Better known as ‘friends-with-benefits’ (FWB), this phenomenon–defined as a part-time, limited-time or even monogamous friendship between two people who enjoy physical intimacy with each other, but are not interested in being together long-term–is becoming more publicly-discussed and acceptable with the 2011 release of No Strings Attached with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher and the soon-to-be-released title with the namesake Friends with Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.
Same as Casual Sex?
No. The friendship aspect implies the opportunity to experience mutual support, affection and enjoyment and often fulfills romantic or emotional needs.
Same as a ‘One Night Stand’?
No. One night stands are typically purely for sexual gratification.
Do Men and Women See Eye-to-Eye?
I was not surprised when my poll indicated that men are all for FWB (no big surprise there), but I was shocked and amazed–to put it mildly–to discover that at least 50% of women also indicated that with the specification of the boundaries and limitations (i.e., rules), they could see a friends-with-benefits relationship working.
Deakin University researchers say that women 18-35 years of age are as likely as men to enjoy casual sexual arrangements, but for different reasons. Women say these arrangements give them sexual confidence whereas men are more likely to say they enjoy the intimacy of the friendship.
Women and men over the age of 35, who are coming out of long-term relationships or have recently gone through a divorce, are also more interested in engaging in FWB.
An increasing number of people are entering into friends-with-benefits relationships so instead of telling you not to do it, which quite frankly is DEFINITELY (bold, underscore, italics, all caps!!) my advice, here are my seven recommendations for how to do it properly!
1. Honesty — With yourself. If you are secretly hoping that your FWB will turn into a long-term relationship, don’t do it!
2. Discretion — My great-grandmother used to say that if you want to keep a secret, tell a dead person.
3. Focus on the task — Clearly the physical aspect is a key benefit here. Focus on it and do it well!
4. Trust — In other words, don’t be territorial. You don’t have the right.
5. Soberness — Need I say more?
6. Acquaintance vs. friend — If you pick an acquaintance, you don’t have to worry about losing a friend when it’s all over.
7. Rules — Clearly lay out the rules. For example, is PDA allowed (Public Display of Affection)?
And, most importantly, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
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All Tiffany Perkins-Munn, Relationship Psychology Examiner articles © 2011 by Tiffany Perkins-Munn; Reposts permitted with link to original article. All other rights reserved.