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Dating & Relationships

Friends with benefits. The best thing since bread and butter, right? You get the best of both worlds—intimacy and pleasure without having to be tied down or emotionally involved. After all, who wants all the baggage that come with relationships?

This line of reasoning might seem to make a lot of sense to some, but deep in our hearts, we know that we were made for something deeper… true love! Our hearts and bodies weren’t made for multiple sexual partners.

Friends with benefits is the opposite of love. Pleasure, without caring for the other person, or their soul, is selfishness, even if both are consenting. The irony is that “friends with benefits” is neither. They are not friends and the things they are doing are not beneficial in any way, but destructive.

So, what’s wrong with having friends with benefits?

First, friends with benefits, or hooking up in general, is extremely shallow and does not prepare a person to find lasting love, nor to be a good lover. In addition, how does it train them in faithfulness or discipline? These are two things that are indispensable for a successful marriage.

Second, there are some who think they can explore sexually now and then get serious and settle down in marriage. But, it doesn’t work that way. In reality, a prosperous marriage is a result of proper preparing and choices made. Good habits and virtues will yield a good marriage, while a life of selfishness without sacrifice or discipline is a recipe for divorce.

Third, friends with benefits, or any sexual activity before marriage, is the opposite of true love and of God’s perfect and beautiful design. Why should we settle for something shallow and animalistic when God calls us to something so much higher, so much more powerful?  Why settle for less the true love?

Fourth, being sexually active before marriage demonstrates a lack of understanding in regard to the one’s body and one’s dignity—not to mention all of the mental, emotional, and sexual baggage picked up along the way.

The body and mind release powerful chemicals during sexual arousal, such as oxytocin and dopamine. Oxytocin, for example, bonds two people together; it is designed to act as a superglue between a husband and wife in marriage. However, people who are sexually active before marriage unknowingly lose its bonding power before they even arrive at the altar.

Imagine putting a long piece of tape on your arm, rubbing it in, and then ripping it off. It will hurt a lot and rip your arm hairs out. Repeat. Repeat several times. Eventually, it will not hurt, and there will be no stickiness left to speak of. The same results with pre-marital sexual activity. As stated above, neither our bodies nor our emotions were designed for multiple sexual partners; the more we give ourselves away cheaply, the more problems will surface in our marriage, including, major intimacy issues.

God knows what He’s doing! He made our bodies and understands their deepest workings. Consequently, friends with benefits and hooking up will shoot your future marriage in the foot. People who are sexually active before marriage are not holding out for Mr. or Mrs. Right; rather, they seem to be saying that, “I’m not worth waiting for, and neither are you.” How sad!

Perhaps you have messed up in the past and would like to start over. You can. It’s never too late to begin again—never! (See my article here on “How to Start Over.”)

I have personally heard, and have also read about women who complain about not being able to find a guy who will commit to them, but yet, many times they don’t demand it. Hooking up and giving themselves away sexually is a foolproof way to make sure a man doesn’t commit. After all, he’s already received what he desires; so why should he then want to get to know her more deeply, her personality, her goals, dreams, desires, and those things that are important to a woman? (Of course, this certainly goes both ways).

Those reading this article may already live purely and never dream of hooking up or anything of the sort, but perhaps you know people who do. So, feel free to share the good news with them. For anyone sick and tired of all the divorce in this country, we must realize that great marriages don’t just happen. They are made!

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27 Comments

  1. Kendra-1019235 January 12, 2014

    This is a beautiful article! I feel so called out by it to seek whole heartedly and purely to follow the road God has laid out, to seek to be the disciple he has called me to be first and then to be united in his love to another. Thank you Bryan!

  2. Leanne-387609 January 13, 2014

    Thank you for speaking out truth.

  3. Simon-1037814 January 13, 2014

    This is an awesome article and very relevant in today’s American culture. Many people are walking wounded because of this mindset.

