Nothing says “you’re my best friend” like an orgasm with no obligations. For people looking for a no-strings-attached casual sexual relationship, friends with benefits seems the way to go.
Relationships, like professional tennis, require a lot of energy from both people, as well as pretty outfits. For college students trying to balance school, social lives and jobs, they simply don’t have time to play the relationship game. Friends with benefits ensures that both academic and sexual needs are met and allows each person the freedom to do their own thing. However, sex can make any relationship messy. If a student doesn’t have time to participate in a relationship, do they really have the time to pick up the pieces of one? Does friends with benefits really work?
Having a friend with benefits can be a freeing, gratifying experience. You get stuff done, and stuff gets done to you. In my interviews with Florida Gulf Coast University students, the response to friends with benefits has been overwhelmingly positive. Being in a relationship can be draining and stressful. You have to put the other person first and give away parts of yourself, whether it be money or values that money can’t buy. Having a friend with benefits gives you an opportunity to really let loose and have some fun. As opposed to learning how to please someone else, you learn new things about yourself and what you like. Like going to a sexual tutor, a friend with benefits shows you new tricks that will wow your future partner. You don’t have to stay and cuddle after sex, but if it’s good you may high-five.
A friend with benefits may also be more open to new kinks or positions that someone you are committed to is inhibited or unwilling to try. However, as with all sexual relationships, there is the chance that your friend with benefits could leave you for someone else, or worse: You could develop unreciprocated feelings for them. Oxytocin is a chemical released in orgasm that promotes bonding. While this may have been a useful evolutionary tool for our ancestors, it can be a drug that ties two unlikely people together and gives the illusion of love. To sleep with someone for sexual release can be psychologically dangerous if you don’t know what you truly want.
The biggest problem of the friend with benefits is poor communication. In college, a time when we don’t know what we’re going to be doing next week, it is perfectly normal to not know who you are dating. If your relationship status is unknown with your significant other, the best thing to do is to ask, or, like fourth graders studying for the FCAT, look for context clues. Are you talking a lot? Do they do things with you that do not involve condoms or lube? Do they do things for you, like walk your dog or make you call them when you land at the airport? Unlike dating, a friend with benefits involves few sentiments. If you are going to have a friend with benefits you, need to make it clear what you want; and if the other person develops feelings for you, have the decency to walk away.
To make your casual relationship clear, the time spent with your friend with benefits should be in a bed. This means no going as dates to weddings or baptisms. Got the hots for that eccentric lady who always brings a watermelon to class? Go for it, stud!
Your friends never have to know. Being with your friend with benefits should be as easy as stealing a mood ring – and just as thrilling. Usually, you see your friend with benefits at night, like when you’re looking inside the fridge at 2 a.m. for some leftover pizza. You should never give gifts, as a present can be misleading.
The most important friend with benefits rule is not to get attached – so don’t hookup with a Clingy Candace or a Depressed Daryl. These people don’t have a lot going on and are more likely to get hurt. This person should know that you have tattoos, but they should not know what they mean to you. They certainly shouldn’t have been there holding your hand. You also should never have sex with someone with whom you have a previous emotional history.
In many ways, a friend with benefits can be a stepping stone to making a commitment and having a relationship. It all depends on what each person wants. After all, good relationships and great sex come from communication and freedom.