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Sex and the SafeRide

Dating, With Benefits

By Alex Nelson

features columnist

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It gives those of us in a relationship a reason to celebrate and those of us who are currently unattached a reason to feel even more detached.

Are relationships really a reason to celebrate? With so many cynical singles out there, are there any truly happy couples? Certainly they exist, but possibly they’re so wrapped up in their relationship to tell us about it. Or maybe these fortunate couples want to spare us their happiness by keeping it to themselves.

Either way, there are many reasons for couples to be happier than singles. Even the strangest relationships afford many mutual benefits to the lovers involved.

Mutual Attraction

Relationships are generally based on some form of attraction; whether it is physical or emotional, it must exist. Knowing someone is attracted to you can greatly increase your self-confidence and self-esteem. Maintaining that interest is a key motivator when establishing or building a relationship. This attraction can motivate a person to put extra effort into being the best he or she can be.

After a period of time, attraction may no longer play the same role as it did initially. As a couple becomes more comfortable with itself, the need to impress and be impressed tends to dwindle. However, this chemistry or attraction still serves to keep a couple from entering the “friend zone” and holds the relationship together.

Mutual Interest

Relationships can not persist on chemistry alone. Couples also benefit from the many similarities they often share. Whether they enjoy going out for sushi, arguing about politics, or dancing at the clubs, couples know how to have fun together. Having another person who is there, waiting, and wanting to spend time with you is like a permanent safety.

On a Friday night, you don’t have to make plans in advance -- you just know. When you need a companion for a concert or night on the town, you always know who to ask. In a relationship, you want to share your experiences with your significant other.

Sharing interests is included in the sharing of experiences. Everyone is different and, naturally, everyone has something to share. Being involved and interested in someone means learning their likes and dislikes as well as possibly experiencing them for yourself. Dating is a good way to try new things and see new perspectives.

Dating can also be a lot of fun -- it isn’t all about seriousness and commitment. People date at all commitment levels. Whether a person dates casually or is involved in a long-term relationship, dating is a good way to relieve stress and be social. Going out to dinner and the movies can be a nice break from all that time spent on psets!

Mutual Support

Having a person who cares about you changes the way you live your life. The support another person has to offer someone he or she loves is incomparable to any other kind of support. In a relationship, your significant other is there for you in good times and in bad. On a good day, he is there to make you laugh and watch you smile. On a bad day, he can wipe away your tears and give you a hug that will make the world around you disappear.

In a relationship, you always have someone to crab at when the day is over. When that inconsiderate professor doesn’t understand that you have three exams in one week and a problem set and lab report on top of that, you always have someone to talk to -- someone that really does care. Everyone needs a little sympathy and pity sometimes, and it’s hard to know exactly where to find it especially at MIT where life is difficult for all.

Mutual Satisfaction

Couples are intimate at different times for different reasons. Kissing, touching, and everything else brings you as close to your partner as you possibly can be.

Sex adds vulnerability to the relationship. Opening yourself up to a person completely and nakedly leads to a higher level of emotional connection. Letting another person take control of your body and how it feels can leave you feeling powerless but O-mazing. Afterwards, lying there peacefully, a certain lethargy takes over as time stops and the world around you remains unimportant as you lie in his arms.

In a true loving relationship, sex is about pleasing the other person and showing them all the love you want to give them. The giving part of sex allows sex to be an intimate experience of generosity and appreciation.

In a relationship, you get so much only because you must give that much to the other person. If you are a generous and loving person, being in a relationship will come naturally to you and provide you with a constant source of love and support in return.