All of the Benefits and None of the Feelings - How To Be Friends With Benefits?

The idea of friends with benefits is a tale as old as time. It's pervasive in pop culture. 

Movies like When Harry Met SallyFriends with Benefits, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno all explore what it might be like to have a sexual connection with a friend. Everyone has an opinion on the topic. Some people believe that you can't be friends with benefits without developing feelings. Other people think it's a great way to connect with a friend differently.

Regardless of what you think, it's something more than half of people try at some point in their life!

But what happens once the friendship goes to that bedroom level? Many people cite ruining a friendship as a reason not to enter into this kind of arrangement. However, with excellent communication and honesty, it may make a platonic friendship even stronger — and satisfy that itch you need to scratch.

So, how do friends with benefits relationship work, anyway?

What Does Friends With Benefits Mean?

friends with benefits

A friend with benefits (FWB) is someone with whom you have a platonic sexy friendship. Sex is the benefit! 

According to one survey, about 75% of people in FWB relationships also spent time with their friend outside of the bedroom. Sometimes these relationships are also said to have "no strings attached."

Friends with benefits may go to a party together or hang out with their crew, and then come home for some sweet and sexy private time, without the strings of a committed relationship. 

How Many People Have a Friendship With Benefits?

In a survey of 1000 people, 57% of them had experienced a "friends with benefits" relationship at some point in their lives. 

It's a fairly common phenomenon to try at some point when you're not feeling ready for a relationship, but still want some regular sexy-fun with someone you trust. 

Why Do People Enjoy Friends With Benefits Relationships?

Enjoy a relationship with benefits

A FWB relationship is great for those times in your life when you're just not ready for a relationship, but you still want to feel sexually satisfied. 

FWBs are different from random hook ups because you know and trust your friend, especially if you've been friends with them long term before the arrangement. This is true for about 75% of FWB friendships.

A FWB relationship can be a great way to explore new ventures in bed in an ongoing relationship — perhaps even more so by adding some new toys in the mix?

How to Ask Someone to be Friends with Benefits

There are two typical ways to get a FWB relationship going. You can:

  • Start a relationship with someone you don't know.
  • Start having sex with someone you're already friends with.

For the former, try dating apps! Be up front about what you're looking for, and you'll likely find someone who is looking for the same thing!

Turning a friend into a FWB can be a little trickier.

You may wonder how to ask someone to be friends with benefits. Sometimes you can just tell that an attraction is there. Flirtatious smiles, sex jokes, and edgy leg touches could be a sign that someone is into you. Other times, you just have to bite the bullet and bring it up to find out if the other person is down to explore some FWB...

Either way, after you've had sex with someone once, make sure that your expectations are clear. 

One of the pitfalls of a no-strings-attached relationship is the possibility of leading someone on. If they have feelings for you and don't feel the same way, make your intentions known. 

Just like any relationship, clear communication is essential!

Can You Have a Friends With Benefits Relationship With a Stranger or Only Close Friends/Acquaintances?

Only 25% of people surveyed have had an FWB relationship with a stranger. So it is possible to develop this type of relationship with a stranger, a close friend, or anyone in between.

Some people shy away from friends with benefits arrangements because they worry that it will forever change or ruin their friendship. That is a possibility. The friendship will vary by taking things to the bedroom, but it could change things better!

What Are the Rules of Friends With Benefits?

How do friends with benefits work? Do friends with benefits talk every day? 

There are no set rules for friends with benefits relationships. Just like any relationship or friendship, you have to communicate to set the boundaries and relationship agreements that you feel comfortable with. Some FWBs enjoy sleeping with multiple people — others prefer to keep it just between them.

Starting a new arrangement with your friend? Be sure to discuss the following things:

  • Whether or not you will tell mutual friends
  • What you will do if your friend with benefits sleeps with other people
  • Sexual health
  • What fetishes you may want to explore (we've got you covered!) 
  • What you will do if feelings develop
  • How much time do you want to spend together

How Often Do Friends With Benefits Work Out?

About 17% of people said a friends with benefits situation led to a committed, long-term relationship. Only 2% led to marriage between FWBs. However, many friends stay in their friendships even after the benefits are no longer there. 

What Keeps Friends With Benefits Relationships Working?

friends with benefits rules

FWB relationships work the best with honesty, excellent communication, and firm boundaries. 

It starts with knowing yourself. If you are jealous or generally feel anxious in relationships, then this casual sexual relationship might not be for you. 

Make sure that you and your FWB communicate and clearly define what you both want from the relationship. 

It's supposed to be fun and sexy for both of you. So make sure that you are on the same page about the definition of both "friend" and "benefit" in your particular relationship.

What Are the Odds of Friends With Benefits Falling Apart?

Do friends with benefits work? 

Most (about 70%) FWB arrangements either fade away naturally or end at the request of one of the participants. So, the odds of it falling apart are pretty high. Even so, with great communication and self-awareness, the end of benefits in a FWB relationship doesn't have to be the end of the friendship!

One survey showed that 28% of people remained friends even after their arrangement ended, while 31% completed the friendship entirely.

Why Do Friends With Benefits Relationships Fall Apart?

FWB relationships end for several reasons, including:

  • One person gets into another relationship
  • The FWB relationship turns into a committed relationship
  • The sex fizzles out
  • The sex affects the friendship too much, and one person decides to end it
  • Someone catches feelings, and they are not reciprocated

These are not the only reasons an FWB relationship might end, but they are some of the most common. 

What Should You Do if You Develop Feelings for Your Friend With Benefits?

About 60% of people who had an FWB relationship caught feelings. 

However, in only about 10% of those cases did the feelings cause the arrangement to end. Almost half of people with an FWB kept their feelings to themselves, and around 40% confessed. 

What Do Friends With Benefits Mean a Guy and What does a Girl? 

Contrary to popular belief, more men than women said that having sex with their beneficial friend felt "romantic," More men than women reported that they developed feelings for their FWB.

If you develop feelings for your friend with benefits, you have three choices:

  • Keep your feelings a secret
  • Confess to your friend and find out if they feel the same
  • End the arrangement

Only you can decide which choice to make, because you know yourself and your relationship best. 

It can be entertaining to have a friend with a benefits relationship, but there are some pitfalls. It can be difficult to set specific ground rules with your friend with benefits. An essential part of friends with benefits is being open and communicative with others.

References

 Bed Buddies. (February 2021). Zavamed.  

When You Catch Feelings. (February 2021). SuperDrug.

How To Have A Friends-With-Benefits Relationship That Isn't A Mess. (May 2019). Huffington Post.

Your Guide to Navigating a Friends with Benefits Relationship—the Right Way. (January 2021). Cosmopolitan.

This Is How 'Friends With Benefits' Usually Ends, Says Study. (March 2018). Your Tango.

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