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What research tells us about the whos, whys, and hows of hookups

What Happens After Friends-With-Benefits?

Friends-with-benefits (FWBs) are quite popular among U.S. college students—about 60% report at least one FWB at some point in their life. Most of these relationships end without turning into long-term romantic affairs. So what happens after FWBs? Read More

What??

And let's not forget about sharing all those nasty STD's - that's another "benefit". Geez.

STDs? You act like that's

STDs? You act like that's inherent with sex that you will get STDs. You seem to have a poor understanding of sex, STDs, and a normal sex life. When I was in college and having a few sexual partners a year, everyone was getting tested regularly during their physicals and using condoms, the risk of STD transmission was very minor. Fear of STD's shouldn't inhibit someone from having a healthy and fun sex life. Take the basic precautions and test regularly if you're sexually active. Don't fear having sex, it's a normal part of life.

Sadly, this analysis

Sadly, this analysis completely neglects the subjects of 1) effects on mutual friends(hips) and 2) effects on future romantic relationships for either 'FWB'. Many have observed that these two other sets of relationships are what really suffer. Excluding them from the present discussion encourages the FWBs to focus on their own "fun" and ignore the other interests at stake, many of which hold the potential to harm the future romantic relationships and friendships each of the FWBs both individually and together. In that sense, this analysis is presented in a selfish or morally-relativistic/solipsistic frame that focuses the issue entirely on the desires of the FWBs and ignores the larger social context. What research has been done to explore effects on the whole (contemporaneous) social milieu of the FWB, and effects on their social and romantic relationships going forward? For example, the presence of 'former' casual sex partners (who can never really be considered 'former,' as the casual nature of the interaction implies that it could recur at any time, given changed circumstances or contexts of convenience) can have a chilling effect on the attitudes and behavior of new, more 'serious' romantic interests, or create unrealistic expectations for behavior in future partners, preventing the FWBs from making necessary progress in their own emotional and romantic maturity and lowering their chances of future success. Likewise, the social identity of FWBs among their mutual friends (who are likely to become mutual friends of future romantic partners) is of course altered in ways that will affect new relationships going forward, both in terms of those friends' perceptions and the shared perceptions those friends transmit to new entrants into the social group.

Thank You, I whole heartedly

Thank You, I whole heartedly AGREE

How different is that from

How different is that from having ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends in you friend group? I'm friends with most of my ex girlfriends still. And in my friend groups, which is pretty large, there are lots of exes, some who are now dating or married to other friends. I don't see that "chilling effect" you mention at all, do you have some statistical evidence to back it up? It seems more what you are touching on is there could be jealousy issues or mutual friends may pass judgement, and guess what, that happens in every social group regardless of whom has slept with whom. Part of becoming an adult is not worrying about what your friends think and finding friends that love you for who you are with all of your baggage, instead of constantly judging you. Sounds like you need to find better friends.

Dan is the voice of reason here

I have remained friends with several of my past boyfriends. One I have known for over 20 years!

WHY? Because they are decent, hardworking, responsible people whom I value and respect. We are all in our 50's and 60's now (and yes, I am married and these romances turned friends go back years before I met my current husband and I don't hide them from my husband).

Just because things did not pan out romantic wise - why in the world would I throw the baby out with the bath water and cut high quality people out of my life?

well, drawing examples from

well, drawing examples from individual experiences might not necessarily negate the potential effects FWBs could have on future partners. The proposed "chilling effect" did pointed out the article mainly focused on the FWB issue in a interpersonal level and few information was provided in a broader social context. In my personal opinion, there could be some negative effects but it depends on how close is the relationship you keep with this FWB.

This study is a part and

This study is a part and parcel of the cultural difference about which many people are still researching. Our culture gives us different values and that thus leads to a change in our cognition. This concept might work in some places but not in all. What about the emotions involved in sharing? Something which is kept as a way of showing love and affection cannot be just used to satisfy one's wants and desires. At first it seems to be a good option but later on it might turn out to be a baggage of emotions which is difficult to handle or even deal with. Problems may also arise when one starts having feelings for the other and later on lead to misunderstanding.In my point of view, it depends on the individuals and the society they belong to since it has a great impact on us.

I think the comment "if your

I think the comment "if your friendship cannot survive some physical intimacy that ends eventually, chances are, it wasn't a friendship worth keeping anyway" is not true.

I think as people we engage in activities that can be harmful to relationships for the sake of "fun" and based on emotion. Not all persons are ready for the baggage that can come along with FWB and as such the quality of the friendship changes.

