What are friends with benefits?

By: Naveen B

According to Wikipedia, the term “friends with benefits” cannot be traced back to its origin, although it is commonly used and practiced in modern society.

Among the earliest known uses of the term is in Alanis Morissette’s song Head Over Feet, in which she sings, “you’re my best friend, best friend with benefits”.

In 2003, a poll was taken at Rutgers University asking students if they believed that FWB relationships were wrong or morally unacceptable.

The results of said poll concluded that 58% felt FWB relationships were acceptable, 38% felt they were wrong but understandable under certain circumstances, and only 4% found them to be morally unacceptable.

What are friends with benefits? Another common viewpoint on FWB relationships amongst some individuals of different genders are men considering them s#x buddies while women consider them as merely close friends. 

One could easily deduce from such a notion that men tend to want more out of their FWB relationships than women do, however depending on what kind of situation you’re both involved in together could go either way.

Neither perception of a supposed Friends With Benefits Relationship is necessarily right or wrong because each individual defines what their own personal concept is.

Related: Your complete guide to friends with benefits relationship (Introduction)

The fact that people can define them so differently means there really isn’t any set-in-stone rulebook for how to handle it which leaves plenty of room for interpretation among those who partake in practicing one.

It has been argued by psychologists studying social behavior and evolutionary psychology that Friends With Benefits Relationships have become increasingly popular because they better fit into our human instinctual desires by enhancing genetic fitness; gaining physical pleasure without any long-term investment commitment.

Thanks to safe s#x practices but also avoiding disease transmission thanks to proper screening protocols being administered before engaging in s#xual intercourse.

When an individual engages in a FWBR then they aren’t reducing their chances of reproducing since most often these partners will still typically remain s#xually exclusive with each other, even though when having safer s#x precautions are always strongly advised since anyone can catch diseases even when practicing protected s#x.

When an FWBR works out well there is no worry about forming committed relationship obligations nor does one have to worry about breakups due to pressure from other loved ones wanting to start families; all worries that come along with traditional monogamous relationships. 

Other perks include enjoying time spent dating multiple potential partners instead of settling down with just one person yet never being committed or legally bound to another.

Then again many people nowadays enjoy committing to someone special, thereby aiming for a committed relationship which may or may not eventually lead to marriage and a family down the road, leading others to believe that maybe FWB relationships don’t really fit in with 21st century life.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem as though they are going anywhere anytime soon and they will likely continue to be practiced by many individuals until attitudes towards them begin to change once again or we begin evolving into beings that don’t need s#x in order to survive.

The important thing is just realizing whether or not your idea of love matches up with whatever you personally see your partner offering in terms of various expectations whether emotional, s#xual, sensual and/or otherwise.

In this complete Guide, I have researched and gathered some of the facts that everyone should know before getting into FWB relationship. And tips to make FWB work successfully. Read on and apply to your own life if they resonate with you.

What are friends with benefits?


Friends with benefits relationships are a type of s#xual arrangement between two people who are not committed in any way and don’t consider themselves romantic partners. Instead, they have s#x whenever they feel like it, without committing to each other emotionally or otherwise.

The term is often used in reference to casual hookups between friends or acquaintances; for example, an activity partner one might meet at yoga class or on Tinder. Other friends with benefits arrangements are more elaborate.

For example when an established couple agrees to have a kind of extended open relationship that includes having s#x outside their primary relationship. While arrangements such as these may sound great on paper, there can be serious consequences if you enter into such a situation unprepared and unwilling to deal honestly with your emotions.

In many cases, friends with benefits end up hurting rather than helping those involved. In addition, friendships ruined by s#x-only relationships make some wonder if FWB situations were really worth all that trouble in the first place.

There are plenty of valid reasons why you should stay away from friends with benefits – especially while still figuring out what works best for you s#xually and how to avoid ending up in painful emotional entanglements with bedmates.

Definition of friends with benefits:

In a general sense, friends with benefits is an informal arrangement between two individuals who get together for s#x on a regular basis without any romantic attachment or commitment. 

Some people who practice FWB relationships may be in monogamous relationships or marriages where s#x might not be happening as much as they’d like it to.

