Friends? Lovers? Or somewhere in between?
At one time in our lives, most of us have contemplated entering into an infamous "friends with benefits" agreement. If you’ve seen recent rom-coms including Friends with Benefits or No Strings Attached, you know just the type of dynamic we’re talking about. It’s the old filler — relying on a close friend for sexual stimulation until the right person comes along.
It sounds far too simple. And it can be — for some people. Here are tried-and-true guidelines for keeping things clear cut between you and your new FWB (friend with benefits). Maybe you can have the best of both worlds.
Friends with Benefits: The Rules
People who have casual sex with a friend must follow certain rules to make the situation work well.
Rule #1: Set Clear Expectations
You must discuss what you expect out of the sex you have with your friend. That includes telling him that you do not want to be his girlfriend, and you do not want to feel obligated to do anything for him. The sex will only be about the sex, and not about the friendship or it turning into a relationship.
Rule #2: Pay Attention to Emotions
Many women can’t help but attach themselves emotionally to their sex buddy. While this is perfectly normal, it’s a disaster in the making for the situation. It’s important to keep your emotions in check when you have a friend with benefits. As soon as you feel yourself growing fonder of him, it’s time to re-evaluate your friendship status.
While it may not seem likely now, many people start as friends with benefits, and then embark on a full-blown, committed relationship. So don’t completely discount it as a possibility.
Rule #3: Avoid Jealousy
Your friend with benefits can be interested in someone else. He can go on dates, and he can have sex with other people.
The meaning behind, "no strings attached" means you hold no right to him. He is not yours, and he doesn’t have to do anything before considering what you might think or feel about it.
This is one of the reasons why many people don’t make it far with this type of arrangement. They can’t cope with the person they are sleeping with having sex with someone else or going out on dates with other people.
Rule #4: Breaking It Off When Someone Else Comes into Play
As soon as one of you finds someone else to be with in a committed relationship, the arrangement you and your friend have must cease. It’s not fair to the new person you or your friend is dating, and it’s considered cheating.
Some people have a difficult time stopping the arrangement when it becomes a habit and a normal part of the friendship. However, if you keep this rule in your mind the entire time, it should prepare you for letting go when the time comes.
Rule #5: It Needs to Feel Right
You may want to have sex with your friend, but if you feel guilty or uncomfortable about it all the time, it won’t work. You need to feel like it’s truly what you need in your life, and it’s the best solution to your circumstance at this time.
Having a friend with benefits doesn’t make you a slut, and it doesn’t make you a bad person. You and your friend have come to an agreement about the type of sexual relationship you will have, and it’s between the both of you. If you feel confident in the agreement, you won’t feel as though you are doing something shameful.
Rule #6 Discuss How Much You Should Talk About It
Some friends won’t tell a soul they are having sex with "no strings attached,” while others tell everyone because they think it’s the best thing they have ever had in their life.
Whether or not you tell anyone should be discussed with your sex buddy beforehand. He may want you to keep your relationship secret because it may ruin his reputation in finding someone to have a committed relationship with someday.
Rule #7: Have Protected Sex
Do not have unprotected sex with your sex buddy. You don’t want to get pregnant with someone who is just a friend.
Pregnancy shouldn’t be the only reason you use protection, though. You should also use protection to shield against sexually transmitted diseases. Just because he’s your good friend who says he’s told you everything doesn’t mean he’s told you he may have an STD. Also, if he’s having sex with other people, you never know if he may have contracted something from one of those women. Protect yourself.
Rule #8: Don’t Leave Belongings at His House
You are just a drive-by sexual encounter. You should never leave your personal belongings at his house because you cross into the girlfriend zone when you do that. Keep sex as the only reason why you are there, and do your grooming at home.
Rule #9: Set Times for Booty Calls
If you’re open to a booty call anytime of the day or night, then you don’t have to worry about this one. However, if you don’t want to be bothered at 3 a.m., you need to tell him that.
Setting rules on when sex is appropriate and when it’s not can stop the frustration of being rejected at certain times because it’s inconvenient.
Rule #10: Keep It as a Benefit
Having a sex buddy should always be a benefit to you, not just to him. If you ever start to feel as though you need to have sex with him because this is the arrangement you made and you need to keep him happy, end it. You should never have to feel as though it’s your responsibility to relieve his sexual tension. You both need to want to have sex to make this work out for both of you.
Will It Work for You?
Whether friends with benefits will work for you depends on if you are able to follow the rules. If you are unable to control the situation and your emotions, it’s not something you want to get wrapped up in because it will only hurt you in the end.
The goal of this arrangement should be satisfying a temporary need until someone else comes along. As long as you see it this way from beginning to end, you should be able to make having a sex buddy work for you.