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Friends With Benefits: For or Against?

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One in three single women admits to having "friends with benefits" sex, according to a recent poll of 2,168 women in the UK, and half of those women say they do so because they don't want a serious relationship.

All right, so the poll was conducted by a fashion group -- MyCelebrityFashion.co.uk -- but whether you take its results seriously or not, the idea behind it is an important one: women don't always want commitment.

According to the Daily Mail, only eight percent of the women surveyed said they slept with a friend with the hope that it would develop into something more -- that's half as many women who responded that they did it to "have fun."

For many, these results aren't shocking. Real women don't always want commitment. But you would never know that from the "friends with benefits" movies that always seem to portray the woman secretly hoping that the casual sex she said she wanted will lead to a real relationship. (In true Hollywood fashion, it usually does.)

While two recent films -- "Friends with benefits" with Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake and "No Strings Attached" with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher -- complicate the tired idea that it's always the woman who wants more (it's Portman's character Emma who proposes the idea of casual sex to Kutcher's Adam and Adam who falls in love, and Timberlake's Dylan that falls hard for his female friend) their respective endings (Spoiler Alert!) perpetuate the myth that a happily-ever-after ending was what the woman wanted all along.

What these movies represent is a discomfort with the variety of sexual desires women have, and that those desires don't always involve long-term commitment or monogamy. "Friends with benefits" arrangements aren't easy or necessarily functional for all of us, but there's nothing surprising or really that unusual about them. The fact that you are friends in the first place probably means you have some commonly-held beliefs and values. You might at some point find yourself attracted to that friend. As long as you both understand the terms of the sexual relationship -- that you both really don't want a romantic relationship -- no one gets hurt (in theory, at least), and you both get, well, laid. It's not the stuff of romantic comedy, but what would happen if someone made a movie where a perfect friends with benefits relationship didn't end in the longed for happily-ever-after? Harder to do, but a film I'm much more interested in watching.

How do you feel about "friend with benefits?" Share your thoughts (and success stories or warnings) here.