Photo: Kyla McDonald

Are friends better lovers?

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By Renata D’Alieso

The first time we did it was in The Bombshelter. A small white candle wedged in a beer bottle was the only light in the dingy storage unit. During the day it was a place where he and his band would practice. At night it was where we hung out, got drunk, stoned and had sex.

We lay on the bed, which looked like something you would find sitting on a person’s front lawn right next to the trash can.

He took off his glasses and placed them on the round coffee table.

We lay next to each other silently for a couple of seconds. I felt like I was 16 again — nervous, excited and unable to make the first move.

And then he kissed me. I laughed. I was about to have sex with my best friend. It was weird — it was comfortable — it was fun.

Sexual relationships between friends are nothing new, says Hazelle Palmer of Planned Parenthood, an organization that advocates safe sex. “Sex can be good between friends if they care about each other, have mutual respect, attraction and are safe and responsible.”

Ryerson student Shane Dingman, 20, agrees. He says casual sexual encounters can be positive if the two friends are intelligent, rational and totally in touch with their feelings.

That was the case the night Shand had oral sex with his friend. He had known her since grade nine. Shane became attracted to her the following year until he found out she was a lesbian.

One evening in grade 12 they drove to a cemetery after a night out. They sat underneath a tree. Shane lay his head on her stomach. They talked about philosophy, movies, relationships and friends. Then she started kissing him.

“I felt excited and confused,” says Shane. “I was totally comfortable but it was weird.”

Most of my sexual encounters have been with close male friends. I have never had a loving and committed boyfriend. Some were a result of too much beer and raging hormones. Others were talked about and planned. All have been comfortable and safe because we respected and trusted each other.

Annie Sibonney saw her friendship with John blossom into a loving relationship.

Annie says she was not attracted to John when they first became friends. It wasn’t until a couple of months later at prom, standing outside her apartment door, he tried to kiss her but she wouldn’t let him.

“I didn’t want to screw things up with our friendship. I didn’t want to hurt him,” Annie recalls.

She was not sure about her feelings until she heard stories about all the pretty girls he met on his first day at Ryerson.

“It was then that I realized I couldn’t bare the thought of him being with someone else,” says Annie.

Last Tuesday, John boarded a plane for an eight-month trip to Australia. Annie, a petite, curly-haired 19-year-old, says she can handle losing her boyfriend, but she does not know if she can cope with losing her best friend.

“We are boyfriend and girlfriend but we are best friends first. That is what has kept our relationship so strong from the beginning.”

Dr. Betty Stockley, a marriage, family and sex therapist in Toronto, believes relationships which evolve from friendships are proven to be more stable and secure than others.

While relationships that develop from friendships can be good, Dr. Stockley stresses friends must weigh the potential emotional consequences in advance or else feelings can be hurt and friendships destroyed forever.

The last time I had sex with my best friend was in August. I have spoken to him on the phone a couple of times but have only seen him once. I am not sure where our friendship stands now. It’s not that we don’t want to talk, we just have not had the time.

There has always been a sexual attraction underlying my relationships with my close male friends. My best friend and I talked about having sex for over a year. It built up to a point where the only option was to do it.

I don’t regret it. It brought us closer for a time and we will always have a special bond.

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