    • Colette R. January 20, 2014

      Yes they are Simon! I think a lot of women would do themselves a world of favor if they just learn to say “NO!” Men will respect this, mainly and if for nothing else because they will see that a woman is strong enough to hold out for the emotional connection and bonding. Men respect this – why? Because when a woman gives out sex before marriage she is basically saying that he cannot own his own game and that she has to bait and hook him on “cheap crack.” Sex without love is like a drug addiction. It is good in the moment and then you feel used and alone – you crash. It doesn’t even fell good after a while. So I man who is hooked like this has to come after his next “fix.” How cruel of a woman to treat him like this! In my generation, there were so man many men addicted to this “free sex drug.” And you would be amazed at the emotional acrobatics and justifications to maintain such a lifestyle – particularly now that they are getting older and can no longer get a “naive babe” to accommodate them. Truly and particularly sad – and especially for a woman who is single in her early 50s and trying to find a solid, critically-thinking man of character!

      • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

        So only men are addicted to the sex drug? Good to know. Guess I’m not a man. I must be Superman. Cool, now where did I put that cape!

  4. Robert-803886 January 13, 2014

    The Truth. Thank you!

  5. Amanda-818043 January 13, 2014

    I completely agree 100%!!

  6. DiepKhanh-1036040 January 13, 2014

    Thank you for the nice article. Hope everyone could read this.

  7. Ann-69118 January 13, 2014

    Well put.

  8. Christina-1024545 January 14, 2014

    Thank you for this!

  9. Gary-987797 January 14, 2014

    Largely a bunch a crap! May be appropriate for seekers in their 20s or even 30s, but hardly for more mature couples. A keyboard can be used to create words, both true and false. The pseudoscience babble of, “Oxytocin, for example, bonds two people together; it is designed to act as a superglue between a husband and wife in marriage” is fantasy designed to bolster your case with no actual evidence. There’s enough truth to be told without blindly regurgitating the hierarchy’s official line. The truth is that real human beings are involved, people with emotional fragility who are damaged by being used and tossed aside. Even in a long relationship the emotional status of the partners involved are seldom clear, sometimes even to the person herself. So tread cautiously into those waters, but if there is mutual agreement to go there make sure each person’s emotional well-being is honestly discussed and protected. The author is a fool to assume pre-marital sexual activity implies promiscuous sex, casual sex, uncommitted sex, or that it will lead to a disastrous marriage. Or that it precludes true love and desire for the other’s best interest. Stop giving your consent to the fairy tales of vowed celibate males and think for yourself!

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      Gary is very astute. I wish more people had his insight into valuing a person as a moral right without trying to justify it by the secular society’s version of what constitutes a legitimate belief. Sex in out society has been devalued to such an extent that it is mostly using another person for masturbation. Harsh words, but I long for a world where sex is nurturing mutual fulfillment, not a toy.

  10. Douglas-984666 January 14, 2014

    Why don’t guys want to commit? Let me answer that question. Most guys don’t want to commit because they know, instinctively, that “commitment” is a one-way deal. “I want you to commit” is often interpreted as “I want you to stick around until I dismiss you.” Saying “the relationship didn’t work out” if often code for “the woman wasn’t happy.”

    • Gary-382850 January 14, 2014

      I agree, it’s a two way street. I have been in committed relationships only to be dumped.

  11. Angelita-975845 January 14, 2014

    Thanks! It is enlightening. We should treat our bodies as Temples of the Holy Spirit. It is also great to know that it’s never too late to start over, not necessarily with another partner but to rise and live a pure life. In struggling to do this, we need strength from The Lord Jesus.

  12. Lorrie-735074 January 14, 2014

    I had a friends with benefits relationship for 3 1/2 years. I really loved what we had and ended it only because I came back into the church. We are still very dear friends and talk over the internet. We care very much for each other and I guess I could act ashamed but I am not ashamed–I just see it as a way to learn and grow. Learning from what I have done and not done helps me make better choices. We make decisions that seem good at that time.

