Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

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.

Chandler Bing
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.

Monica Geller
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.

Rachel Green
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.

Ross Geller
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.

Phoebe Buffay
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.

Joey Tribbiani
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.

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  • Amy

    A good recap of love interests, but not necessarily sex partners.

    Ross never actually closed the deal with Celia, Rebecca R-S's character, or Jill. "Local Girl" didn't appear in the episode, she was only mentioned.

    Joey was only an extra in the porno, he just watched people have sex.

    I'm pretty sure Chandler only made out with Joey's sister, and I do not believe he slept with Prosthetic Leg Girl because she was grossed out by his nubbin. He dated "Fat Girl" at camp when they were really young so I seriously doubt they had sex.

    I don't think Rachel slept with Russ, and she definitely didn't with Mark. It's not clear how serious things got with College Guy and Ben Stiller's character. She didn't have sex with Danny, Winona Rider's character, or Gavin.

    As for Monica, I'm not sure about the Interpreter, but she didn't sleep with Chip, they went out on one brief date. She also didn't have sex with Richard's son (gross) and in the alternate world, she slept with Chandler, not Roger. She was supposedly a virgin when they were dating.

    Phoebe didn't have sex with the gay ice dancer – he was supposed to be gay at the time! She dated the fireman and the teacher at the same time but was only sleeping with one of them. She didn't sleep with Eric either – Ursula pretended to be her and has sex with him.

    Have you ever even watched this show?

    • Tiffany Gibert@twitter

      @Amy Thank you, thank you, thank you. I thought this was a great idea for an article, but the facts definitely fell short. We should write our own.

    • mishael53

      Thank you! Also, Rachel DID sleep with the guy Chandler sets her up with because she's bummed out that she "put out on the first date"

  • Mike D'Avria

    Thank you Amy for that very detailed examination of this article and the accompanying chart. You are probably correct on many of these claims, and it's great to have such dedicated readers with an eye for detail. By posting the chart of how I got to this number, I knew that it would be torn apart by a discerning fan, but I wanted to show how I got to my conclusion — wouldn't it be nice if all journalists were as transparent in their reporting? It may have been better to cite these people as "romantic partners" rather than sexual partners, because it is not clear on a number of cases if the deal was ever closed — for instance, Phoebe was married to the gay ice dancer and they may have had sex, but we don't know for sure (many gay men have had sex with women before). By reading the outlines of each episode, the final outcome of each encounter may be a bit hazy. I may have missed a few that were not mentioned in the outlines either, so I felt comfortable with the numbers I provided as an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to re-watch all 236 episodes — something that would take an extremely long time as TBS typically only shows two episodes per day. Thanks.

    • Rachel Rosenthal Devlin@facebook

      @Mike D'Avria – you are also missing Joey and Rachel's relationship, which surely included sex. And Phoebe and Ross making out, which happens at the end of the flashback episode about how many of them almost got together…it's on a pool table in a bar.

      • Claire

        Nope, Rachel and Joey broke up because they couldnt bring themselves to have sex because they were 'too close' as friends.

    • TS

      @Mike D'Avria As someone who has watched all 236 episodes at least 100 times each, I could probably answer most of your questions about whether the Friends slept with a character or not (or whether it was clear or not).

      Phoebe, for instance, most definitely did NOT sleep with her gay ice dancer husband. Why? Because she knew he was gay and married him so he could get a green card (he's Canadian). She was in love with him and he was in fact straight and appeared in the episode to ask for a divorce so he could marry a woman he was actually in love with.

      I also take issue with you referring to Charlie as a cheating slut (though I know you were just trying to be funny). Charlie was broken up with Joey before she got together with Ross and, in fact, broke up with Joey because they had nothing in common and she was starting to develop feelings for Ross.

      Also, @Rachel, Joey and Rachel's relationship did not include sex. Their inability to consummate the relationship was the subject of an entire episode and was the reason their relationship didn't go further than the second or third episode of the last season.

  • semiserious

    I could have sworn that Phoebe and Ross once did it on a pool table, but the internet tells me that was a flashback episode and the deal was never sealed. That episode I guess also including near-dalliances between Joey and Monica, and Rachel and Chandler.

    • TS

      @semiserious The internet is right – they make out on a pool table but nothing comes of it. "Stupid balls [were] in [his] way."

      And yes, the episode is about how some of the Friends "almost" but never did.

  • Amy

    Mike thanks for your nice reply to my probably-too-snarky comment. I was obsessive about Friends in my teens and watched waaaay too much of it. And apparently I'm bored enough at work to pick apart your chart – which I actually like. You're right, it is a good approximation of the various love interests on one of my favourite shows and I love it when you guys have articles about Friends. It was very unclear in many cases as to just how far things went, you are certainly correct about that.

    And yes, I appreciate your transparency. My apologies for the rude comment – I usually never comment on anything on the Internet because I hate mean commenters and I don't want to be one. Back to anonymity for me!

