by Zoe Pollock

Tracy Clark-Flory collects stories of "friends with benefits" gone wrong:

It isn't that every generation thinks it's invented sex so much as a better way of doing it -- like you can remove the messiness from human intimacy. No strings, no attachment, no complications! "Friends with benefits" situations seem a solution to negotiating companionship and pleasure amid any number of inconvenient, complicated scenarios -- from an all-consuming career to a personal crisis to a drinking problem to a fear of intimacy to good old-fashioned loneliness. But these friendly hookups aren't actually new: I'm living proof, seeing as in the late '70s my free-loving parents were just friends who slept together -- until things got complicated and they fell in love.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.