Blurring The Lines Between Sex and Friendship : Invisibilia A lot of us think that it's a bad idea to get physical with friends. We worry it'll get messy, maybe even ruin the friendship. But if physical intimacy between friends weren't so taboo, what could our friendships look like? In this episode, we explore the gray zone of sex and friendship, following a man who deliberately kept his friendships with women hazy and now wants to apologize, and a pair of BFFs who became close through sex.

Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


There's a social script for how romantic relationships are supposed to develop, and that script can make it hard for us to become physically intimate with friends and keep being friends—nothing more, nothing less. In this episode, we try to understand what would be possible if we didn't draw such stark lines between sex and friendship, and how to repair things when the line-crossing gets messy.

Additional resources:

Experts in this episode:

  • Quill Kukla is professor of philosophy and a senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University
  • Cassie Herbert is an assistant professor of philosophy at Illinois State University

To learn more about ideas in this story:

Special thanks to the following musicians: