A friend with benefits relationship also denoted as FWB often describes as a relationship ideal for people who want to have sex regularly but not in a committed partnership. Although it’s unconventional and not the norm, this relationship can work in many different ways.
Great intimacy is one of the best parts of being in a relationship. When individuals share passionate, pleasurable moments with a person they find attractive, it is part of the human experience.
But what happens if you haven’t found that special someone yet, or you don’t plan to be in a full-blown commitment right now? You are not confined to having solo pleasure, especially not in the world of friends with benefits.
If you want friends with benefits relationship to thrive, experts say that there needs to be a set of rules in place.
Despite the free feeling of having commitment-free sex, this kind of relationship can be tricky to navigate.
You should both be able to clarify whether you two are exclusive friends with benefits or whether you are okay with hooking up with other people.
After all, FWB is a hooking up that involves two people who know and trust each other.
Below are seven tips for pulling off successful friends with benefits:
1. Ensure you can handle the emotional complexities of a Friends with Benefits relationship.
Regarding intimacy, FWB looks like a great way to rig the system: you are assured of one of the key benefits of a relationship ― routine sex! ― without the struggles of a long-term relationship life like sharing the bills, cleaning the house, being each other’s emotional sounding board, arguments, and more.
However, not many people are cut out to compartmentalize intimacy like that. If you are a jealous type or you get anxious about getting attached or if you’re secretly wishing for a real relationship, FWB is not for you.
For successful friends with benefits, there should not be any jealousy of seeing the other person with someone else.
When you get jealous, be honest and discuss with your FWB partner the FWB relationship and if it’s truly working for you.
For example, if the man starts getting jealous, and you realize that you are not ready to get into a serious relationship with him, you need to consider detaching and letting the benefits side of the relationship go.
FWB relationship is an interdependent relationship style; therefore, you must respect the other person’s decisions and lifestyle.
The person you are involved with is not your girlfriend or boyfriend, so you don’t have a say in what they do and who they do it with, even if they hook up with a different person.
If one party in the FWB jumps off the ship to start a serious relationship with another, you have to be okay with that because you were not officially dating.
Surprisingly, it’s not only women who develop attachments and feelings.
According to a survey by Dr. Ed of 1,000 men and women, 52 percent of men start being emotionally attached in an FWB set-up, compared to just 44 percent of women.
The bottom line is that when you get to FWB, ensure you’re 100 percent fine with having intimacy without anything deeper.
2. Get a clear definition of “friends with benefit” for yourself, and ensure your definitions align with your partner’s.
Before entering an FWB relationship, check with yourself and your friend to ensure you are interested in the same type of relationship.
A power imbalance may complicate the relationship if the sex partner wants a romantic relationship and your interest is just sex.
Therefore, a successful friends-with-benefits relationship must openly discuss what you’re both looking to get out of this arrangement from the word go.
You may not want to stay the night at each other’s places, or you can agree that sleepovers are cool for both of you. Ensure to talk about what you’re comfortable with early and often.
Ensure you speak up if something isn’t sitting right with you and genuinely listen when your friend shares their feelings.
3. Don’t start an FWB with anyone you want something more with.
You have no reason to play the cool girl (or guy). If you want something more from the partner, don’t cross the line into FWB territory, hoping things will change and they will want more too.
Never start something casual with them, knowing it wouldn’t feel right to you. There is a possibility of FWB turning into something more, but do not go into these intimacy agreements with an expected outcome.
4. Be completely transparent about your sex life.
You need to clearly explain your current sex life and partners and you also need to feel comfortable asking your partner about their sexual history.
This is the only way you will have a successful friends-with-benefits relationship because a lack of transparency at this level can lead to some awkward situations.
For example, your partner may also be getting together with other guys, or does not use protection and you can find yourself with herpes. It is clear that honesty on these subjects is paramount, and selecting someone you believe you can trust is vital.
5. FWB relationships are built upon respect and boundaries.
Friends With Benefit arrangements are different from conventional relationships because they have fewer established “rules,” leaving more room for complications.
Remember FWB relationship is still much like a relationship; both of you need to know what you want out of this arrangement and what you are asking from your FWB partner and honor each other’s boundaries. Just like in any relationship, it will be easy to overstep someone’s boundaries without respect.
For example, asking for consent is crucial when you’re into a Friends with Benefits arrangement, whether a one-time hookup or an ongoing friends-with-benefits relationship.
Consent operates on several levels and is not just sexual. You can also consent to social things, for example, whether or not it’s okay to tell a third party about your friends-with-benefits relationship or whether you can leave things at your ‘partner’s’ apartment.
Additionally, when it comes to sex, never assume consent. If you did something once, it does not mean your partner will want to do it again.
6. Make friendship a priority over the benefits.
Good looks can only take you so far when hooking up with someone for FWB. It loses the meaning of being friends with benefits relationships if they are not your friend.
Just like you need your fun buddy at a party or another gathering of mutual friends, being a friend of the other party makes you feel safe and improves your chances of casual intimacy. Whereby you were truly friends before you added the perks of sex, try your best to preserve that relationship.
If things get too complicated and one of you starts developing feelings that aren’t reciprocated, salvage the existing friendship.
Prioritizing friendship in the best way will involve spending non-sexual time together as real friends would.
Occasionally some people may feel like they have been demoted to a clandestine sexual liaison if the original bond is not nurtured. Ensure no one catches feelings, and you should stop sex immediately if the feelings between both parties aren’t mutual at any time.
7. Always use protection
For any sexual relationship, it is crucial to discuss safe sex before you engage in sexual activities. Have an open conversation with your friend about STIs and other sexual partners, discuss getting tests, and use protection.
Nothing destroys the fun out of sexual intimacy quite as quickly as getting an infection or having a pregnancy scare.
When you consider having a sexual relationship, the priority is using protection. The essence and idea behind friends with benefits relationship are that there’s no commitment.
That means the partners are not ready for a pregnancy and the commitment to raising a family. If that is the case, using protection is paramount.
When you use protection consistently, it will help keep you and your partner healthy. When you have an active sex life, it is a good idea to see your doctor for regular STD screenings.
In general, hooking up for an FWB relationship is that you are friends or at least friendly with the other party, and you two have sexual chemistry without being interested in pursuing a more serious, romantic relationship.
For you to have successful friends with benefits relationships, they should be strictly sexual, avoiding all of the romantic and physical intimacy of a true relationship. For many people, FWB relationships are a great way to do away with their sexual itch without committing the time or emotional investment into a full-blown relationship. These relationships are also excellent for polyamorous people pursuing multiple types of relationships simultaneously.
If you are insecure, jealous, and don’t communicate, then FWB is not for you. Consider our seven tips for successful friendship with benefits, and you will have a happy and fulfilling friends with benefits relationship!