Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gettin' Naughty - Friends With Benefits

What are friends with benefits? A friend with benefits is someone with whom you have no-strings-attached sex. There are no expensive dinners, romantic dates, hearts and flowers or commitments. It’s a friend you can call when you are horny and want to hook up. I’m not talking one night stand or casual sex with a stranger. This is a friend who you share sex with on a regular basis.

Sexual friendships can be satisfying and have the added bonus of easy-going affection, free of the stresses and drama which can be a big part of romantic relationships. There are times in your life when all you want is occasional companionship and sex without obligations and entanglements.

All of the fun with none of the dating hassles. Sounds great, right?

Having a friend with benefits or fuck buddy has become more common in recent years, especially among young adults. Let’s face it, women are more independent now, and building a career can leave little time for committed relationships. That doesn’t mean the libido magically goes to sleep and you no longer desire sex or the benefits of a physical relationship. Arrangements with a trusted friend can provide a relatively safe and convenient environment for recreational sex.

While a casual, sexual relationship may sound easy and attractive, beware of the inherent pitfall—becoming emotionally attached. Friends with benefits situations are delicate, and it is often more difficult for women to keep their feelings out of the intimate equation. Being turned down by a fuck buddy because he has an actual date is bound to make you feel jealous and suffer the painful sting of rejection. As two friends grow and mature, the needs of each are going to change. It’s inevitable that eventually someone is going to seek a romantic relationship, either with the friend or with someone else.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes this relationship alternative works out to be both mutually satisfying and enduring. Go into the arrangement with your eyes open and don’t let your pal obscure the view of Mr. Right should he happen to come along. Take the time to talk through the expectations of both parties, and set down some mutually agreeable ground rules. Let’s face it, unless both of you are getting what you want out of it the relationship isn’t going to work. There are many things to consider beforehand.

Finding a friend with benefits can be a challenge. Not only must your friend be open and sexual, but must be in a particular stage of their life to be up for a casual involvement. If you have a friend who may be suitable and ready for such an arrangement, test the waters. Start a conversation to discover the candidate’s attitude toward sex, relationships and being single. In a comfortable friendship it should be easy to determine if someone is open about sex, misses having it regularly, wants to get some, and if they are looking for commitment. Share your own mind-set and make sure they know where you stand. Chances are that, if you’re close friends, you already know each others feelings on such topics.

If there is mutual physical attraction, needs and desire for a non-committed sexual relationship, let it happen on its own. You can’t force this. Either it will happen or it won’t. Becoming friends with benefits is not something you can scam or sweet-talk someone into. Take time to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Just because you both agree to casual sex doesn’t mean you can forget all the rules of sexual and social etiquette. There must be respect and equality. You also have to impress each other like in any relationship, just in different ways, such as with sexual skill.

When adding sex to a friendship there is going to be complications. Should one of you become attached and develop romantic feelings beyond general affection and attraction, someone is liable to get hurt. Also, once you’ve crossed the boundaries into sex, running into each other in public situations may become uncomfortable. And there is a thin gray line between what constitutes going out as friends and going out as a couple. You should still be able to hang out or go to the movies like before without it turning into a date.

You must also consider how your friends will react. Will they accept the relationship without pressure? Will you even tell them about it? How will you act in public? Are there mutual friends who will have a problem with the arrangement because they have an interest in the other person?

Keeping both of you safe is another big issue. If you are both free to sleep with other people during the course of your agreement then make sure to protect yourselves from STDs and pregnancy. Stay away from sleeping with any of his other friends. While your buddy knows you’re sleeping with other people, he probably doesn’t want to hear about it at the gym.

Essentials for success
· Be clear about what you want
· Carefully consider pitfalls and your expectations
· Choose wisely. Friends with girlfriends are off limits
· Talk openly and frankly with your friend
· Establish rules and boundaries
· Make sure you both agree to the rules and boundaries
· Stick to the rules and boundaries
· Talk about it if emotions become involved
· End it if it’s no longer what you want or if it changes

There are more advantages than just having sex. You’re spending time with someone whose company you enjoy and who you know is not a total jerk. Awkwardness should be at a minimum because you are already comfortable with each other and have an established friendship.

If you are both unattached, consenting adults who don’t desire a traditional romantic relationship, have set ground rules which you stick to, and keep yourselves safe, then why not have some fun while it lasts? What do you think? Can love and romance be kept separate from sex? Is there the possibility of such a friendship working or is it a train wreck waiting to happen?


Ciana Stone said...

Fabulous post Nic! And talk about food for thought!! I'd love to hear from someone who's actually had a succcessful "friend with benefits" relationship. Most that I know of have not worked well because once sex entered the picture one or the other of the friends had a change in attitude and became rather proprietary about the other.

You DO come up with thought provoking topics Goddess of Naughty!

Nicole Austin said...

Thanks, Ci!

I actually had a friends with benefits relationship that lasted successfully for 2 years. It was a time in my life just after my divorce when the situation worked well for me. I think part of the reason it worked is because we lived about 30 minutes apart and didn't run into each other at times other than when one of us had called and we set something up.

Surprisingly enough, it was the guy who developed romantic feelings. I didn't realize how strong his feeling were until he broke it off after learning that I had a date lined up. He felt jealous and betrayed, even though we'd agreed to what was acceptable ahead of time.

I enjoyed our time together and have many fond memories, but I knew he was not someone I wanted anything serious with, especially not at that time in my life.

The unfortunate thing I found is that because he'd developed strong emotional ties it made returning to just being friends impossible. I don't regret our decisions, but I do miss his friendship and the easy-going intimacy we shared!

Sally Painter said...

Great topic, Nic! Your experience is very insightful. I think it would take some very compatible circumstances to make such a relatinoship work.

NathalieGray said...

That's the best post I've ever read. What a great topic.

And I'll take two friends with benefits, please. :)

Nicole Austin said...

LOL...two, Nat? *waggling eyebrows* You go, hussy!

N.J.Walters said...

Great topic, Nic.

I honestly don't think it's something I could have done at any stage in my life. I know I'd get too emotionally involved. I do believe it is a situation that can work if both parties want the same thing.

Robin said...

Awesome blog post! I've never had a friend with benefits but one of my girl-friends has one and it works well for them. I applaud the concept for those not looking for something too serious.

We ALL have needs after all. *G*