Is sex with a friend EVER a good idea? Tracey Cox shares how to get intimate without feeling like brother and sister – and reveals why hooking up with a pal could be the key to lasting love AND a hot sex life 


  • Two-thirds of couples start out as friends, wait 22 months before romance
  • Tracy Cox reveals how to make a relationship work and make sure sex goes steamy
  • Said performance concerns are high but still a mystery
  • Both willing to make it work will help to stave off any sexual harm

New research shows that nearly two-thirds of couples who start out as friends wait 22 months before turning the friendship into a romance.

Canadian researchers studied 1,900 people and found that 68 percent started their current or most recent relationship as a friendship. This was true across all ages, educations, genders and ethnic groups.

The study confirms what relationship experts have long known: Friendship is a great foundation for a relationship.

You would have a hard time finding a therapist who has long been against meeting friends romantically.

True, you can lose a friend if it all goes wrong (love is more risky than friendship). But you are far more likely to find true love this way.

Lust disappears by itself: friendship lasts. But what about sex? Aren’t you a little too close?

Can a relationship with someone close ever work? Tracy Cox reveals the benefits of meeting someone with whom you have a strong bond – and explains how to make sure that familiarity doesn’t get in the way of your sex life (stock image)

Almost every couple has experienced the inevitable decline in sex that coincides with them becoming closer and better friends.

Love can thrive on acceptance, stability and contentment but lust thrives on the unknown, the forbidden and the new.

If you end up with an ex friend, are you destined for a lifetime to have so much nostalgic sex that it almost feels like you’re sleeping with a brother?

The answer—happily for two-thirds of people who have already fallen for a friend—is not.

Or, perhaps more realistically, not necessarily.

You’re up for some sexual problems that don’t just affect couples you’ve just met – but there are plenty of pluses to balance them out.

Let’s start with the good news…

Tracy Cox says friendship is a great foundation of a relationship because you're both more invested in making it work

Tracy Cox says friendship is a great foundation of a relationship because you’re both more invested in making it work

you know each other well

Biggest Plus Sexually: You probably already know what each other likes in bed and what doesn’t. Almost all friends tell each other secrets about what happened to past lovers: funny stories, wrong things, sessions that were especially heated.

You are already one step ahead of a stranger: it is very easy to please someone you know very well.

Another big advantage: Friends communicate well. Being able to tell your new partner what works for you and what doesn’t is a great predictor of sexual satisfaction.

Friends are also good at recognizing and managing each other’s stress levels. Many people attribute a lack of interest in sex to being ‘too stressed’ as an excuse, so it could mean that the two of you will have sex more often.

Not so good news…

sex can be awkward

You’re used to not touching each other sexually or romantically: It may feel awkward to be allowed to do so at first.

‘If you’ve been in love for ages, it’s amazing to finally be able to kiss them and touch them,’ said one 24-year-old woman. ‘But my boyfriend had just jumped from friend to boyfriend and I think it was really difficult. He kept saying, ‘Are you sure you’re okay with that?’ when we were having sex. He seemed somewhat bewildered that this was happening. It killed the moment, but I totally knew why he felt the need to ask.’

When you have sex with a stranger for the first time, there’s less to lose emotionally, so you’re more willing to let go of raw lust.

Having sex with someone you care about deeply is less selfish sex. Some former friends get so caught up in each other’s worries that they forget to worry about themselves, and sex may become less enjoyable as a result.

There’s a lot of pressure on you both

If you’re starting a romantic and sexual relationship with a dear friend you just discovered you’re in love with, there’s a lot to lose.

What if you don’t click sexually? What if one enjoys it and the other doesn’t? What if there is no sexual chemistry? What if sex is bullshit and you put everything on the line?

So no wonder….

There is more performance concern

‘You know each other well, so you can read to each other,’ a 27-year-old personal trainer told me. ‘It can make the first few times stressful. The first time he saw me naked and saw my penis I was looking at his face. I know how she looks when she is depressed. I couldn’t get an erection at first and was very embarrassed.’

With so much riding on sex going well, it would be so weird not to have some performance concern when you first have sex.

Usually, it disappears quickly.

The coach admitted, ‘Not being able to work harder with someone else would be a big deal for me. ‘But she knew exactly the point and said she was nervous too, and the problem was solved before it really became one.’

And wait, there’s more…

Turns out there’s still a ‘mystery’

When we meet a stranger and are attracted to them, our body releases an intoxicating mix of pheromones and love and sex hormones. This is what fuels those first few weeks or months of lust, making ‘early sex’ feel great.

But what if you’re not a stranger? Does your body still react the same way?

Sure it can.

Even if you know this person, it’s still sex for the first time for you and their body. Your brain and body still find the prospect very exciting, which ‘hot hormones’ start flowing.

Many couples say that once they move from friends to lovers it feels like a whole new relationship, so the excitement still remains.

There was that same bitter-sweet, what-not-what-not-anxiety feeling because I wasn’t sure if my feelings were intertwined,’ said a 21-year-old girl.

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