I’ve never been one for casual sex, but I’ve often wondered—in down times, if you know what I mean—if I’d be up for a purely physical relationship to get me through a rough patch. So far, I’ve shied away from no-strings-attached relationships because I know myself. Even if I were somehow able to convince myself that it ain’t no thang, deep down, I’d know that the only reason I’d even be able to get it on with a man is because I have feelings for him. Needless to say, I’m not the poster child for keeping things strictly physical, but for some, it works out just fine.
Or so they say.
Even though I know there are women (somewhere?) perfectly capable of sexing for the love of sex (and not catching feelings), I have yet to meet one.
In all of my years I have never met a woman who has been able to successfully separate sex from emotions, and have it remain that way. Even fictional fembots like Samantha Jones and Nola Darling eventually caved and fell in love with the men they f*cked, so I’m skeptical it’s even possible.
And for good reason, too. Mother Nature is apparently working against us.
Although men are seemingly capable of separating sex and emotions, for women, it’s not always as easy. During sex, women release a burst of oxytocin when they orgasm, which leads them to feel a sense of closeness to their partners. Oxytocin, aka “the cuddle hormone,” is often released during childbirth and is said to be one of the hormones that bonds a mother and child, so it’s no wonder women have a tougher time keeping no-strings-attached relationships strictly just sex.
As if biology wasn’t enough to keep us from getting our friends with benefits swerve on, cultural norms also prevent some women from sexing without commitment. While promiscuous men are typically championed as manly players simply “sowing their oats,” women are characteristically raised to be more discerning about their sexual partners and encouraged to only have sex within the confines of a marriage or committed relationship. Although societal norms around women and sex are loosening, a double standard still exists, and women are expected to conflate sex and love.
Which brings me back to Jetter’s short film, “Close.” According to his synopsis, the film follows characters Angela and Derek as they deal with the aftermath of spending the night together.
“One night after a casual ‘visit’, Angela is all but ready to leave Derek’s apartment. Derek, however, is determined no to let her go without a fight.”
What I found interesting about the piece—which recently debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival—is that the man, not the woman, seems to grapple most with post-sex emotions. Although the way he expresses his emotions struck me as overly aggressive and even a bit hard to watch at some points, I thought the film could serve as a jumping off point toward an interesting conversation about sex, love, and emotions.
So Clutchettes and Gents, can men and women really have sex with no strings, or emotions, attached? Sound off!
[shout out to Shadow & Act]