Relationship Advice

15 August 2012

Can FWB (friend with benefits) really work?

by Fran Creffield

It can seem like an ideal solution if you are both single and want some sexual activity without the complications of a full relationship...can it really work?

We live in a much more liberated society where casual sex is accepted by many people as part of everyday life. If you have recently ended a long-term relationship and are not ready to get into a new one just yet, or if you have been single for a long time, you will still have sexual needs – we all do, it is human and natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Where once the choices for satisfying those needs was limited to one night stands with strangers, which is fraught with dangers, a new trend has emerged – Friend With Benefits – meaning a friend who you have sex with but with no pretence that it is going to turn into anything deeper or more meaningful.

Some people would argue that what separates an intimate relationship from a friendship is the fact that you have sex with each other – many people refer to their partner as their best friend – but FWB belong in a different category and are different from a normal relationship in a number of ways:

1. It is  short term  – this isn’t a permanent solution  – each of you are aware that it will only last until one of you decides to end it usually because they have met someone they do want to develop a full relationship with.

2. It is sexual – although you may be friends and have affection for each other as such, this aspect of the relationship is about satisfying sexual needs not falling in love or deepening intimacy.

3. It is casual – there are no expectations for a deeper emotional connection on either side and you won’t be able to expect this person to accompany you to parties or go on romantic dates together – this is a sexual arrangement – anything more than that and you are having a relationship with each other.

4. It is private – this may not always be the case but many people prefer to keep their FWBs discreet because there can still be some stigma attached especially when you start dating again.

Pros ….

There are advantages to this kind of arrangement mainly in that you already know the person so it is much safer than picking up a stranger in a bar. If you have a good, strong friendship you will probably be able to talk things through and lay the ground rules so that you both know exactly where you stand. It can be great fun – no pressure to perform, freedom to explore sexually with a safe, consenting partner and no expectations for it to develop into anything more serious. As with all things there is another side to the story.

…. and cons

Unfortunately many friendships are ruined by becoming sexual for the simple reason that while you may both start at the same place emotionally very often one person develops stronger feelings and wants more from the relationship. This cannot be helped – sex and intimacy are so closely related that while you may begin in one place it is easy to find yourself falling in love with your friend or being hurt when they start dating someone seriously. Emotions are fragile.

While you may be open minded and see nothing wrong with what you are doing not everyone will agree with your point of view. You may find yourself subject to gossip or other people’s judgements. Future dates may find it difficult to accept your FWB being in your life even if you are no longer engaged in a sexual relationship with them. Finally it is important to remember that engaging in casual sex carries more risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases so it is especially important to be careful with protection and regular check ups.

Individual choice

This kind of relationship is not for everyone – it can be damaging to your self-esteem and leave you feeling ashamed or cheap. This is often made worse if the decision to get involved sexually with your friend was made under the influence of alcohol. If you feel bad about what you are doing, stop doing it. Put your energies into building yourself up and dating people who you want to have a full relationship with.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
Can FWB (friend with benefits) really work?, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings




15 September 2012 23:24

Ive had a few fwb over the past 10 years or so, one of which we ended up dating for 5 years. I find it easier than being in a relationship because it means i dont have the constant day to day things of a relationship. Neither of us have the time or the energy required to enter into relationship so this works. Best advice i can give, if u do decide to have a fwb, choose one that isnt a super close friend because this is when it leads to deeper feelings becoming stronger. But if it works then go a head, its heaps easier n safer than going out and trying to pick up a one night stand everytime you want to have sex

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16 September 2012 07:35

good article

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16 September 2012 15:29

I agree with this article totally. I can do without the act of sex, however, intimacy I crave. So FWB is not for me. I don’t judge those who do.

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17 September 2012 01:25

I have been single now for 12 years after my divorce and find FWB works well for me. At one stage I thought I wanted more than this but realize just easier to be free to do whatever I please. Maybe one day will have a loving ,committed relationship but now too busy with my own family.

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24 September 2012 05:12

I have been divorced and by my self for 5 years now and had 2 female friends ask me to be FWB but I’ve had to say no both times. I love and crave sex but I just don’t feel it’s right for me. I’m a bit old fashioned. Never had a one night stand either. I want the intimancy but never judge anyone else for having FWB. It works for some people. Some of my fiends have them. Good luck to them. Good balanced article.

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13 October 2012 12:04

Friends with benefits is fantastic until you want to move on, I have two, but I’m looking for a special someone, but I know there will be a problem once I move on

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13 October 2012 23:59

I’m in two FWB relationships at the moment and it’s working well for me. I met both my ‘friends’online so the parameters of our relationship was worked out before we even got together. Maybe one day I’ll want more, but I’m enjoying my independance to much right now to risk losing it in anyway right at the moment

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1 January 2013 09:40

I have just come out the end of a FWB relationship where I was the one hurt because I ended up falling in love, all seemed great at the time until my feeings developed and I spoke to my friend about my feelings. Initially she didnt want to follow thru with things into a full commited relationship but then decided to give it a go. It didnt last very long due to issues related to her past. She wanted to end it all but I wanted to stay friends, tried that for about a month with no sex involved but ultimatly she ended everything. If I was to give any advice I would just say enjoy the sex and dont fall in love!!!

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3 March 2013 09:20

FWB are wonderful for a person to help dust the sexual cobwebs away from the past. It can be transitional and wonderfully empowering.

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Willa Repoff

6 August 2014 01:59

I really like your website, thank you for keeping the website up to date.

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