The perks and perils of friends with benefits

The notion of a no-strings arrangement where both parties agree to sleep together without entering into the emotional commitment of a full-blown relationship may sound ideal, but is it really a viable option? We find out…
The Perks

It’s convenient
One of the joys of the FWB arrangement is convenience. Neither of you can be accused of using one another because you’ve both agreed to put the emotional baggage aside and aren’t expecting to be wined, dined and wooed in the traditional sense as there are no expectations other than sex. However Kate Taylor, relationships expert at Match.com warns against behaving too casually towards your FWB buddy “Remember that basic manners still apply: don’t feel you can get away with too many last-minute, late-night booty calls. Give some notice when you ask to see them. That way they’ll feel more appreciated and get in the mood, leading to a hotter experience for both of you.”

You’re more relaxed
Firstly, it’s much easier to feel comfortable around someone you know as a friend already. You can achieve a higher level of intimacy much faster without having to worry too much about performance or body issues like you would if you were sleeping with someone new for the first time. Secondly, the removal of emotional entanglement makes sex a lot simpler and therefore a lot more enjoyable– particularly for men.
The Perils

One of you can become too attached
“The biggest risk is that one of you will want things to progress to the next level and start a relationship, and the other one won’t”, says Kate. Men and women are fundamentally different in the way they connect with each other. The more time a woman spends with a man, the more likely she is to start to develop feelings for him which will eventually shake the foundations of the FWB arrangement and lead to anger, aggression and resentment about feeling used.

It can damage your self-esteem
Agreeing to be nothing more than a sexual partner can make you feel as though you’re not interesting enough to date. “If a man asks if you’d be interested in a no-strings arrangement, don’t make the mistake of being flattered and thinking it’s a step towards love – it’s not.” says Kate, “A man who truly liked you wouldn’t want anything casual, he’d want you to be his girlfriend straight away.” You deserve better. Historically, men focus on the benefits, women on the friends which is why the whole concept often comes a cropper.

It may ruin your friendship
If your friend (with benefits) is someone you’ve known for a long time and whom you value as a good friend, you ought to be cautious about blurring the lines between friendship and sex. Once you cross into sexual territory it’s often impossible to return to the old dynamic which made your friendship so wonderful and ultimately you could end up losing your cherished friend.

It could harm your future romantic relationships
Problems can arise when you start dating someone new and they inevitably discover that you used to be intimate with someone you still see on a regular basis. Understandably your new partner is bound to be wary of your friendship not to mention jealous and/or suspicious and that is a far from ideal way to embark on a trusting and fulfilling new relationship.

5 tips for a healthy friends with benefits relationship
•    Lay down some ground rules from day one.
•    Never talk about or hint at future plans together.
•    Respect your FWB by not talking or bragging about someone you might be romantically pursuing.
 
•    Avoid deep and meaningful conversations. Keep topics light and entertaining.
•    Try to conduct your FWB relationships with acquaintances rather than friends. That way when the arrangement comes to an end, you can drift out of each other’s without the risk of future repercussions.