FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS: How to navigate your way through casual sex
I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘friends with benefits’ or maybe even seen the movie? Does it really work though? Or will you end up head over heels in love. Well lets first start off by defining the term, Friends with benefits is sometimes referred to as FWB and is when two people are in a sex-only relationship, based only on the physical aspects, with no commitments and no strings attached. Usually, a pair of friends or acquaintances who enjoy each other’s company but have no interest in being in a relationship with one another. They are usually not looking for a serious relationship but are wanting to maintain and up-keep their sex life. A lot of the times friends with benefits does not work as the relationship is not always straight forward and simple, the lines get blurred, and it becomes difficult to distinguish boundaries, often times it turns south very quickly. So, in order for friends with benefits to work you will have to set boundaries, ground rules, and communicate what each of you expect from the relationship.
Some people are able to thrive in casual relationships with no commitments, while others will always be expecting more. So, before you decide to indulge in a FWB relationship it is important to set some ground rules.
Set expectations for the relationship
Before ‘committing’ to a FWB make certain you are sure in yourself and what your intentions are for the relationship. Defiantly do not go into the FWB with hopes it develops into something more, you will end up breaking your own heart. Expect nothing going into the relationship and make sure you are both on the same page.
Make sure you are emotionally mature
If you generally suffer with jealousy in relationships, I suggest not getting into a FWB as you will most likely struggle with the idea of your F-buddy going on dates or sleeping with other people. It is important to understand boundaries and accept that you have no control over the other person in the relationship, they are free to do as they please, and so are you. If you are not emotionally mature, you will potentially self-destruct and cause yourself a lot of pain.
Choose your partner wisely
Perhaps you choose a close friend or an acquaintance. You are most likely physically attracted to this individual. It is important that you do not choose someone you do or have ever had feelings for as you may expect more from the relationship. Choose someone you feel comfortable with and that you know they will be honest with you and will always keep open communication with you. Always be aware that you may potentially lose this person if things do not end on good terms. You could make things awkward for future relationships having this person in your future, so keep that in mind if you plan on having them around for a while.
From the start of your fwb, communication is going to be the base form of your relationship, just like any other type of relationship. Communication will help you stay on the same page and keep things clear. You should keep communication open throughout the whole relationship by setting ground rules, boundaries, etc. Having open communication will also help make things easier when either of you decide to end the fwb.
Don’t be romantic
As you are exploring each other and your sexuality, it can be difficult keeping the line between friends and relationship clear. The key part of having a successful fwb is not blurring the lines, by ensuring you are not being lovey-dovey or acting in a way a conventional couple would act and behave around each other. Don’t do favours for them as a girlfriend/boyfriend would. Avoid the after care of sex in terms of cuddling. Even avoid sleeping over and the morning after rituals a usual couple may perform. Keeping the lines clear is extremely important in fwb. Don’t hold hands, show grand gestures of affection, and avoid making plans to spend time together, if sex is not involved. Don’t forget that friends with benefits is just that, a friendship with benefits.
Practice safe sex, always
A friend with benefits relationship is definitely safer than one-night stands with strangers. As if you have that open communication with your f-buddy you will most likely know ‘where’ they’ve been. Although it may be safer, it is still extremely important to practice safe sex. Although you may know where they’ve been they are still free to do what and who they please. It is important to be safe to avoid stds as well as pregnancy (if you are not planning to conceive as a couple)
Don’t stop dating
Never close your doors. Although you may be content or happy in your fwb situation, you can never get too comfortable as they could at any moment meet someone ‘better’ and break things off with you. This could leave you feeling neglected and left alone. Date out casually or as you feel but don’t get too attached with your fwb. And never commit to your f-buddy, unless you have both decided to take things further.
Accept that it will most likely not be a long term or permanent relationship
In relation to the above point, you should never get too comfortable or expect a future with this person, as there are many reasons why this situationship may end. Either of you could find someone else, you could catch feelings, you could get bored, etc.
If you are still unsure if you are ready to plunge into a fwb here are a few pros and cons
- You get to explore your sexuality openly and freely.
- You subtract the pressures of dating.
- Its super convenient, I mean who wouldn’t want sex on tap?
- You can be yourself and feel comfortable in your body without the fear of judgment.
- It is safer than sex with a complete stranger.
- You could fall in love (and they love you back)
- You could fall in love (and they don’t love you back)
- Could lead to heart break.
- You could lose your friend.
- You don’t get the benefits of a relationship.
- You could get dropped when/if they find someone else.
- You could build a false sense of security.
Always keep in mind that just because you are in this relationship with this person, it does not mean that you owe them anything or that they owe you anything. You are both free to do as you please, at the end of the day you are friends and friends only. Ensure that the person you choose to end up in this situation with is someone who you are sure that if your relationship ends your friendship will still stand and that if it doesn’t you will not be too upset to lose them as a friend in your life. Things can get complicated very quickly, especially when sex is involved. You may think that you have absolutely no feelings for this person but often times it is out of your control. When you are having sex with somebody, and its pleasurable for you, it drives up the dopamine system in your brain. This can push you to falling in love. And when orgasming, there’s an overflow of oxytocin and vasopressin, which are hormones closely associated with love.