Last week’s episode of Vanderpump Rules featured the inevitable hookup between Scheana Shay and her “best friend” Adam Spott. While the two had been openly discussing their desire to remain single, Scheana had been emitting some seductive vibes whenever they hung out together.
Now, sometimes the attraction with a platonic friend is obvious (Scheana and Adam) ... and other times it can be something that happens in the heat of the moment in the backseat of a car (Lala and Ariana). Either way, it's good to know how to cope should the occasion arise. Personal Space spoke to Los Angeles-based couples and sex therapist Tony Davis, LMFT, to learn how to navigate moving forward after unexpected (or intended) intimacy with a friend.
Getting on the same page
If you are tempted to hook up with a friend you are attracted to, Davis suggests talking about it beforehand to gauge if you are both interested in the same thing and how that could affect the friendship. If it's never been discussed or it was in the heat of the moment, having that conversation after the fact can be "more difficult" to navigate.
Davis explained that, while discussing it beforehand is ideal, talking after sex is a must either way, so that nothing is "assumed" by either person, which could "lead to expectations and hurt feelings." According to Davis, even keeping it casual "needs to be discussed and agreed to,” so you know you are both on the same page.
Davis explains that “friendship, by nature, is intimate, and can lead to attraction on many levels, not just sexual.” Therefore, it is possible to develop deeper feelings, especially if it crosses into sexual territory. Davis explained that “sex often sets into motion very powerful chemical processes in the brain, in different ways for men and women, that can lead to attachment even if you don't want to become attached.”
If this happens, Davis recommended sharing with the person “how YOU feel about the issue, rather than criticizing" them for it. If you are turned off by their behavior, explain to them why that behavior triggers you. On the flip side, if you are the one who is becoming too attached, speaking with them honestly about it can help reestablish boundaries.
According to Davis, there are "a billion paths that are possible” after you have sex with a friend. The friendship can turn into a relationship, it can be something you laugh about, it can end the friendship, or it can continue to be sexual.
Davis explained that if “the sex is mutually satisfying and safe enough to continue engaging in,” best friends can morph into friends with benefits. However, he noted that “just because you have sex, even great sex, does not mean that you should start dating that person!” One reason is because, “there are many more factors that go into making that decision,” and that sometimes "sex is greatest with the most inappropriate of partners.” Therefore it's good to consider all aspects of compatibility before jumping into a relationship after!
Can you revert back to being platonic?
Davis says yes! “It is possible to control our behavior. Just because we are attracted to someone does not mean that we have to act on it every time.” He also explained that it is possible to restore the friendship to a platonic state "if you both agree to that." Either way, sex and friendships can be complicated and messy, but “it’s not bad news if you know how to respond to it when it shows up.”
Photo Credit: Scheana Marie/Instagram
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