    • Agnes Abonyi@facebook

      I don't think, you were rude, you were correct.
      The article on the other side is not correct:)

  • jfruh

    1. I seem to recall that Joey and Rachel never actually consumated things? Didn't they just make out and then find the idea of sexin' kind of gross?

    2. It seems very strange in retrospect that Monica and Chandler were a couple for more than half the show's run.

    3. Please, please, I beg you, correct "jumped into the sac" to "jumped into the sack," as the former conjures up images of Monica and Chandler using one of the grotesque egg sacs from Aliens as a slime-covered sex swing.

  • Slapfight

    I would have enjoyed this article more if the female characters weren't labeled "sluts." Joey was literally (and figuratively) the poster child for VD, yet there was no judgement in his character write up. Ah, the old double standard. How would men get to be studs if women always said no? ;) It's 2011 man. The ladies should be allowed to get some without labels.
    Back to the nunnery for me!

    • pluma

      If it makes you feel any better, I think Joey's a bit of a slut.

  • Adam Berkowitz@facebook

    "Lobster" or not, he definitely gave her crabs. ;)

  • Jessica Adnett@twitter

    I count 58 by eliminating the following:
    Chandler – Joey's Sister, Prosthetic Leg Girl, Fat Girl
    Monica – Busboy (this is a lie she makes up when she starts her run with Chandler), Interpreter, Chip, Richard's Son, Roger
    Rachel – Russ, Mark, Ben Stiller, College Guy, Joshua, Danny, Winona
    Phoebe- Duncan, David Arquette (Stalker), Teacher (Don't remember which one she slept with), Erik, Parker
    Ross – Celia, Rebecca, PK Girl, Local Girl, Jill
    Joey – Single Mom, Porno Reference

    Of course some of these are debatable but just to look at it from a "conservative" point of view. 58 seems like a more reasonable #, almost 10 a piece.

    Try Sex & the City next, and attempt not to gag at how disgusting those women are.

  • Babak Golshahi@twitter

    ooh. my sister'll love this one

  • Neil Coleman@facebook

    AMAZING RESEARCH. seriously amazing

  • Rob Tabor@twitter

    There's some awesome research here, no doubt, but it seems you missed two for Chandler:

    Nina Bookbinder, from "The One With Two Parts, Part I". She worked for Chandler and he's told he has to fire her. He struggles to bring himself to do it, because they're dating. Played by Cary Grant's daughter, Jennifer.

    Jade, from "The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant". She calls Chandler by accident, thinking it's her ex-boyfriend Bob. They end up doing it a few times, although Jade is pretty disappointed in Chandler's performance. Played by former Playmate Brittney Powell.


    Great idea, I've always thought someone should make this list. I think you're too conservative for Joey's onscreen number though. Off the top of my head, you've missed the girl who sets Janice and Chandler up on a double date in season 1 (the mousse-ordering girl), and the roommate of the twice girl in season 9.

  • jenn

    If you assume that Phoebe has slept with "ball sack" guy and Monica with the interpreter, then the same assumptions can and should be made for the following Joey relationships: fruit basket lady, Kate's understudy from the play, Angela Dibrecko (who appears on screen post relationship with Joey- but it's Joey).

    There is no confirmation that Chandler slept with Joey's sister, just that he woke up with her AND he had consumed a whole tray of vodka shots.

    Chandler slept with the answering machine lady in season 4- not listed.

    • TS

      @jenn Joey definitely slept with both fruit basket lady (Melanie – he's "there for her") and Kate's understudy (Lauren – she mentions to Rachel that she recognizes her from the hallway after she slept with Joey). Never heard of Angela Dibrecko though. Do you mean "Angela Delvecchio"?

      And no, Chandler only "fooled around" with Joey's sister. He didn't sleep with her. He definitely slept with Jade (answering machine woman). She had to biteher lip to keep from screaming Bob's name.

  • aehyeon

    Joey did sleep with Lauren (Kate's understudy from the play) – Rachel recognized her at the play because she ran into her in the hallway after she slept with Joey and was leaving.

  • hypnosifl

    "But one show has truly broken the barrier of sexual conquests by an ensemble: Friends."

    Really? There were plenty of revolving sexual partners on Seinfeld, and that show started in 1989 while Friends didn't start until 1994.

    • Agnes Abonyi@facebook

      Or: Dallas (1978-)

  • Milvia Moniker@facebook

    The article says that all 3 guys slept with Janice, but I don't recall Joey EVER sleeping with Janice and she's not on the list.

    • TS

      @Milvia Moniker@facebook Joey NEVER slept with Janice. At one point after sleeping with Ross, she says "2 out of 3" to Joey, implying that he was next, but he'd rather rip off his arm just to have something to throw at her.

  • Gabriela Borini@twitter

    I can be wrong, but althought this hasn't been really showed I think he also forgot the girl on Ross's wedding episode who Joey slept with. Joey asks Chandler something like: who are supposed to have sex tonight: you or me?. And at this time, Chandler was at room with Monica.

    Anyway, it was a really nice idea and work, but could be much better if he consider all the suggestions above.

