Justin Timberlake’s new movie, “Friends With Benefits”, will promote the trend of casual no-strings sex between friends — and it will be kids, parents and culture that pay the price, critics warn.
The film’s official website campaigns for social networking site, Facebook, to allow its users to change their relationship status to ‘Friends With Benefits’.
An American youth organisation has warned that there is already a growing culture of teenagers having casual sex with their friends.
Ron Luce, the founder and president of Teen Mania Ministries, said: “This movie is just another picture of what the media industry does”.
He added that they do not care “about any morals or values that they are projecting and who is watching. It’s about whatever pushes the envelope in movies like this one. The people who pay the price are kids and parents, and our culture overall”.
Mr Luce also warned that the current trend among teens is to “have lots of friends and have lots of sex with them”. Those willing to have such sex are referred to as “cuddle buddies” and “booty call”.
He added: “It’s not uncommon that even if you do have a boyfriend or girlfriend you have five or six friends that you have sex with and if they don’t know about each other then it’s okay”.
Mr Luce also urged parents to focus on building family relationships, saying: “What they are closest to relationally is going to influence them the most.
“In the middle of this cultural sewage, parents have to be very intent and proactive about parenting so they can help them see through the stories, the ‘friends with benefits’ lie and to make a pledge for purity until the day they are married.”
The movie was originally planned to be family friendly, but Mr Timberlake and co-star Mila Kunis said the story should focus on sex, as the title suggests.
Earlier this month former Friends star David Schwimmer said that girls should be told that they “don’t need to use their bodies to be popular”.
In a rebuke to child sexualisation, Mr Schwimmer warned that both in the UK and USA “we have this real emphasis on how important it is to look young and sexual, so that’s the message we’re sending our girls”.
Sceptics will say that programmes like Friends have contributed to problems surrounding sexualisation.