Male sexual entitlement and the myth of the “Friend-Zone” 

Let’s talk about male sexual entitlement. Recently it’s been a topic that’s come up A LOT in conversations with friends, and it’s something that almost all the women I know have been on the receiving end of. 

One of my closest friends, a completely awesome (and incidentally stunning) girl, split up with her husband a few years ago. As soon as the breakup was public, before she’d even filed for divorce, no shortage of male “friends” came out of the woodwork to “comfort” her. One by one each of these men professed their crushes on her, told her they’d always been in love with her, and thought they’d be just perfect together.  Because what they thought she needed after having her heart broken by the guy she’d been with her entire adult life was to jump into another relationship. None of them took it particularly well when she turned them down. She’s now lost quite a few friends just because she wouldn’t sleep with them. 

Let’s consider the idea of “the friend-zone”. I find the term demeaning and a misogynistic construct, implying that we as women are incapable of making decisions about our own sexuality because these men who have found themselves in this mythical “friend-zone” are deserving of our attention and our bodies. Just because they haven’t actively acted out their sexist impulses. Just for being nice to us. Oh, you bought me a drink and didn’t grab my boob? Allow me to fucking drop my pants and fuck you right here and now. You came over to my house to hang out and brought me ice cream? By all means, I’d love that unsolicited dick pic. Offering to share a taxi home from the pub doesn’t give anyone the right to try to kiss or grope me, then act all offended because you’re a self professed nice guy.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this from so many male “friends” I’ve lost count. The dude who used to come over every Thursday to watch cheesy sitcoms with me and offer to walk my dog? One day we fell asleep on the couch and I woke up to find him trying to put his dick in my hand. We’re not friends anymore. The guy who I used to share a cab home with after gigs because we were both friends with the band, who always talked about how much he respects women? Tried to kiss me and grab my boob, and got so angry he told me I should count myself lucky he was showing interest in me. Like I should just be grateful for his attention and jump into bed with him. Nope. My former best friend, who I used to sleep in the same bed as because sometimes you just do that? I woke up one morning after we’d been at a party and he had his fucking hand up my skirt. I don’t speak to him anymore.

I’ve had female friends tell me about guys who they’ve considered to be good friends, close friends, who have taken this friendship as an invitation to sex. Now I’m not talking about situations where both people are into it, I’m talking totally unsolicited and unwarranted attention. As if the friendship was only a means to an end, and that being “just friends” is the consolation prize. Even that term, just friends, is problematic. Why should being friends with a woman be considered inferior to being lovers? This implies that the ideal result of speaking to a woman, to getting to know her, and to being her friend is to eventually get her naked. It says rather a lot about how these men think about our value as people doesn’t it?

It might be a surprise to some, but there is no such thing as “the friend zone”. It’s a piece of misogynistic crap made up to appease the fragile masculinity and the even more fragile egos of the kind of assholes who feel like sexual gratification from any woman of their choosing is their due. 

Let me also be unequivocally clear here. I have had sex with some of my male friends. I’ve also had sex with a few of my female friends. Each time I have decided to sleep with that person because I wanted to, I chose to (because hooray for choice), and because I have found that person sexually and intellectually attractive.

I have never decided to become friends with someone just because I wanted to eventually fuck them. It’s not in my criteria for a friendship. Believe me, I will have sex with a person if I want to have sex with them, not because they have “convinced me” to. Sorry folks, my brain and my self respect aren’t that fragile.
Frankly I’m quite insulted that it is implied the female psyche is so weak that we don’t know our own minds when it comes to sex, and we just need a man to tell us who we should be attracted to.

So if a woman says she wants to be “just friends” it’s not an excuse. She doesn’t secretly want to strip naked and do the horizontal lambada. Being a friend is not an excuse to try to see how far she can be pushed or try to wear her down, it’s being a good person and respecting the boundaries of others. And above all, it’s about not being just a dick.

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