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Dating in Today's World - is it History?

August 10, 2010
65 Comments

Friends with benefits. Some people say this has been around for a long time. But, just like everything else…this is becoming more popular with teens. The Urban Dictionary defines friends with benefits as, two friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally involved. Typically two good friends who have casual sex without a monogamous relationship or any kind of commitment.

When I first heard how this type of ‘relationship’ if you want to call it that, was gaining popularity with teens, of course I had to dig deeper…and all I can say is…oh my god, now this?

I came across an article in the New York Times (read this here), that left me in amazement. This article made me realize even more how much relationships have changed since we were kids. Dating as we know it is a thing of the past. It is now all about ‘hooking up’.

Lots of parents encourage their kids to not get romantically involved at a young age…hang out with your friends…have fun…you are young. I think this is great advice but now I am starting to wonder.

These kids are doing just that, but of course are taking it to the extreme. The New York Times article reads, “Having close friends of the opposite sex makes romantic relationships less essential. Besides, if you feel like something more, there is no need to feign interest in a dinner and a movie. You can just hook up or call one of your friends with benefits.”

When we were in school wasn’t a girl called, oh something like a slut or a tramp for being this way?

Are we as parents and a world for that matter condemning this? Should we be encouraging monogamy and relationships instead of always ‘safe sex’. I wonder if the world has become so caught up in ‘safe sex’ that we are not doing enough to explain further about emotional relationships and morals?

Dalia is a freelance writer and mother of three balancing life and raising kids in this new world.

65 Comments

If this is how teenagers are learning to view relationships, how can we expect them as adults to know how to develop monogamous, emotionally healthy relationships? Numerous studies show the ideal structure for raising children is a commited, monogamous relationship. "Friends with benefits" may seem like a great idea to a young person - casual sex sith no emotional commitment - but it's a recipe for heartache in later life.

You know, as a young person who is currently in one of these "friends with benefits" type of relationships at the moment, I have to say: if you teach your kids responsibility, then the whole friends with benefits thing isn't a big deal. I'm 21 and have had several "serious" relationships, and honestly, I think this fling is more appropriate for where I am in life right now. Yes, I understand that it's not the end-all be-all of relationships...

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I'm the mom of a 17 yr old boy and 14 yr old girl. We live in Cape Town, South Africa. My son (as far as I know) has no "friends with benefits" nor has he ever had a "steady girlfriend". He "asked a girl out" once (a few months ago) but she said "no" and he hasn't tried since! My 14 year old had a "boyfriend" for 3 months. Again, to the best of my knowledge, they only kissed and held hands...

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After being married for 10 years,and it ending in divorce. I did this kind of relationship because I didn't want to be in a serious relationship again and it worked for me, but I am also in my 30's! I don't see this kind of relationship as something a teenager should be doing at all!

I have three daughter and we have talked about this issue a lot. They are all looking for committed monogamous relationships (and finding them). They say that friends with benefits statistics are very exagerated.
On the other hand were the one night stands with more or less strangers that we experienced as young adults better than friends with priviledges? Definitely not safer and even less emotionally involved...

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I think from a young person's mind, it isn't a big deal. B/c they don't have to follow the ideology of their parents, and that is how evolution works. As the young woman said above. Raise your kids to be compassionate, responsible, mature and they will make their own decisions, even if we don't like it. I just can't imagine telling my 24 yr old how to live her life and what to believe...

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Friends with benefits has nothing to do with safe sex. These kids do not realize that many diseases are passed despite condoms (and lots don't use condoms), and the more partners you have, and the more your partners are having, the more diseases you WILL catch. So we need to teach our kids graphically. That said, kids don't care about safety, they care about being accepted...

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I see no problem with FWB relationships between people old enough for sex in the first place, as long as safe sex is practiced - I've had a few myself when I was between serious relationships and just wanted more satisfaction than I could give myself with a toy and fresh batteries.
FWB relationships don't replace serious relationships, they're most often an interim amusement between monogamous relationships.

Relationships is a wonderful thing when you can have some one to talk ,spend time with,or just hand out with.But when you start to cross the line into sexual relationship its gone to far with teen whho do not understand all the consequences that come with it. Raising teen in my home they needed to know that the dieases or other sexual transmitted dieases was out there and that if you a christian the bible says that it is wrong to do. Whoremonger and adulterers we will judge.

My oldest is only 5, so I'm sure by the time she hits teenage years, there will be a new host of issues I will be dealing with.

My husband and I are raising our kids with values and morals. I intend they will be responsible enough to steer clear of bad choices when it comes to having sex.

This sure "cheapens" things!

This one struck me as pretty judgemental. I am 33 and not a slut or a tramp but I do have a noncommitted relationship with my little girl's father. It works well for us. We respect each other and have been getting along as Friends with Benefits for nearly 10 years. I am not going to teach my daughter that sleeping around is a good thing but I am not going to teach her that traditional man, woman, married relationships are all that is out there and all that count.

"...and all I can say is...oh my god, now this?" Oh my God, indeed. What must God think about all this? Is anyone teaching their children morality instead of moral relativism (if it feels good and doesn't hurt anyone, go ahead and do it)? There's a reason you're not supposed to have sex outside of marriage...because there are often unpleasant consequences--emotional, psychological, social, etc...

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Friends with benefits can be appropriate at certain points in life. most teens and young adults will not wait until marriage to have sex. that is just a fact that parents need to deal with. I have had several serious relationships as well as several friends with benefits. i feel that monagamy is a personal decision and shouldn't be forced on people. Also each person gets to form their own moral standards...

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I am a mother of 2 teens and a 4 year old. I know this "friends with benefits" goes on, I think it sucks. Kids today do not get to know their "friends" or "significant others". It is all about hooking up, and yes, if you did that when we were young, you were a "slut". The "safe sex" thing is important, but I do believe the monogamy and relationship part is much more important...

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If you think you are shocked, imagine my dismay while raising my grandson and realizing the totally different set of morals that I had taught my children, or my grandchild. Don't get me wrong, he's got the respect thing down but his generation is looking at relationships totally different. Girls are bolder and expect the guys to take some advantage of them, even encourage it...

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