They have a strong friendship and desire more s#xual satisfaction but don’t want anything serious, so they decide to spice things up by adding another person into their bedroom mix. 

Friends with benefits allows them each their own s#xual satisfaction while maintaining that close friendship that makes them comfortable enough in each other’s presence to make love.

The term was coined within urban American culture and is used largely across social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

A February 2013 study published in Archives of S#xual Behavior confirms that males are more likely than females to participate in FWBs.

There also seems to be less concern about STDs within male FWBs versus female FWBs; however, it’s important for both partners to discuss potential concerns when engaging in either type of relationship.

There are different types of FWB relationship structures including polyamorous and open relationships. Although it’s not a requirement, some couples tend to use apps such as Tinder in order to find like-minded partners for their FWB arrangement.

The positives of a friends with benefits arrangement include enjoying s#x without any strings attached, not having to worry about an emotional commitment, no longer having to be stressed about finding someone you want to date and enjoy s#xual satisfaction without any physical limitations.

However, it can also be challenging as well since there’s no spark or chemistry in your bedroom like there is with traditional dating – making it even more important for both parties to share similar s#xual interests.

If you decide to enter into a friends with benefits relationship structure, it’s crucial that both people involved have strong self-esteem, communication skills and mutual respect in order for things to work out over time.

What does fwb mean? 


The acronym FWB stands for friends with benefits, and it’s an arrangement where two people have a physical or s#xual relationship but aren’t exclusive, aren’t dating, don’t call each other boyfriend/girlfriend, and aren’t emotionally attached. People get into FWB relationships for a variety of reasons, but according to Psychology Today, among these reasons are:

1) The participants want s#x without commitment;

2) They’re just looking for something temporary;

3) They already have a primary partner or spouse and they’d like some fun on the side;

4) One or both participants don’t want any more serious relationships in their lives.

Sometimes FWB arrangements are entered into on purpose, but sometimes they happen as a result of miscommunication between partners.

For example, someone might say to her partner I’m totally down for casual s#x when she really means that she’s not available for anything long-term but is open to casual flings—but her guy misreads her completely and proceeds as if he has an open invitation all night long. 

Alternatively, he may initiate a FWB situation because he feels more committed than his girl friend does—he thinks she said she wanted a no-strings-attached friendship when all she meant was that she wasn’t interested in anything serious yet, whereas he thought there were a few strings involved (like being able to hold hands and go out together occasionally).

As per recent studies on multiple dating sites, like tinder, snapchat , Instagram and facebook etc. Friendships always start from friends who talk about their problems to one another, hang out at home to watch movies or play video games etc.

These are very small steps which later turns into a deeper bond, many times so strong that leads them towards friends with benefits situation i.e., carrying such relationship only as pure love friends instead of having any type of physical intimacy and remaining special to one another.

This can lead to various difficulties in life situations at workplace, family gathering and sometimes even extended problems after breakup (if ever happens) of relationship due to hurt feelings.

Relationships become messy when couples start ignoring trust while they carry on with friendship and begin using drugs or alcohol during such process.

A lot of confusion arises within women and men when you suddenly lose control over yourself physically. When you willingly give yourself up to your best mate against your will thinking things would be fine next day morning but never happens.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with agreeing to be just friends, with keeping it light and fun, since rules make everything boring.

The solution lies in choosing wisely who we confide in or commit ourselves too. We must understand our priorities – our ambitions, aspirations and dreams before falling for anyone else. Life is unpredictable hence we must find ways of beating odds by keeping everyone including ourselves happy.

In fact, a 2016 Tinder and Leisure Life poll found that 53% of singles say they’d be open to casual s#x with no strings attached. And more than half (56%) would rather have several meaningful s#xual encounters than one night stands.

All you need is to believe in yourself, trust your instincts and look at everything with new eyes. If it means stepping away from people who bring you down then do it because true friends will understand your point of view but toxic ones will never support you till end.

Other studies show that women are less likely to engage in FWB relationships than men—perhaps because they’re less likely to initiate such relationships, perhaps because men don’t feel comfortable when their female partners initiate them, perhaps both.

