Friends are increasinlgy having sex without being emotionally involved. Is this beneficial? GARDY CHACHA finds out
The world is changing and with it human behaviour, norms and ethics to conform to modernity. Until the beginning of the new millennium, though largely polygamous, most of our African values remained intact especially on social issues such as dating and marriage.
Due to life’s pressures and changing dynamics in human sociology, a sharp shift from our mundane ways of relating to each other is entrenching in our fabric of living.
‘ Friends with benefits’ is one such arrangement that is entrenching into our society.
According to Catherine Mbau, a counselling psychologist in Nairobi, people are getting acquainted to this kind of relationship due to factors like uncertainty with love, since predicting the outcome of a relationship is hard.
“It brings a feeling that someone is in control of the situation since it’s less complicated and simple. At the same time, it’s another way of meeting one’s sexual needs without having to commit,” Catherine explains.
She notes that instant gratification where sex is available without having to go through the relationship process is gaining ground due to busy lifestyles. Also, she says, co-dependency, where one feels the need to help out a friend; for instance, helping one get over an ex or a widower mourning his grieved wife is a contributing factor.
As humans, we are all predisposed to lapse into casual friendship, letting the springs that maisntain our mental poise grow weak and thereby crumble amidst strong emotional connections.
Friends with benefits, like in the movie version, is a relationship where friends take an extra leap into their friendship and begin to derive sexual satisfaction and bodily pleasures from each other, while they maintain the basis of their relationship, which is just friendship.
Mary-Anne Mulwa has been in a relationship for about three years. She met her boyfriend through her childhood friend with whom they shared classes at the university. Their friendship took a different turn one day when she visited him at his dormitory for a casual rendezvous, which was supposed to serve as discussion time too. In the midst of laughter and fun sharing, some sexual tension built and they agreed to have a momentary thrill, albeit knowing that they were both dating other people. That hatched a string of meetings — either at his place or hers, where sexual thirst was quenched secretly and a supposed ‘friendship’ maintained.
For two years now, Mary-Anne and her friend have been ‘seeing’ each other, hoping that their friendship withstands the test of time while they pluck fruits of pleasure from it. Her boyfriend and girlfriend are still hovering in the dark, kept away from the truth in the obscurity of friendship. Every time the four of them are together, they all converge into a rapport that fuzzes everything.