Relationships That Work In Theory

Jul 22 2011 @ 2:00pm

Provoked by the new Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis flick, Dr. Drew rails against "friends with benefits":

I was giving a lecture at the University of Maryland eight or 10 years ago, and I was describing “friends with benefits,” and I said, “You know, on paper it looks great.” And some kid yelled out, “Yeah, so does communism!” Which is very much the point: that just because something looks good on paper and sounds good intellectually doesn’t mean it’s good for the human experience. Humans don’t operate like that. Inevitably, an attachment occurs, a bond occurs, and feelings develop. Even though people swear off it, somebody develops some kind of feelings. The only scenario where I see it work is when very young screwballs are just kind of messing around, or in two sex addicts acting out together. That can go on for a while. If people are really in trouble emotionally and they’re just mutually exploitative for sex addiction, that kind of works. But, just like every other addiction, it eventually goes down in flames. So it only works for a while.

Amanda Marcotte sighs:

[T]he fallacy Dr. Drew is employing here is called the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.  His argument is that "friends with benefits" is unhealthy and therefore can't work.  If you point out examples of when it does work, he simply dismisses them by saying that anyone who makes it work must be mentally ill, i.e., no true healthy person could do it.  You need no external proof of their unhealthiness, of course.  Simply enjoying a sexual relationship outside of the context of a movement toward commitment is proof in itself that you're a "sex addict" or otherwise broken. It's a neat bit of circular logic.