Lets get one thing straight right off the bat here. A “Friend with Benefits” has never and will never work.
Caveat: Relationships are what you make them and everyone is different. I cannot tell you how to live your life, nor should I. You need to decide what you want. Not every relationship needs a title or an explanation. If you want casual sex where you never talk about your feelings that’s cool. If you want to keep all those feelings inside, so be it. However, what needs to happen is a mutual understanding, no matter what kind of situation you have. My golden rule: make sure you do not feel like shit when you wake up in the morning.
For those of you that know me, you will know that changing my opinion on something is no easy feat. I am pretty stubborn. But up until recently I truly believed that the whole “Friend with Benefits” situation was truly the ideal situation. What could possibly be bad about a quasi-relationship with someone you know, without any of the strings or stresses of being in a real relationship? You get all the perks without anything about your friendship actually having to change or defined. So what could go wrong?
I honestly thought that if someone I knew (or at least knew enough to know they were at least not a sociopath or serial killer) came up to me and was all like “do you want to have casual sex with me no strings attached” I would probably be like … well yes. It sounds basically perfect; you don’t need to worry about commitment or trust. You don’t need to meet anyone’s families or worry about your insecurities. All you need to do is be there and breathing.
So you’ve decided to move forward and find a friend/ fuck buddy, whatever. Let’s talk criteria. There are certain “friends” you have that you would never even consider being involved with sexually. These people you friend zoned day 1. I know that sounds harsh, but they are disqualified. The next category: the “I probably have thought about you naked at least once” people. You guys aren’t crazy close but you wouldn’t be opposed to getting jiggy with it. These people are potentially still in the running to be America’s Next Top Booty Call. The last category of people is your good friends. You have chemistry (probably unrealized) and you trust these people much more than most.
But what would this whole shindig actually entail? How could this go wrong? These are your pals! Well, that’s where my problem starts.
Friends. This “relationship” works so that you both get some sort of benefit without being anything other than friends. Nothing will change…well, except that you and your buddy are now sleeping with each other. And in case you haven’t ever turned on a TV, let me give you a refresher course: Sex changes everything.
If you decide to hook up with a friend you will develop feelings for them. End. Of. Story. (Well actually, you could also decide that you’ve made a terrible mistake and regret it completely and totally lose that friendship altogether. Your Call). But lets say hypothetically that you don’t regret it and you guys actually had chemistry. What now? A side hug and a peck on the cheek? Negative Ghost Rider. You’ve decided to not change a thing about your friendship, but somehow added in the intimacy of sex. My calculus does not say you+me=us, homeslice.
(Caveat #2: This hypothetical is strictly limited to hooking up with someone you’ve previously been friends with. Not a one night stand, not starting to hook up with someone you don’t really know. This is not about hooking up with someone to validate yourself and keep you warm at night and 100% not having hate sex with someone you despise.)
Being friends with someone enough that you trust them and are willing to have sex with them, says a lot. By wanting this type of “relationship” with one of your pals you are basically telling them that you do not want to be tied down, but find them attractive and likeable enough that sex with them would not be so terribly horrible. But ultimately you do not want to feel anything for this person. Or… Do you?
But my problem is not with the casual sex, it’s not with the self-deprecation of being someone’s warm body and it’s not that your standards are too low. The problem here is that this person is technically your “friend”, that you aren’t supposed to feel anything for this person but naturally already do because, well, they are your friend after all. You’ve just upped the ante by creating this whole new level of intimacy in your friendship. And this combination is how every romantic comedy ends. Literally all of them.
So lets backtrack and think it through. You and your friend (who is not a sociopath) have just decided that you guys are close enough, or maybe just desperate enough, to have sex, no strings, no stress, no nothing. Just sex between two friends. Solid. Cool. BUT intimacy creates feelings and feelings are exactly what this whole operation is trying to avoid. You have just asked the universe to make you want to be with this person. Congratulations.
In my opinion, the term itself, “Friends with Benefits”, is just describing a legitimate relationship anyway. Sorry, but I said it. In this situation you are not technically “dating” this friend but you are reaping all the benefits of a consensual sexual relationship (including emotional support of friendship). The only thing that’s changing is that in a “legitimate” relationship you can’t sleep with other people. Boo Hoo.
So here’s my advice: Nut-up. You want to be with your friend? You want to have sex with your friend once? Just do it. Or for fucks sake at least be honest with them. I’m not saying that every single relationship needs to be defined and exclusive, but at least have the courage to fill the other party in on what it is you want and are looking for. Because if you really think about why you have decided to hook up with your pal, instead of finding literally any other fish in the sea, you might realize that what you were really looking for is not what you told yourself it was.
Disclaimer: My opinions are inspired but not based off the incredible movies “Friends with Benefits” and “No Strings Attached”. All thoughts and ramblings are my own. I am not condoning or encouraging any of this behavior. If you decide that this kind of relationship is what you want: use protection, get tested, and be safe.