    I understand the Church’s teaching on the issue and he understood my commitment to the Church. He’s not able to make a marriage commitment due to some deep scars but he actually helped me several times when I was in dire straits and has always been kind and caring. He respects my faith and I appreciate that.
    I think the danger is saying how HORRIBLE this is–is that people will say, “Well gee, when I was in that it wasn’t THAT bad”. Growing in our understanding of marriage and relationships takes time and we may not see that there’s something better down the road. It’s not something we can legislate or we will fail to have the heart-change needed to find quality in our relationships and in our faith. When I merely “obey the rules” I will usually give up on it. Jesus redeemed us because we cannot do it on our own. So, while I can start by “just doing it cause of the Church’s rules” there has to come a point where it becomes more than obedience for it’s own sake.

    I guess it took what it took to get me where I am. I feel that people can love each other very much but circumstances, faith commitments, and geography, etc, can prevent it from growing into a marriage.

    I will always love and care about him and I’m glad that we can stay friendly. We live far enough apart that we can keep it to email and online chat but he continues to encourage my faith and I am glad he understood what it means for me to be back in the church.

    I am glad I went through what I did. It helps me see what I want and don’t want in my life. I still struggle with sexuality but I know that God has the plan for my life worked out and I try to hang in there and hold on for the next chapter. I appreciate the article but don’t beat up on yourself, just ask God to lead you and he will.

    • Colette R. January 20, 2014

      Lorrie,
      Get a copy of “Love and Responsibility” by Karol Wojtyla, and read it. Besides the obvious, referenced by it’s title, it is a book about love in regards to all human relationships. He embraced the philosophy of “personalism” or “interpersonalism.” A quote which sums this up well: “As a spiritual being, the human creature is defined through interpersonal relations. The more authentically he or she lives these relations, the more his or her own personal identity matures. It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI “Caritas in Veritate” (Love in Truth)

  13. Ger-953429 January 14, 2014

    What a great article!

  14. Deborah-713536 January 15, 2014

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for a wonderful article.

  15. Catherine-485964 January 15, 2014

    WoW!! Thank goodness for free speech in this country. The comments above show both the far left and right of this topic! I actually find the term “friend with benefits” a cleverly coined phrase, but. in reality, not so clever to “pull off” when two individual’s emotions/moral values are involved. I also believe this type of relationship follows no “age discrimination” and that the success or failure is probably determined solely by the two people involved.

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      “Solely by the two people involved”? You might want to rethink that statement. I think there’s someone else involved too. Who do you think that might be? (Hint: he’s triune.)

  16. Michelle-958074 January 15, 2014

    My ex thought (and still thinks!) it’s awesome to cheat! He cheated on me with others (online and in person!) our entire marriage. He’d go into the chat rooms and chat it up with others, make profiles on Craig’s list /adult friend finder and say he was “single” , when, infact, he was very married with a wife and infant/toddler children! It was extremely difficult to accept but I knew getting upset was not going to change him or the situation so I dealt with the pain of his infidelities silently,as nobody cared! Alas, our 6.5 year marriage ended in divorce 3 years ago! He can have those internet women he cheated on me with …. I can almost guarantee, the women he’s online with are playing him for a fool and he’s one of many rather than being loved and cared for by a monogamous wife! I’m so much happier without him :-) I’m still single after the divorce and I know god has a plan for me to be with the right man who will live honor and cherish me!!! :-)

  17. Megan-21150 January 16, 2014

    Thanks for the wonderful article. I’ve been there.

    “Friends with benefits” is an oxymoron. True friends don’t use one another. Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn this the hard way. And it is very, very painful.

    Sex can never be “just” sex for me. There’s always a level of deep emotional attachment involved – BECAUSE it is meant for marriage, to be shared with one person, not many. It is not designed to be just used simply to make someone feel good.

  18. Erin-997783 January 18, 2014

    I agree with Megan.

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      I don’t. It’s not an oxymoron. It’s technically more of a misnomer.

  19. Vipul B. February 9, 2014

    u changed my mind n made it fresh……………
    thanku so much

  20. Craig S. March 3, 2014

    Men are simply weak to affection, just that moment of laying eyes on a woman’s body changes the whole game plan and if she buys it then we all enjoy

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