See above comments for pre-conceived cultural expectations

People have been have friends with benefits since the dawn of time. Culturally, this behavior is viewed as repugnant and scary, which is why many people don't talk about what they do behind closed doors. But now young people are admitting that as the pressure to succeed and get good grades while in college is taking up most of their free time, they are also admitting to Friends With Benefit relationships. The psych and religious industry shudders and starts pontificating about the danger of this phenomenon.

But then come the studies, and it turns out that the world does not come to an end when people engage in sex with people with whom they know but are not in a committed relationship. Friends With Benefit relationships probably don't impact future committed relationships or platonic relationships either. As a society, we can't really expect young people to hold off having sex and marriage until their late 20s, and still expect them to get a difficult college degree, volunteer, intern, work and get an employment foothold in a difficult economy all at the same time. That isn't realistic. People will always have sex, and they will find a way to do it whether society approves of it or doesn't.

Win your boyfriend back after a breakup.

What happened to love relationships and how do these people expect to maintain a healthy relationship when they get married?

re:

Dawie Mostert wrote:
What happened to love relationships and how do these people expect to maintain a healthy relationship when they get married?

I would bet they have healthier relationships when they are married. How many couples that were virgins when they got married do you know that have had their relationships last over 20 years? Part of growing up is learning about your body, your sexuality, gaining experience with a variety of partners and a variety of relationships and friendships. It helps you figure out what you like and don't like, what you want and don't want. Honestly I would have pegged the number of FWB relationships much higher among people under 40. I don't know anyone that hasn't had some type of relationship like this in highschool, college or during their 20s-30s. What evidence do you have that a FWB experience would make someone unable to maintain a healthy relationship or marriage later in life? That seems like ridiculous assertion pushed by someone that's had very little sexual experience.

People can have 'fwbs' and have LT successful marriages

FWBs serve the purpose of friendship and satisfying sex. Marriage is a much deeper commitment, with deeper emotions. There is a place for both marriage and FWBs. Both serve different needs.

Look at the numbers again

You can't compare "50% are as close or even closer than before" with "30% less close"; you need to compare it with "50% less close or not friends at all". (That's rounding the numbers a bit.)

My experience with FWB

My experience with FWB relationships is that the female part of the equation never thinks, or tells herself, it is a FWB relationship. I've had many of these relationships before and with just about every single one the woman would tell me on the phone that she's not that type of girl, I think to test me, so I just roll with it and say, sure let's just be friends then no sex needed. Of course when we're just friends that means we're still able to date whoever we want and have sex with whoever we want. This usually lasts for about a week and then they want to have sex. Lol. My guess is they just want to be on record saying they are not that type of girl but totally are that type of girl but don't want anyone to think they are that type of girl and when they see I'm fine with it and am still looking in that case they change their minds (or maybe are just testing me like I said). My thinking is hey tell yourself whatever you got to to sleep at night. Lol.

Social stigmas and expectations

michael1_4 wrote:
My experience with FWB relationships is that the female part of the equation never thinks, or tells herself, it is a FWB relationship. I've had many of these relationships before and with just about every single one the woman would tell me on the phone that she's not that type of girl, I think to test me, so I just roll with it and say, sure let's just be friends then no sex needed. Of course when we're just friends that means we're still able to date whoever we want and have sex with whoever we want. This usually lasts for about a week and then they want to have sex. Lol. My guess is they just want to be on record saying they are not that type of girl but totally are that type of girl but don't want anyone to think they are that type of girl and when they see I'm fine with it and am still looking in that case they change their minds (or maybe are just testing me like I said). My thinking is hey tell yourself whatever you got to to sleep at night. Lol.

Some things to consider:

When a man has more sexual partners, the social response is usually "he's sowing his wild oats" or "playing the field". When a woman has more sexual partners, the social response is typically "she's a slut", "someone with low morals", or similar responses. There's also the general community response to sexuality itself. Is his/her local community more sex positive or sex negative? Also, what is the man's response to the woman's sexual "aggressiveness"? If a woman is honest about her sexuality and what she wants, how will that be received by her potential partners? Will you still respect her and think well of her when she says she wants sex or is it better for her to just "agree" to have sex when it you suggest it?