A study conducted by Jon Birger on over 1,000 Americans revealed that 31 percent of women had ever been in an FWB situation versus 50 percent of men. Among married people surveyed, 10 percent reported having engaged in an FWB situation compared with 28 percent of single participants—again, higher for men than women.

Another reason why I think women might be less apt to engage in FWB relationships is because they get hurt more often. According to research presented by psychologist Seth Schwartz at last year’s American Psychological Association conference, although people tend to overestimate how much their partners suffer as a result of extradyadic relations, he told Broadly.

Women report suffering significantly greater emotional consequences than men. Another study showed that women were 11 times likelier than men to think about suicide after cheating . So even if extramarital affairs can’t kill you—and statistically speaking, probably won’t —women still seem likelier than men to have very real feelings about engaging in FWBs. What can make or break such a relationship?

According to Jocelyn Wentland , PhD, founder of Real Social Dynamics and author of Seduction Science: Why It Works and How To Do It Right , guys should frame it as something two people are doing together rather than a guy just using someone.

Men should also be sure she understands there’s no expectation for him beforehand so that she doesn’t come across bitter afterwards, Dr. Wentland said. The conversation shouldn’t revolve around exclusivity either.

If a girl asks, ‘Do you want to be exclusive?’—most girls are testing you and they’ll be upset if you say yes, Dr. Wentland said. Say, ‘I really value our relationship and my future with you,’ instead.

By saying something along those lines, it takes any pressure off of her to feel obligated to enter into a serious relationship and alleviates her guilt for potentially hurting him in the process.

For many women in FWB situations, it helps that they know they’re not supposed to see each other again afterwards and they aren’t leading him on—it allows them to let go of self-preservation so they can enjoy themselves without worrying about repercussions. Don’t lead a woman on if you know that it’s going to be temporary.

Who are friends with benefits?

Friends with Benefits typically refers to two heteros#xual individuals who occasionally engage in non-committal s#x. Many times one member may approach another about a potential Friends With Benefits situation, though sometimes it takes place organically.

If one of you has feelings for your partner, then chances are you might want to reevaluate your arrangement. If both of you have feelings for each other – then by all means give things a go.

What is not Friends With Benefits?

It is important that there is no confusion between these relationships and actual friendships because they differ greatly from one another.

People generally become friends with someone over time as they grow comfortable around each other and develop an affinity towards them, which can take years to happen if it happens at all.

So if you’re looking for something more than just s#xual intimacy but less than love and marriage, being a friend and having physical intimacy can be tricky territory to navigate – so do so wisely.

How does FWB works?

How does fwb works? Friends with benefits is an informal commitment, a voluntary contract entered into by two people for their mutual benefit. It doesn’t require a lot of discussion and it isn’t binding—both parties can back out at any time.

As long as they don’t fall in love or make other big changes in their lives, breaking up is easy. They don’t have to schedule breakup s#x or end things amicably.

If they no longer get along or decide that they’re not enjoying themselves anymore, one person simply stops seeing his or her FW partner again.

Or, if both members of the arrangement are having fun but want to try something different, they could ask each other if there’s anyone else he or she would rather date instead. Like all relationships that start without a ton of preparation and planning on both sides.

However, sometimes friends with benefits hit snags; disagreements over what constitutes benefits can flare up between partners after a while.

One or both participants may also find that they prefer monogamy—or, in rare cases, nonmonogamy—but when you enter into an agreement like a friends with benefits situation knowing full well that it might change later on down the line, you accept those possible consequences ahead of time.

What you really need to know about friends with benefits: The primary difference between friends with benefits and regular ol’ dating is friendship.

Since neither party calls himself boyfriend/girlfriend or goes out together in public together as anything more than good pals, usually they feel comfortable talking frankly about what they do behind closed doors and coming clean quickly when feelings get complicated.

You may be tempted to view friends with benefits as a step toward committed monogamy, but remember that it takes some skill and forethought to navigate these kinds of arrangements successfully.

Your personality will determine whether you’d be better off searching for someone who wants an exclusive relationship or signing up for the nearest speed-dating event.

But if your ideal match does happen to pop onto your radar unexpectedly, remember that friends with benefits agreements aren’t legally binding—so even though being called off on doesn’t exactly feel great, it’s not cause for extreme heartbreak either.

