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Your Friends Want to Sleep With You

Your Friends Want to Sleep With You

If the stock photo above had a caption, it would be this: Man holds coffee cup awkwardly and longs for blissfully unaware female friend wearing flip-flops and a business outfit.

It was in the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally that Harry famously said that men and women can’t be friends “because the sex part always gets in the way.” And it seems that scientists agree, according to recent research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Researchers asked 88 pairs of female and male friends to rate their attraction to each other on a secret questionnaire. And, sorry ladies, the results show that your husband was right when he said your friend Mike at work wants to do more than get coffee with you every. single. day.

According to the results, men were more likely to want to date/shtup their female friends than the other way around, even men who were already in a romantic relationship. And—womp, womp—they also assumed their female friends were more sexually interested in them than the women actually were. And, to put the icing on the one-sided sexual longing cake (yum!), the women tended to be kind of clueless about all of this.

But wait, sad men deleting names from their cell phone contacts list! It turns out your female friends tend to be attracted to you too. They’re just not going to do anything about it unless their own relationship is on the rocks—and that goes doubly when their male friend isn’t single, researchers found. So, you know, just keep doing what you’ve been doing and spend the next 10 years lusting after her and wishing and waiting for the total derailment of her happy relationship. (No, don’t do that).

Researchers point the finger at good old evolution for this whole mess—people’s hard-wired mating instincts make it hard for men and women to just be friends, even when the pair of friends thinks their own intentions are platonic. And movies and TV shows about friends-with-benefits arrangements certainly don’t do much to dissuade men from thinking their female friend maybe wants to bone eventually, one day, perhaps. So turn off the TV and go outside! Play in the park! Meet some new people! Make new friends. Oh, wait…

Related:
9 Myths About Soul Mate Relationships
I’m Boycotting the Hollywood “Meet-Cute” Story
5 Things to Stop Saying to Your Single Friends

Read more: Dating, Friendship, Love, Relationships, Sex

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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at dianavilibert.com, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.

55 comments

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1:11AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

Thank you :)

12:10PM PST on Nov 27, 2012

No, they really don't.

12:31AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

I guess that means "Friends with benefits" I could never go there!

5:18PM PST on Nov 11, 2012

Sadly the take of 88 friendships is really small, and there are no percentages mentioned. Still, it is something I have been thinking of regarding my own life and how I get (along with) friends.

I'm a bisexual woman, a little under 30 and sadly overweight and struggling with my self-esteem.
For me, the lines between friendship, sex and romantic relationship aren't so sharp, some of my acquaintances are part of only one sphere, some two of them (in any combination), and I'm longing to have someone belong in all three of them.

I've noticed that I usually make friends with people I would have sex with. Most of my friends are also male. Of my closest friends I've had sex with the majority, with those not so close with not that many. I think that is also one difference between if a friendship can survive sex or not, two people close enough can have sex without it messing everything up, but with friends not as close there easily becomes an either or the other.

With my absolutely best friend we had sex together regularly for about three years. At different points during the first half year we both considered if we should expand towards a romantic relationship, but neither of us feel that way about the other (in a way it's unfortunate, my parents would love him as an "in-law" :). So we've stayed friends, and have had sex more or less secretly because most other people wouldn't understand that we still were singles and not a couple.
Recently he found himself a girlfriend. W

10:08PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

stupid mating instincts! My boyfriend was right! >:/

1:51AM PDT on Sep 27, 2012

@James T. lol ...

12:46AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

So... is bad that all my friends are men?

12:45AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

So... is bad that all my friends are men?

10:30AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

lol

6:40AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Oh! By "sleep with" you meant have sex. Always thought that was an annoying expression. Sleeping with someone happens AFTER sex. Sleeping during sex would kinda take the fun out of it.
People are sexual animals by nature. My ex had friends I admit I was physically attracted to although that is the point for me personally where honor and loyalty play a role. (Unless she had been interested in having sex with them as well and they with us)

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