The Sexual Proclivities of Friends
Most television sitcoms are obsessed with sex. Typically, there is at least one character that continually brags about his or her sexual conquests. Some well-known lotharios include Barney from How I Met Your Mother — although Ted is getting up there since after six seasons he has still not actually talked about who the mother is — and GOB from Arrested Development, even though many of the women he has “sealed the deal” with have been out of spite for his brother Michael. This doesn’t stop with men though, as female characters have also been use for comedic sexual exploitation like Elaine’s “sponge-worthy” theory on Seinfeld and Samantha from Sex in the City — a woman who makes her partners leave within an hour of her climaxing.
But one show has truly broken the barrier of sexual conquests by an ensemble: Friends. Along with Sex in the City, Friends was cited in a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Pediatrics for “glamorizing sex while hardly mentioning its downsides, such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.” But, how much sex have the “friends” actually had?
After thoroughly researching all 236 episodes the answer is 85 sexual partners. Between the six characters of Friends — Ross, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Monica and Phoebe — have had sex with 85 different people (some of them were the same making the “friends” even closer by making them “wiener cousins,” a term used heavily in the show Scrubs.)
How was this number arrived at? By reading every single outline, and looking at the guest star cast list, for every episode aired in the ten seasons on NBC. Now, the 85 partners are actually people who appeared in the show. The number could be way higher — especially when Joey starts talking about his past — but this number is for the partners who appeared on the show. The producers had to physically cast a guest star in these 85 roles. The writers typically wrote dialogue for these characters as well. Some of them were one-night-stands, and some of them were serious relationships with guest stars who appeared in several episodes or in seasonal story arcs. But, which one of the Friends had the most sex? The answer may be surprising.
OK, it’s Joey, but he actually only had one more sexual partner during the ten seasons of the show than two other characters. The following is a summary of the sexual history for each Friends character.
Played by Mathew Perry
Sexual Partners: 9
Serious relationships percentage: 33.3%
It’s no surprise that Chandler had the fewest sexual partners as he was never much of a ladies man and he started his serious relationship with Monica in Season 4. He had three serious relationships over the course of the series including Monica, who he eventually married; the nasally voiced Janice — who he continually got back together with; and Kathy, who was once Joey’s girlfriend. In fact, Ross actually had a one-night-stand with Janice in Season 5, making all three of the male Friends “wiener-cousins.” Most of Chandler’s sexual history is marred with mistakes and embarrassment, so there is no need to go on explaining more about Mr. Bing and his little bing.
Played by Courtney Cox
Sexual Partners: 13
Serious relationships percentage: 38.5%
The obsessive-compulsive Monica never shied away from jumping into the sac with both random guys and people she worked with, up until the fourth season when she jumped into the sac with Chandler at Ross’s second wedding. During the ten seasons, Monica slept with a high school student, a guy she was obsessed with in high school and caught up with him later in life after she got skinny, and an alcoholic named “Fun Bobby.” Monica had some of the most serious relationships of all the “friends” including the much-older Richard, played by Tom Selleck; and the billionaire software developer Pete, played by Jon Favreau — who seemed to be a much fatter version of the Tony Stark character Favreau later went on to direct in Iron Man. She eventually marries Chandler and became even more boring than before.
Played by Jennifer Aniston
Sexual Partners: 14
Serious relationships percentage: 71.4%
Rachel wins the award for most serious monogamous relationships, which explains why she could never forgive Ross for the “we were on a break” tryst. Rachel is first introduced to the other friends when she leaves her fiancée Barry at the altar during the pilot episode. Thinking she will never be able to get on with her life, she quickly meets the incredibly sexy Italian Paolo. Throughout the whole series Rachel is continually meeting men she wants to impress. Her flirtations typically fail, but she somehow winds up in a serious relationship with them — probably because Aniston is super hot, and her character Rachel seems to mimic her real life sometimes. Rachel is also the only one of the Friends who admitted to having a homosexual experience — with sorority sister Winona Ryder in college, although Ryder’s character says it didn’t happen. Of course, Chandler once sat down naked on top of Monica’s father’s naked lap in a steam room, but that probably doesn’t count.
Played by David Schwimmer
Sexual Partners: 16
Serious relationships percentage: 50%
Ross’s fumbling in the bedroom, along with his ability to continuously get divorced, was used as an ongoing joke throughout the entire series. First, Ross finds out his wife is a lesbian. He then gets married to the British Emily, only to say Rachel’s name at the altar. He finally gets married to Rachel in Las Vegas while drunk, and refuses to get it annulled. In between these memorable moments, he dates a young college student of his, he hooks up with the bald-headed Bonnie, as well as the hot but filthy — actually dirty, not just slutty — Rebecca Romijn Stamos. Ross is also the only character that dates more than one girl from another race — two! — by having relationships with Julie, who is Asian; and Charlie, who is African-American. Charlie also dated Joey making the only African-American character in the history of Friends simultaneously a smart professor and a cheating slut.
Played by Lisa Kudrow
Sexual Partners: 16
Serious relationships percentage: 37.5%
Phoebe had many one-episode boyfriends throughout the series run, and definitely had the most sexual relationships with characters played by famous actors. During the ten season run, Phoebe hooked up with characters played by Hank Azaria, Charlie Sheen, Michael Rapaport, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, and Paul Rudd. Phoebe is also the only character to not be “wiener/vagina-cousins” with any of the other Friends. Phoebe has a relationship with someone almost every season, except for Season 4 when she is pregnant with her brother’s three kids, and winds up marrying Rudd’s character Mike in one the of the last episodes. Phoebe, like Joey, most likely had many sexual partners before the series started — especially when she was homeless as sex is used as currency on the streets according to TV shows that appear on FX and HBO.
Played by Matt LeBlanc
Sexual Partners: 17
Serious relationships percentage: 23.5%
Yep, over the course of ten seasons, Joey only has sex with 17 people. Not surprisingly, only four of these people were while in a serious relationship since he was the only Friends character to never get married. Actually, two of the four serious relationships he had with women wound up leaving him for either Ross or Chandler — Charlie and Kathy. With this knowledge, it’s no shocker that Joey never tried settling down, as he was most likely afraid that one of his two best friends would eventually steal her away. The only girl Joey ever falls in love with is Rachel. The two try and go at it, but they wind up just staying “friends.” Of course, Joey talks a big game throughout all ten seasons about all the amazing sex he has had with girls who never appear onscreen, thus making them not count in the official tally. Who knows, with the total amount of those sexual partners the Friends just randomly mention throughout the series, their actual count may easily break a Guinness World Record.
And for the curious, here’s all of the data I compiled:
Mike D’Avria has a Journalism Degree from Indiana University, and is currently a freelance writer. The motivation to shower on a daily basis is one of his biggest struggles.