A similarly dressed couple look to camera with an expression of surprise

Could you have a FWB (Friend with Benefits)?

by Fran Creffield - August 13, 2012

It can be tempting if you and a friend are both single to add an extra dimension to your relationship to fill the gap (so to speak) but is it a good idea?

Having a sexual relationship with a friend can seem like an ideal solution if you are both going through a bit of a dating drought or just reluctant to commit yourself to a relationship right now. As with anything there are pros and cons of a FWB, so take a look and see whether you think it might be worth the risk? 

Pros of friends with benefits

  • Trust – as the person is your friend the chances are that you already know that you can trust them.
  • Instant gratification – it is easy to fall in bed and have some sexual fun with a close friend. You don’t have to go through the whole dating game and you are simply satisfying each others needs – right?
  • No pressure – because you already know each other there is often less pressure to perform in bed – you are not trying to build something meaningful but to have some sexual fun that is mutually gratifying. It can be a great opportunity to relax and experiment with sex in a way you may not be happy in at the beginning of a committed relationship.
  • Other people’s opinions – it can be very liberating and as long as you are both practicing safe sex as consenting adults it is none of anyone else’s business.
  • No intimacy – this is the main reason people want a FWB – to have the joy of sex without all the emotional entanglement.

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Cons of friends with benefits

  • Trust – your friend may say they are happy to stay just friends but feelings can develop and it won’t be until one of you want to break it off, or meets someone else, that you find out how emotionally honest you were being with each other.
  • Instant gratification – often friends who fall into bed with each other do so after a night out and often under the influence of alcohol and while you may feel great about what happened are you sure that your friend does too? – sometimes people put on a brave face even when they feel ashamed of what happened.
  • No pressure – problems can develop if one of you wants to enjoy the benefits of your friendship more than the other one does. You will have no grounds to ask for any more than your arrangement permits and very quickly this can become unsatisfactory.
  • Other people’s opinions – some people may judge you for engaging in casual sex and while you may think it is none of anyone else’s business it can become a problem if you start to date and your date has issues around it.
  • No intimacy – sex without intimacy may sound like fun but for some it can prove to be very damaging to their self esteem. If you find yourself feeling bad afterwards it may be that FWB is not for you.

Five rules for having a FWB

If you are still interested in going ahead and having a FWB then here are five simple rules to bear in mind:

How it works

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  1. Don’t fall in love – if you think that there is any chance of this happening don’t begin a relationship on the pretext of it being FWB secretly hoping it will be more – one or both of you are likely to be hurt.
  2. Be emotionally mature – that means before you get involved sexually – talk about the ground rules and make sure you are both on the same page.
  3. Practice safe sex – this is especially important when you are involved in a casual sexual relationship. You may not be aware of how many other sexual partners your friend has and run the risk of STDs if you are not careful.
  4. Be discreet – it is better to keep the arrangement between yourselves, not everyone is as open minded as you are.
  5. Remember it is short-term – FWB don’t generally last very long for the simple fact that if they do one or both people are likely to develop deeper feelings.