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Friends without benefits


It's the hot thing right now in romantic comedy movies: boy and girl decide to have no-strings-attached sex for kicks and convenience. Then they fall in love after realizing that they are meant for each other ... or something.

Hollywood has made this movie twice so far in the past year. The first version, No Strings Attached, starred Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. The second, Friends with Benefits, which is out now, stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

Hollywood keeps making this movie because this fantasy sells big with late teen and 20-something women, many of whom think, at least on a subconscious level, that they can sleep their way into a long-term, committed relationship with someone who won't commit right now.

These movies are obscene not because of the gratuitous sex, which you'll find in most movies these days, but because of the falling in love part at the end, which is the big lie.

So many women are having sex with men they wish would commit to them long-term or longer-term — men who tell them they just can't right now — because this is the degrading way women have been taught to have relationships or semi-relationships thanks to decades of feminist propaganda. Don't expect too much from him. If you don't sleep with him by date five, as Kunis' character did in Friends With Benefits, someone else will. Plus, he expects it.

On some deep, dark level, many women are doing this because they hope these guys will change their mind. I blame this on the state of female self-esteem, which, particularly among teenage girls, has taken a beating in our society in the last few decades. That's why this movie plot sells.

Contrary to popular belief, women don't sleep with men they don't ultimately want to have relationships with. (Sure, there are always exceptions to the rule, most of them alcohol-fueled.) Men fall into two categories for us: those we could see ourselves in a long-term relationship with and those we can't. If she is sleeping with him, she wants a relationship with him, or a more permanent one than she has now, no matter what she says — or tells herself.

This once provoked confusion among male callers to my radio show, who insisted I was wrong about this; that women they'd dated had told them they weren't looking for a commitment.

Yes, she told you that. But what would you have said if she told you the truth — that she'd like a long-term relationship, with potential for lifetime commitment? Right. So she fibbed. Either that or she wasn't interested in dating you at all, and was trying to let you down easy.

We are now a country of people who can't end most of our relationships when they should be ended — on date one or two. Men are hanging out for the sex, and the comfortable faux intimacy that comes with it. Women are hanging out, hoping to soften them up for a relationship. It's completely dysfunctional and ultimately a soul-crushing way to go about relating to the other sex.

I wouldn't give a rip about this if there weren't children involved, but these days pregnancy is what comes next when the sleeping-together-for-now part doesn't produce the long-term commitment. (They never seem to include this in the Hollywood version of the story.)

In Mecklenburg County last year, a little more than 40 percent of babies were born to single mothers, slightly higher than the national average. This is a disaster. After lack of a high school diploma, single motherhood is the biggest predictor of poverty for women and children.

Who are the women giving birth to out-of-wedlock babies? According to Princeton University's Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, their median age at childbirth is 22. Nearly three quarters of them are in romantic relationships with the father at the time of the child's birth. The fathers are described by the study to be "marriageable," with few having drug, alcohol or physical abuse problems.

In other words, these aren't teens having accidents. These are women old enough to know better who are getting pregnant on purpose, in the process settling for a baby with a guy who wouldn't settle for them with a long-term commitment.

That's not hip or glamorous. It's pathetic.

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