You will not meet many people who haven’t heard of the Friends series. It is highly popular and widely adored by many. Those familiar with the show can easily recall the Season 4 finale – “The One with Ross’s Wedding”. Ross is marrying his whirlwind love Emily. Rachel flies to London to tell Ross she loves him. Ross accidentally says Rachel’s name in the wedding vows (Cringe!), and Phoebe is at home expecting triplets.
But it is also memorable because it is the episode where Monica and Chandler’s friendship takes a turn. Up to this point, Monica and Chandler had been long time friends. Before the ceremony, Monica is depressed, feeling like she is never going to meet anyone and get married. Chandler is with her, being a great friend and encourager. The next thing viewers know, the two are in bed together.
It is not until Season 7 that we learn the truth about what happened in London. In a flashback episode, viewers learn that depressed Monica went to Joey and Chandler’s hotel room to seek out meaningless sex with Joey, but she finds Chandler there instead. He continues to comfort her, and he tells her she was the most beautiful woman in the room, and she latched on. They make out, Chandler is shocked, Monica says she thought it would just be fun, and these two friends end up having sex.
So the real story…Monica gets noticed. Chandler was there as a listener and comforter. Monica was craving that. Feeling low and being vulnerable, she jumped into bed with one of her best friends because he noticed her.
We see it a lot.
Truthfully, it feels good to be noticed by someone. I vividly remember the butterfly flutters and racing heart when my high school crush took notice of me. I really liked him, but he was not showing any interest in a relationship with me. But one day, he looked at me and said a few nice words, and that is all it took for him to become the center of my thoughts. We never dated, he never knew I liked him, he was just being friendly, but I was on cloud nine just because he was noticing me and giving me attention.
Even though being noticed makes us feel good and important, we can also find ourselves in unexpected territory, especially when we are in a vulnerable place. Vulnerability could look like feeling blue, experiencing a deep hurt, being angry and wanting revenge, craving attention, desiring affection, longing for closeness, or wanting to matter to someone. When we are personally struggling (for a variety of reasons), we can make impulsive, irrational, illogical decisions. If this is our emotional and mental state, we may make decisions we later regret. We can end up in unwanted and unexpected situations.
We hear the stories.
Because YCR cares deeply about the lives of women and men, it is essential that we share a few possible realities, the unwanted and unexpected places, we can find ourselves in if we impulsively make sexual decisions when we get noticed by someone.
Reality #1: We may forfeit actually getting to know someone.
When we jump into a relationship on sexual terms, we can miss out on actually getting to know someone. Sure, we may get to know their bodies, but don’t we all want something more than that? We want intimacy, connection, and to be known on a deep level by someone else. When sex is the foundation and priority of the relationship, we can easily stay in shallow water and miss out on the depth we long for. We can be sleeping with someone we don’t really know.
Reality #2: We crawl into bed with people we do not love or have any intentions of joining our lives with.
When we are vulnerable and highly emotionally, we don’t always think clearly. Because of this, we can make unwise decisions. Many of us think meaningless sex is the answer, but it is certainly not the healthy or wise answer for numerous reasons. Sex cannot be meaningless because it affects us in more ways than just physical. Relationships can get messy and confusing. For example, we slept with a friend, and our friend’s feelings for us change. He or she gets attached to us, but we don’t want to settle down with them. It gets tricky. Think about if pregnancy occurs. We have just drastically increased levels of stress, frustration, and confusion because we must navigate a difficult and challenging new reality with someone we may not even like.
Think about this…something that was supposed to make us “feel” lighter and better (the meaningless sex) has left us feeling more turmoil and having more challenges to figure out. If we are thinking logically and rationally, sex is an expression of love, so why would we ever want to have sex with someone we don’t love? We know it isn’t best for us, so why do that? Why would we want to have sex with someone we don’t even know, a stranger? It is so important that we step outside our emotions to see how impulsive sexual decisions complicate our lives, and in some cases, put our lives in danger.
Reality #3: We may become targets for predators.
Sometimes in our places of vulnerability, people take advantage of us, lure us, or woo us. They have agendas. They want to meet a need of their own. They are selfish. They don’t care about us. They are predators, and we are the prey.
This reality is becoming more and more prevalent among us, especially with the endless forms of digital communication. Consider this situation: We are not okay, someone takes notice of us and gives us attention (maybe on Tinder, Bumble, etc.), and we are easily persuaded to do irrational and impulsive things. Someone sees one of our pictures, we end up meeting up with our “wooers,” not even knowing who they are. We may find out they are not at all who we thought. They created a fake profile. They are abusive, controlling, demeaning, or threatening. He or she wants sex, and maybe not just them. There could be other people waiting for us when we get there, and they have the same agenda. The possibilities are truly endless…and terrifying. Unfortunately, some people prey on us in our weakest moments, so we should be aware when we are vulnerable in order to think rationally to protect ourselves from harm.
We see it a lot. We hear the stories. We want it to change.
We all have deep needs, and when they aren’t met, we can act impulsively with the first person who notices us. We (YCR) do not want to generate fear. Instead, we want to bring awareness. We want young women and men to be informed. We want people to acknowledge how they are feeling and address those feelings in healthy ways. We are always here to help with that. We care about people. We care about their life stories. We want to change the realities that some people are living in. We strive to help people make wise choices instead of impulsive ones.
Written by Operations Manager, Mary Needham.