You completely missed his point

Christine wrote:
michael1_4 wrote:
My experience with FWB relationships is that the female part of the equation never thinks, or tells herself, it is a FWB relationship. I've had many of these relationships before and with just about every single one the woman would tell me on the phone that she's not that type of girl, I think to test me, so I just roll with it and say, sure let's just be friends then no sex needed. Of course when we're just friends that means we're still able to date whoever we want and have sex with whoever we want. This usually lasts for about a week and then they want to have sex. Lol. My guess is they just want to be on record saying they are not that type of girl but totally are that type of girl but don't want anyone to think they are that type of girl and when they see I'm fine with it and am still looking in that case they change their minds (or maybe are just testing me like I said). My thinking is hey tell yourself whatever you got to to sleep at night. Lol.

Some things to consider:

When a man has more sexual partners, the social response is usually "he's sowing his wild oats" or "playing the field". When a woman has more sexual partners, the social response is typically "she's a slut", "someone with low morals", or similar responses. There's also the general community response to sexuality itself. Is his/her local community more sex positive or sex negative? Also, what is the man's response to the woman's sexual "aggressiveness"? If a woman is honest about her sexuality and what she wants, how will that be received by her potential partners? Will you still respect her and think well of her when she says she wants sex or is it better for her to just "agree" to have sex when it you suggest it?

His point is the head games he has to play just to have sex. Why do men have to treat women in a way that makes them have to wonder whether we like them or not? Just to get them in bed. If a woman knows for a fact that we are interested she will put a man in the friend zone / backup plan and move on. If she knows for a fact that we are not interested she will forget about it and move on.

Why the hell do you women make us play silly games that make you have to wonder whether we like you or not to get you in the sack? It is really sad that we have to play these games for a dopamine release in women to get a sexual response. These constant push/pull tactics that create a sense of wonder and cause a dopamine/neurotransmitters response is at the heart of the male pickup artist community and is the basis of the book "The Rules" that was specifically written for women.

The deception in this game is sickening and is destructive and can be deadly as people have committed suicide over it. Where has the Empathy gone in our world and will all of this Narcissistic behavior ever end?

Because women have a lot to lose

A damaged female sexual reputation can lead to negative consequences at a job, school, family and housing. It make take months to recover and cost lots of money in the process. Nobody wants to have relocate, find new friends or look bad, especially with family.

People would like to think honesty is the best policy. Not always.

I agree totally with this

I agree totally with this article. I believe depending on where you are in life can make a huge difference in how these relationships can be satisfying for both parties and can end well. Some dont depending on just how mature people are also. Responsibility with good intentions and an agenda of respect is always important in any case. If you are truly. SFWB.

Really?

FWB and poly relationships is actually about using people for one's own needs and interests. There is little consideration for others in this, just being wrapped up in fulfilling ones own needs and desires.

I don't know how this qualifies as ethical let alone good, for anyone.

FWB may be becoming more

FWB may be becoming more common, but contrary to popular belief, it's not an easy form of relationship. It's not easy to start. It's not easy to sustain. It's not easy to end. Coming out with your head above water requires being completely honest with your FWB about your intentions and the direction you intend the relationship to take; the LAST thing you want is the other party to think there's more to it than it really is, or else you're better off just staying friends:

http://www.abcsofattraction.com/blog/friends-with-benefits/

In order to be FWB, you have to let your friend know that you genuinely value them. Females in particular are prone to feel like you'll judge them as a slut if they indulge in a FWB relationship with you. But you also have to decide what it is you want. Just sex? To stay friends after? To develop a relationship? These are all considerations that shouldn't be ignored, or you're cultivating a disaster.

Oh my, we can't have a study!

Oh no, a study? Really? Questions, answers, analysis and conclusion. Can't be.

When it comes to friends with benefits the media, the religions and our psychological leaders who write books have all come to an agreement, FWBs = bad, Marriage = good. We can't have studies that prove the opposite. Blasphemy!!!!.

Zhana Vrangalova, run for your life. Somebody is bound to want to burn you at the stake.

FWB's in young age (prior to marriage) and FWB's in much older age

If/when I become widowed or divorced (55 now) I may very well go back to have a FWB, like I did when I was in my 20's before marriage.

Marriage entails a boatload of responsibilities/burden/financial liabilities that I don't think I will want to take on in older age. It is a lot of work and I probably won't have the energy or, more importantly, the interest or inclination. I see marriage now as something to do when you want children.

As long as I have some male companionship with some intimacy, someone to do stuff with once in a while - I probably will not need marriage again, so a FWB might be in order.

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Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D., studies how various expressions of sexuality are related to psychological health and wellbeing.

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