Advice

Dear Coquette: Just How Long Should a ‘Sex-Only’ Relationship Last?

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"Is there an advisable period that a 'just sex' relationship should last?"

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.

Coquette, How do you let friends know that, despite the sexual tension between you, you aren't going to sleep with them? I hate meeting men and hanging out with them and then having the awkward “just friends” talk.

Yeah, I don't do the “just friends” talk. It's a bullshit cliché wrapped up in a fundamental misinterpretation of platonic versus romantic relationships.

It's better to be brutally direct. If a guy in your life is making unwelcome sexual advances, hit him hard and fast with what he really needs to hear. Look him in the eye and say, “We are never going to have sex. Ever. It's not gonna happen, so back the hell off.”

Leave no room for confusion. Of course, part of leaving no room for confusion is not allowing sexual tension to build between you in the first place. If you're never gonna have sex with a guy, it's not fair to lead him on like that.

Could you spell out the difference between platonic and romantic relationships? Maybe this should be self-evident to me, but it's not. I feel like once you take away all the bullshit of romantic relationships, they basically become platonic.

The biggest misconception about romantic relationships is that if you drain out all the lust and limerence, you're then left with a platonic relationship.

Nope. That's not how it works. Platonic relationships are not merely sexless renditions of romantic ones. They are fundamentally different, built entirely on their own spiritual and intellectual foundations.

It's a shame that “platonic” is commonly used as a polite substitute for “non-sexual,” because that only further confuses the subject. Quite frankly, it's an insult to the idea of platonic love that people constantly assume it's the same thing as romantic love minus the sex. Plato himself would have turned up his nose at such a simplistic interpretation of the concept.

Is there an advisable period that a “just sex” relationship should last?

The implication you're making by calling it “just sex” is that the relationship is neither romantic nor platonic. Be careful with that, because to some degree, any relationship that lasts longer than it takes you to orgasm is more than "just sex."

Keep that in mind as you move forward, and make sure to only let the relationship last as long as everyone involved is on the same page emotionally.

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