my feelings have become much stronger. She knows this. I have been very clear with her. And I know she has some kind of feeling for me. But she has said she just wants to be young and have fun and not get into anything serious. I can understand that. Another factor is that she has some medical complications which make her feel like she has to have as much fun as she can, while she can.

She is quite promiscuous, and often tells me about the guys (or girls) she has been seeing. This hurts me a lot to hear, but I know that we are "just friends" so I nod and smile and tell her to have fun, but look after herself.

It's a difficult situation.

So, a few nights ago, she was telling me about a guy we both know that she had a brief fling with, but she ended it when he started to get too serious. She was saying things to me like "I just want sex", "I love sex" and "Why can't I find a guy who doesn't take it seriously?". These comments floored me at the time. I didn't know how to respond. She wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know. But it's very confusing to hear someone you are attracted to say things like that to you, when they have been telling you "no" for 2 years.

I am in two minds about the whole thing. My logical mind knows that there is no way we could be more than friends, mainly due to the fact that we are in different stages in our lives. But the emotional part of me, my heart, still yearns for her.

But after her comments the other night, I am wondering whether I should try get back to what I originally was wanting from her - friends with benefits. Hey, I like sex too, and could certainly do with some more. And hearing her say those things has kinda solidified the thought that she is not "partner material" for me..... But, I still like her.

I have been thinking about it a lot. She seems to have some rule about "no sex with people who care about me", which I can understand, in her current mind-set. She doesn't want to risk the friendship. But I do think, that after all we've been through, and the fact that we both understand what each other want, that maybe it could actually be a good thing for us. It might even bring us closer together as friends. At the very least, it would relieve a lot of tension. There is a LOT of tension there on my behalf, since we just had that one night together, and I was hoping for so much more.

So, what do you think, hive mind? Putting aside the fact that I would quite likely be shot down in flames, do you think I should suggest that we have casual sex? Or at least let her know that I am open to it and that I fully understand that she doesn't want any emotional overhead? Or is she right in not wanting to go there because it might endanger our friendship?

(And yes, before you ask, I would most definitely wear protection.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Move on. Find a real girlfriend who can accept love and give it back to you. Don't get yourself stuck deeper in this abyss. She doesn't have warm loving feelings for you. Maintain your dignity and move along. How are you going to find a real relationship when your head is all screwed up over this girl? Plus it sounds to me like there's every chance she'll turn you down and then you're really going to feel bad. Stop chasing what you can't have. Just go. Go.
posted by Kangaroo at 7:24 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

If it hurts you a lot to hear that she's having sex with others, having sex with her yourself isn't going to help.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:27 PM on July 26, 2008 [6 favorites]

Walk away. You're wasting your time. She's now telling you about her promiscuity to rub your earlier inaction in your face. You live, you learn. Find a woman closer your own age, mentally even if not physically.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:28 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your post sounds conflicted to me. On the one hand, you want a close relationship with this girl ("my feelings have become much stronger...but the emotional part of me, my heart, still yearns for her.") and on the other, you say you just want casual sex. Which is it? It seems to me that you can't have casual sex with her, that it would be more emotional for you, and that's what she is trying to avoid--an emotional attachment.

That said, the best thing here is to find another fish in the sea. She's got you on the Friend Ladder. It's almost always a no-win situation, so just avoid her for a while at the very least.
posted by zardoz at 7:30 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

You aren't capable of having casual sex with this girl. You're in love with her and have been for years - and sleeping with her is only going to make things worse. Let her go.
posted by moxiedoll at 7:31 PM on July 26, 2008 [5 favorites]

If you want to have sex with her, just tell her you're attracted to her, you want to have more sex like the sex you've already had, and that you don't have any designs on her as a partner at all.

Then try like mad to convince yourself that all that is really true while she regales you with tales of all the other people she's sleeping with because you're such good friends and you don't care. At all.

This woman enjoys that she turns you on. She likes the attention, she likes knowing she can control you this way, and she gets off on it. Her reasons for using you this way are no doubt complicated, but you're setting yourself up to get hurt. If you honestly think you can have a purely sexual relationship with her, really, truly, honestly think you can handle that, go forth and hump like rabbits with this woman. But if you have any doubts whatsoever about whether you can handle that, don't. And you asked this question so I'm guessing you don't think you can handle it.

And, no, the sex is not going to bring you closer as friends. That sort of rationalization is not necessary because she doesn't really mean it when she says that sex would "ruin your friendship". That's her way of putting you off and keeping you on a string at the same time. It's pretty manipulative, you deserve better, and you ought to try to find a woman of your own experience level who appreciates you as a lover as a well as a friend. Best of luck.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 7:44 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

The "friends with benefits" deal is for people who really are only friends who treat each other well and can go on with their otherwise separate lives. She doesn't meet the first qualifier and you don't meet the second.

Start dating other people and minimize the time you spend with this woman so you can get over her.
posted by orange swan at 7:55 PM on July 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

You're totally hoping that once she begins sleeping with you she'll change her mind about just wanting casual sex and will fall for you the way you've fallen for her.

