What are the rules of friends with benefits?
So you’re great mates who just both happen to be single at the same time, why not add a bit of “no strings attached” fun into your friendship?
In order for a friends with benefits (FWB) relationship to blossom experts and our readers agree that there needs to be a strict set of rules. Here we discover the meaning of a friends with benefits relationship, how to find a pal and how to do it orgasmically well.
If you’re looking into a FWB relationship it turns on you’re not alone in fact research suggeststhat over 50% of people in their 20s have had such a relationship at least once. But why just once? marie claire asked its readers if they'd ever been in a fwb relationship.
“I told him I’d never have feelings for him and that this was a “post-breakup friends who have sex thing” and then three weeks later we were dating.” Lena*, 27.
“I did but I regret it. He's a really funny guy and it was super fun and then he was keen to date so we dated for a month and I broke with him out the front of the science building. We're still friends, I guess, I lost contact with him.” Belinda*, 24.
“We were FWB for six months, it worked great for about the first 4 months then I fell in love... three years later we're still going strong.” Maggie*, 25.
“I've had a few and they weren't always successful. I guess it's a trial by error, if that makes sense? I didn't know how to do it properly until it had failed a few times. Most of the time they'd messed up because while in my head I thought they were a friends with benefits situation, the other person did not. In reality I'd never addressed it." Maxine, 24.
"I've had two fwb that were successful (not at the same time), we both were just aware of what the situation was and we didn't push the boundaries into somewhere else (no dates or day to day constant messaging). They both just fizzled when I decided I was ready to look for something more meaningful.” Lucy*, 29.
In order for it to be a successful FWB relationships experts recommend having a strict set of rules.
1. No warm and fuzzies
“For ‘friends with benefits’ to work, you need to know how to keep a lid on your emotions without coming across as totally heartless,” Diana Parkinson tells Men’s Health.
But it’s not all women catching the feels a survey by Dr Ed of 1,000 men and women found that 52 percent of men become emotionally attached in a FWB set-up, compared to just 44 percent of women.
On the other hand, if the oxytocin (love hormone) has you picturing babies and a walk down the aisle be honest with them, just be wary that they potentially won’t feel the same. Before getting into FWB make sure you’re 100 percent fine with having sex without anything deeper.
2. The "friends" part is crucial
Looks can only take you so far and if they aren't your friend then it can't really be a friends with benefits relationship. Look for your fun buddy at a party or another gathering of mutual friends. Research shows that being a friend of a friend makes people feel safe and ups your chances of casual sex.
3. Be clear of your expectations
You’ve been friends for years but now things are about to get personal. Be honest with one another about what this is and exactly what you both want out of it to avoid any confusion and hard feelings so you can both hit a home run every game.
4. Choose wisely
Before diving in head first think carefully about how it will affect your friendship (positively vs negatively and how you’d feel if you two became less close. One of your work colleagues? We wouldn’t recommend it. Your best friend since high school who also happens to be your roommate? Not ideal. Your best friends boyfriends’ friend, who you don’t see a long term future with? Now we’re ready to tango!
5. Stay safe
Before you get it on make sure you've got it on. This is a given for all bedroom rodeo-ing but by definition you are not obligated to be exclusive in a FWB so it is crucial to stay safe so you don’t wind up with a little bub with a guy you don’t see a future with and also stay STD-free.
6. Don’t go green with envy
It’s easier said than done but as your shin dig isn’t exclusive make sure neither one of you gets jealous. Clinical psychologist Seth Meyers explains to Psychology Today, “If you find yourself getting jealous, be honest and tell your FWB partner, and the two of you can talk about whether the FWB relationship is truly working for both of you. If he’s the one who starts getting jealous, for example, and you also realize that you don’t want to get involved more seriously with him, it’s time to consider detaching and letting the benefits side of the relationship go.”
7. Check-in regularly
Your friends so be open and honest comes naturally? Well not all the time but it is important to check in with your fun buddy regularly to make sure you’re both still on the same page.
“If at some point you’re enjoying yourself too much and want to spend more time with your FWB, then it may be time to reevaluate the situation,” says relationship coach Ellin Bolin.
8. Keep in mind what this is
As lovely as a cuddle and a chat about all of your best qualities is remember that’s not what you signed up for. Often hanging our one-on-one outside of your sesh is off limits. “Communication is about the where and whens of hooking up,” says relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad. “You are not building an intimate relationship, but rather just having fun and enjoying one another physically.”
9. Don’t get caught in your comfort zone
So you’re having great, regular sex. He knows exactly how you like it and you know what gets him going minus the arguments, drama and meeting the parents. Well we hate to break it to you but all good things come to an end. Don’t get too comfortable with your scheduled "weekly workout" and close yourself off from finding someone you see a future with long term. Read #8 just one more time.
10. Have a plan
As sneaky as you think you’re being, you’re not the FBI (if you are skip this point) but chances are you are going to get caught out. Before you end up in an uncomfortable pickle work out your PR strategy. Are you going to keep your new alliance under wraps or be open about it the next time you’re on a night out? Especially if you’re in the same group of friends.
11. Write your rule book
Okay well you don’t have to actually write it down #savethetrees but before you get down and dirty set your boundaries. Are sleepovers a thing? Late night booty calls? Do you have a regular “scheduled catch up”? Figure it out now to save yourself a headache or heartache.
12. Don’t forget why you started
No strings attached good old fashioned romping! Be honest with exactly what you do and don’t like in bed and try new things. Have fun and enjoy yourself without all of those emotional ties and when you’re not? It’s time to wave your goodbyes and move on.
*names have been changed