I told Malcolm about my previous relationships, my fantasies, my heartbreak.
Once, he told me this long, complicated story about an affair he had with his cousin, adding, “That’s not something I tell most people.” Probably wise on his part, but I loved that story, as problematic as it may be, because I loved knowing something about him that no one else did.
And he actually knows me better than a lot of my partners ever did.
We are taught that all relationships that don’t end up in marriage are failures (because, ya know, hetero-normativity and patriarchal narratives or whatever).
But subscribing to that belief ignores the fact that romantic friendships can be extremely fulfilling, enlightening, and straight-up fun.
Like, who do you want to bring to the sex party—your boyfriend or your fuck buddy? I’ve done so many things with fuck buddies that I never would have tried with partners, because I was too much of a jealous monster.
(Like once I let Malcolm tie me to a dresser while I watched him have sex with my best friend.
It started when she was 13, with a boy whose family spent every summer in the same beach town as she did.
(Cute alert.)Over martinis at Cafe Mogador, Casey told me, “When I’m dating someone, my immediate impulse is to be like, ‘Let’s lock shit down!“Having a friend with benefits is great because it’s just—it’s just less ,” he said, smoking a cigar and dressed in an inexplicable beige silk onesie. It’s not encumbered by obligations, which just lead to resentment.”He then gave me —the one that means he’s about to admit to something despicable and blame it on humanity.“We are all selfish—we all live in this Ayn Rand–ish self-centered world, whether we like it or not,” he said. You can have your sex-power persona, or you can play the super-misogynist pig, or the bimbo, and it’s okay, because you’re not being judged.But sometimes, romantic friendships can offer a type of intimacy that committed relationships can’t.I was curious to know if Malcolm felt the same way I did about all of this, so last week (for strictly journalistic purposes), I paid him a visit.When I met him, he was 45 and charmingly grumpy, and he would always tell me: “Sex is so perfect. ” I’d go over to his apartment for a couple hours in the afternoons, we’d have sex (soberly, which meant I could actually cum), and then afterward we’d drink tea and complain about stuff. There were times when we saw each other frequently, and other times when things dropped off for a while, usually because one of us had a partner. It felt like we had entered this secretive bubble of transparency—we were emotionally intimate, yet free of the burden of jealousy and ownership.