Advice

Dear Coquette: Erotic Friendship

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Welcome to Dear Coquette, a place to have your burning and how-do-I-make-this-stop-burning sex advice questions answered. You might recognize The Coquette and her bare-knuckle honesty from her columns on Playboy.com, The Daily, or her own popular site, Dear Coquette. Send your questions to coquette@nerve.com.

Is there a difference between fuck buddies, friends with benefits, and an “erotic friendship” (a term a guy with whom I’m beginning my first explorations into polyamory coined)? I feel like there is but I don’t want to be duped into some bullshit. Any advice from someone more seasoned would be appreciated, thanks!

Each of those three reductive relationship labels has it’s own unique flavor, even if their basic meaning is similar.

“Fuck buddies” is the most casual label, and can easily apply to anyone in your life who sticks around longer than a one-night stand, but who doesn’t otherwise qualify for anything particularly romantic.

“Friends with benefits” puts the emphasis on an actual friendship, which may or may not be worth anything if the benefits start getting complicated. Maintaining friends with benefits status can work, but only if everyone involved is emotionally honest, and only for as long as those emotions are purely platonic.

As for an “erotic friendship,” it sounds like your little polyamorous Magellan needs to back away from his dog-eared copy of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and go rinse the douche out of his game.

Trust your nose. If it smells like bullshit, it’s probably bullshit. This dude obviously wants to fuck you, and that’s cool if you’re into it, but don’t let him smooth talk his way into your pants by taking credit for a line he borrowed from Kundera.

When it comes to labels like “fuck buddies,” “friends with benefits,” and yes, even “erotic friendship,” the only thing that really matters is whether everyone involved understands and agrees that the relationship is fundamentally platonic rather than fundamentally romantic.

If everyone’s clear on the platonic nature of things, there’s much less likely to be a problem once you start adding naked time into the mix.

My boyfriend fantasizes about having a threesome with me and another girl. One night when he was rolling he was so obsessed with the idea that he wouldn’t shut up until I agreed to go forward with it in the next six months. I later told him I wasn’t down and I felt pressured into agreeing and he got sad and said he started questioning other facets of my identity and my overall interest in him. We’re both 21, we’ve been together for four years, and he’s never pulled anything like this before. Help?

You’ve been with this dude for four years and you’re only 21? Honestly, I’m surprised it took you guys this long to start circling the drain.

The only help I can give is to bluntly tell you that your relationship has almost run it’s course, and you should prepare yourself for it to end, most likely before the holiday season. Whatever you do, don’t start having threesomes that you don’t want to have. It’s not going to save your relationship either way.

Don’t freak out. You two had a good run, but eventually you both need to move on and experience other things. He can go have threesomes. You can finally date an adult. Everyone will learn something new.