Ain't gonna happen.
posted by MsMolly at 8:03 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

What moxiedoll said.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 PM on July 26, 2008

If there's already tension because you want so much more than just one night of sex, how is another night of sex going to relieve that?

Also, it sounds like you already know what her answer would be, with her rule of "no sex with people who care about her". Bottom line is, it doesn't sound like it's possible to get what you want from this girl. As moxiedoll said, let her go.
posted by overglow at 8:13 PM on July 26, 2008

You actually don't want to be her friend, and you want to be her boyfriend. You need to be honest with yourself about that, because continuing this friendship will probably be at your emotional expense.

I'm not sure casual sex is will change that fundamental situation, and will probably only make the emotional stakes higher. If it weren't for the torch you're carrying, I'd be telling you go for it, but this seems like a pretty perilous situation.
posted by Weebot at 8:17 PM on July 26, 2008

It does seem like you still have too much invested for this to go well now. I see two equally good options and two bad options.

Good option #1: Get yourself less invested. Find more things to dislike about her. Start dating other people. Then either sleep with her or not, I mean, you don't care, right? This has two major possible pitfalls -- that you'll keep hoping, or that as you start to really feel this way, she'll suddenly decide she truly likes you.

Good option #2: Ask her now, explain all your feelings honestly, and either soar through the heavens or go down in flames. I can understand your desire to take this option -- it is probably the fastest way for you to put yourself out of your current misery, one way or the other. (You could also just walk away, as others suggest.)

Bad option #1: Do nothing, keep hoping and feeling frustrated. (Be careful not to slip into this option while trying to do Good Option #1.)

Bad option #2: Ask her while lying about your feelings and risk entering into an intensified version of the angst, insecurity, and jealousy you currently feel.
posted by salvia at 8:35 PM on July 26, 2008

She is quite promiscuous, and often tells me about the guys (or girls) she has been seeing. This hurts me a lot to hear, but I know that we are "just friends" so I nod and smile and tell her to have fun, but look after herself.

This will likely end badly for you and possibly her.

You want a relationship. She wants to fuck. You are, I suspect, hoping that if you fuck, the fucking will either (a) make the unrequieted desire for a relationship go away (very unlikely, I would suggest), or (b) cause her to forsake her other playmates and get into a relationship with you (even more unlikely).

I suggest the actual likely outcome is (c) you get hurt more, with an optional dash of (d) you acting like an idiot when it turns out that options (a) and (b) aren't working.
posted by rodgerd at 8:47 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

Go for it if you want, but with the awareness that you will probably be unable to enter an actual relationship with someone else during the whole time this is going on. Still, sex is sex, and sometimes that's ridiculously better than nothing.
posted by callmejay at 9:00 PM on July 26, 2008

I know you're not with her, but DTMFA. There's better people out there who would want to both hump like rabbits and actually have a relationship with you. She's only going to make you feel bad.
Move on.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:45 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

I usually think relationship questions are 50/50, but not this one. She says you fall outside the group of eligible dudes. You know you do, too. And you add: "But I do think, that after all we've been through, and the fact that we both understand what each other want, that maybe it could actually be a good thing for us. It might even bring us closer together as friends. At the very least, it would relieve a lot of tension. There is a LOT of tension there on my behalf, since we just had that one night together, and I was hoping for so much more."

To me, that kind of said it all. The stuff about making you closer as friends is, frankly, BS. (I have lots of friends with whom I've never slept, and in all but a couple of cases it would be a monumental setback in the relationship . . . I think.) You're *still* hoping for a lot more.

Now, it might be the case that you both have miscalculated and, after sleeping together, you drop your recent misgivings about her, and she realizes you're the one. That would be awesome. But I think you have to assess that prospect realistically and, if that's what you really want, think about how you'll cope if it doesn't happen.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 10:23 PM on July 26, 2008

Agree with most of what's been said but wanted to add one more thing for you to think about as you make your decision: It sounds like, even though she's clearly saying she's just interested in casual sex, her actions towards you seem like she may want more. It's a hunch and I don't think she's lying to you, just confused. My hunch is based on what I was saying and doing when I was younger; I wanted more from a friend but wasn't ready to quit messing around with others, so I kept my friend at a distance, slept with him occasionally, but also told him what I was doing with others.

That said, I'm not mentioning this to encourage you to wait for her to maybe figure it out; in fact, I think you should give yourself distance and definitely not sleep with her -- because it's truly the better and kinder thing for both of you.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:41 PM on July 26, 2008

I can't tell you what to do, but I can offer an example of what not to do.

Many years ago, I fell head-over-heels in love with someone I had originally only intended to have casual sex with. He fell equally in love with me for awhile, but then we hit some major snags after a year or two. He began to withdraw from me, although not competely; it turned into one of those maddening off-and-on scenarios.