How to be friends with benefits?


The basis of all friendships are open lines of communication. Being honest about your feelings and intentions is extremely important, especially in FWBs relationships. Some people may find it easier to communicate their feelings while others might avoid doing so altogether.

However, honesty will keep things clear between both parties involved. Most FWB situations occur by coincidence while others are created intentionally by those who seek out a partner with no strings attached s#x without involving emotions or any type of commitment on either end. 

There are many ways to approach such a conversation: In person Approach your desired interest when alone. Make sure you have privacy and quiet space before initiating a conversation.

If need be, give him/her a private invitation to join you privately for a chat later on via text messaging or online messaging service like Skype, Yahoo Messenger or MSN messenger etc. 

The advantage of going through text message is that you don’t need to worry about face-to-face rejection since he/she won’t know what you look like until he/she responds back to your message.

Remember to sound casual, yet confident enough. Outright ask him/her if they would want to explore a friendship-with-benefits situation. Indirectly flirt Don’t be afraid to approach your potential interest directly and show how much you enjoy his/her company over drinks or dinner. 

Follow up right away with a phone call instead of waiting for weeks or months for him/her to initiate contact again.

Feel free to mention how much fun last night was, yet let them know that last night was only tip of iceberg compared to other interesting activities you both could explore together in future.

Say yes Yes seems like simple word, but most people never say it! When your desired interest initiates a discussion, say yes. Let your body do rest of talking and make plans to meet up with each other to discuss further.

But make sure you feel comfortable enough with potential friend with benefits first. Saying yes isn’t always easy thing to do, especially if we haven’t been approached often by members of opposite s#x.

Playful affection Be playful and slightly flirtatious with your words, voice tone and eye contact when communicating with opposite s#x in public or even via text messages.

Raise your hand for a high five, poke or grab his/her arm gently during friendly conversations; lean against their side during movies or walking down street.

Tease him/her a little to get them to chase you and you’ll be well on your way! I hope that my little guide helps those of you reading, who are interested in knowing how to start a friends with benefits relationship. Keep in mind that it’s important to be smart about whom you choose to do so with.

As stated above, if your partner has feelings for each other then it’s definitely worth taking a shot at but if they don’t than its better to move on than drag it along till it fizzles out due to lack of interest. For some people, flirting and trying new things is great source of healthy entertainment.

People with friends-with-benefits relationships can be of any age. Dating your best friend is a great way to stop your feelings from getting hurt because you know you’ll still have their support when things go wrong. They are also happy to talk about anything at all with you, so they are good listeners too.

Your best friend is probably one of your biggest supporters and knows exactly how to cheer you up if you’re feeling low.

However, friends with benefits are mostly used as an excuse for s#x. No strings attached means no emotional involvement and no responsibilities. A friend with benefits can be a great way to have fun, but it comes with certain risks you should know about.

This guide is going to give you everything you need to make sure that your friends-with-benefits relationship doesn’t take over your life or turn into something more serious.

It will teach you how to manage yourself in order to protect yourself from unhealthy relationships and make sure that your friendships are not ruined by one night stands.

We only use cond#ms during our intercourse: When it comes to unprotected s#x, there is no such thing as 100% safety when it comes to STDs and unplanned pregnanc#es.

Though many of us would agree that not having an STD or a child out of wedlock are both very desirable outcomes, we can’t always be sure that those things won’t happen.

According to a study published in Perspectives on S#xual and Reproductive Health, cond#mless s#x between people who’ve been casual partners can lead to significant risk of pregnancy or s#xually transmitted infections–and also leads women to feel less comfortable with their choice than men do.

As adults living in modern society, we have options when it comes to birth control and protection against STIs.

Regardless of your gender, social status or s#xual orientation you have at least one option available if you choose to take advantage of it; responsibility.

But what if your partner doesn’t want to use protection?

Before agreeing to any kind of s#xual activity outside your long-term monogamous relationship, whether you’re looking for love or looking for s#x, there’s only one question you should ask yourself How safe it is to your physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual health?

If you have clarity about your intentions and found a trusted partner then you are good to go.

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Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry. His expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in medium and substack to name a few. To be updated with his latest work, connect with him by following his social media accounts.

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