  • Lauren Freeman@facebook

    This has so many flaws! Just glancing at the chart they included people who shouldn't have been included, and forgot about people. For example, Joey also slept with Kate's understudy Lauren, but she's not on the chart. And…Ross just showed Jill his slides because he promised Rachel he wouldn't sleep with her.

  • Kimber Diehl@facebook

    I love the chart and the article, awesome. But what about Chandler and Ross' Mom? Was that consumated?

  • Richie1

    This list is a great idea but so far off. I stumbled on this when looking up the most popular character on the show. As a journalist myself it amazes me as to what would possess someone to write about one of the most popular shows on TV, which airs 10 times a day in some markets and has millions of fans,and be wrong about every character. No, you don't need to sit and watch every episode, BUT, many many people have seen them all numerous times,so why would you attempt to do this if you're not among those people? I wouldn't try to write a detailed article about Star Trek having seen maybe 20 episodes. The Trekies would tear me apart. The point is, the list is a fun idea,but shows how someone can post anything on the Internet, even if it is way off. There are about a dozen people listed that the characters clearly did not sleep with, such as Chandler with Joey's sister or Rachel's work associate whom she kisses at a party. There are others like the phone machine girl who Chandler did sleep with or the guy living upstairs from Monica whom Phoebe ends up sleeping with and they can hear it through the ceiling. Then there are assumptions about characters that they went on one date with. Watch the show, know the characters, know what the producers and writers would and would not have them do before you do "research" on a show.

  • Rick Johnson@facebook

    There was an episode when Rachel was talking about having a crush on her professor and when asked how she got overt him she said i didn't i got under him.

  • http://twitter.com/chrishalligan Chris Halligan

    The author of this article should get a real job.

  • CCosenza

    I so wanted someone to compile this list, but this is pathetic. SO many errors, exclusions and assumptions. I would expect more from an IU journalist. Standards must be slipping in the Hoosier State. You even admitted you didn't watch everything, you merely read outlines. Sad.

  • Joey

    Joey has one person who he sleeps with when he and pheobe are doin their evil plan laugh and being loud. Joey says "shah we don't wanna wake up…" and then can't remember we name. I'm assuming he slept with her. Ross and joey both sleep with the girl who is moving in when they agree in a 100 dollar spending limit. Joey also dates the girl who he ends up not liking but Rachel and pheobe love. Also it is stated very clearly that joey doesn't have sex in the porno. He just watches them have sex. I'm sure there are others but this is so wrong

  • Baxter

    "Mike D'Avria has a Journalism Degree"


  • Amie

    How many times can one write "slut" in an article before turning into a misogynistic pig? Oh who cares…you already are one!

  • IcyB

    You know, if you consider each season a new year then Chandler averaged less than one a year. All of them averaged less than 2 a year. If you have sex with only 2 people in one year, lets say one every 6 months…that does not make you a slut, or a pig…that makes you a normal, single, human being. Also, all the characters averaged less than 2 a year, as 2 a year would mean 20…sooo, yea…85 sounds like a huge number, but spread out over 10 years between 6 people and its not…not at all.

  • Claire

    There are WAY more when you take into account all the times they have conversations about exes from before the beginning of the show's timeline, or times they talk about a date they had the night before with someone who is never actually seen e.g. Phoebe saying 'it wasn't a date! It was just two people getting together… and having sex.'.

    People in sitcoms always have such an unrealistic number of sexual partners,
    Fun fact: George Costanza on Seinfeld had 62 girlfriends during the course of the show – and he was supposedly terrible with women!

  • Claire

    Also, I don't think you put a whole lot of research into this article. A lot of the partners you've mentioned were failed dates who the character never actually had sex with.
    Im a Friends nut, so all these mistakes kinda make me want to shove my fingers through my eyes, into my brain, and swirl it around a little (to paraphrase the words of Terry, the owner of Central Perk.)

  • Cady

    Chandler also had sex with Julia Roberts' character, didn't he? Or did they just fool around?

  • Mei Mei

    so i just found this chart, and had to point out one thing: In season 1 episode 3, phoebe states she slept with Jason hurley, monica's ex, a few hours after they broke up.

  • sh3s.a.rebel

    This says that Monica had sex with Chip Matthews, but she dumped him when she realized that he was a loser. Also, Charlie didn't cheat on Joey. They had broken up before she and Ross got together.

  • Ryan Williams

    The best one, I really loved this article. I am gonna keep this information for my whole life lol. Thank you. Hungry shark evolution hack

  • Nikki Fisher

    "prosthetic leg girl" aka ginger had also hooked up with joey at a previous time but then he threw her leg in the fire
    Joey also had sex with Erin (the girl who plays Charlotte in sex in the city)

  • Melissa

    Why is Monica dissed in this article? Her character -though later on somehow ruined- was strong, confident, determined and hardworking even though she was pretty unlucky most of the times. Her character was amazing.

  • micki91

    You forgot the woman who calls chandlers number thinking it's a guy named bob, they slept together.