He began telling me he wanted a "romantic friendship" (i.e., occasional sex and companionship) with me, but nothing more. This confused me, since by this time we had moved in together and were a well-established couple. He insisted that he still loved me and didn't want me to move out, however; he just wanted to tone things down between us because he "just wasn't into relationships."

Somehow, through endless rationalizing and who knows what else, I managed to convince myself that I could "downgrade" my affection for him and learn how to be content with the lower level of closeness he wanted.

Despite near-Herculean effort to do just that, I did not succeed. Not even close. In fact, every time we had sex, my feelings for him only deepened.

Many years of separate bedrooms and passive-aggressive avoidance techniques later, I finally wised up when he began having an affair and suddenly decided he wanted a relationship like never before. Just not with me.

Don't be like me.
posted by velvet winter at 11:40 PM on July 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

It is really important that you not limit your social options to this girl. Meanwhile, if you think you can be FWB with her and not yearn for more (it doesn't sound like you can, but things change--you could get there later), leave it in her court. Don't even ask if you think you'll come off wrong or sound like pressure. "Hey, I'm not going to ask or push, but you know if you ever just need a hookup, you have my number." The friends I have who are inclined toward short-term relationships and one-night hookups make booty calls like this--they have a shortish list of people to call when they want some.
posted by Cricket at 1:00 AM on July 27, 2008

Ask nothing, do nothing, stop hanging out with her now.

She does not want to have casual sex with YOU. She likes having you around because it makes her feel better about herself, knowing she could have you anytime. She is toying with you, even if it's not only incidental.

You're not a friend, you're a crutch.

After you start blowing her off, she will probably want to have casual sex again, just until she's got you in the position you're in now.

Don't waste a year or two on this cycle. Look for someone else.
posted by poppo at 4:08 AM on July 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

There is no situation wherein this will end well for either of you. Especially you.

What this girl is doing, sexually, is her own choice and if she's enjoying being promiscuous and not having emotional attachments, that's her call. But you are already not enjoying what she does (it hurts you to hear about her having sex with other people). Why enmesh yourself in it even further? She'll still sleep with other people and if she's also sleeping with you, you'll feel infinitely worse to hear about it than you do now.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:09 AM on July 27, 2008

First, ladder theory is for douchebags. Sorry to whoever posted it, but that's the truth. Look at this misogynistic bullshit:

"Bitch -- 99.999% of women. Note for men: I know they are. Note to women: yes, you are in this group. More accurately it is a woman who is not honest about whyshe won't sleep with you. Or sometimes, just a woman who won't sleep with you. And of course women who won't admit the basic truth of Ladder Theory."

99.999% of women are bitches if you're a sexist, insensitive douchebag. Don't buy into this crap.


- She's young and flighty. No offense to her, 'cause that's the time to be flighty and wild. But clearly, this isn't you.
- You're upset that she sleeps with other people.
- She doesn't want to be steady with you. (Do people still say steady?)

Move on, man. It isn't worth the heartache.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:45 AM on July 27, 2008 [6 favorites]

I slept with mine again, and next month we're getting married.

No, of course thats not true. I'm gonna repeat what i've said in previous threads.

No matter whether you think its true or not, when someone tells you about their suitability for dating or neuroses with relationships, LISTEN TO THEM. Even if you think you can change it, its true to them.
posted by softlord at 9:54 AM on July 27, 2008

You're trying to talk yourself into settling for casual sex with a girl that you'd rather date more seriously. You're hoping that more sex with you will convince her to be your girlfriend, even though she has made it very clear that this is not likely.

Aside from the fact that the genders are reversed from the stereotype, this is one of the oldest stories in the book.

She's not taking you up on your offer of sex because that's not really what you're offering -- your hurt feelings when she reminds you that she's not interested in monogamy make that pretty clear. If you're confused...well, your head and your libido are both yanking your chain...but it sounds like she's been pretty clear.
posted by desuetude at 11:27 AM on July 27, 2008

Presuming she is interested in a casual sexual relationship with you, it's obvious that what you want is a romantic relationship, and you're fooling yourself if you think you can just turn that off and enjoy no-strings sex.

The sensible part of you knows that having sex with a person you are romantically interested in does not make your romantic feelings diminish. That's absurd, it does exactly the opposite. She's not going to change the way she's behaving with outside partners and it's just going to hurt you that much more if you're in a physically intimate relationship.
posted by nanojath at 12:26 PM on July 27, 2008

Sounds like an emotional leech if I've ever heard of one. Succubi aren't fun.
posted by ZaneJ. at 2:32 PM on July 27, 2008

She's not a bad person -- she's just not that into you. Be honest with yourself, and with her: It's clear that you want more than a fuck-buddy relationship with her; it's clear that she wants nothing serious with you. You can't convince somebody to be attracted to you. (Hell, you can't even convince YOURSELF to be attracted to somebody -- believe me, I've tried!)

Sorry, man, but this one's gone. Date other people.
posted by LordSludge at 9:46 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

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