What are people's opinions about "Friends with Benefits"?

Submitted by healthiertimes on
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I'm curious about people's perceptions of "friends with benefits." How does it affect a relationship? Is it good, bad, depends? If one enters into one, what are possible pitfalls? How about sex with a friendly ex? Anything else one should be aware of?

I'm not really in a place right now where I'm planning on such a relationship. But I have a few attractive female friends, I have a new confidence in myself, and I might desire such a relationship in the future, or it might just come up. I don't really know. Right now, I'm just curious.

healthier

Well, my take and personal observations on the subject go like this. There are many different levels and qualities to a sexual interaction, from a casual quicky to long term connected depth. I dont believe in any right or wrong type of sex other that it be consensual between adults. What I do observe is the act of sex by its nature is bonding. Putting a penis and a vagina together just seems to have that effect. The more you have sex with someone the more you bond to that person. More than a couple of times and the bond starts to develop, from my experience. To my mind "friends with benefits" is almost an oxymoron because it wont be long before they wont stay friends unless its kept pretty infrequent. Not that I think its wrong that it develops into more, just to be aware of what naturally happens, especially if one wants to keep it to "friends".

As far as karezza sex goes it takes regular interaction with someone your pretty committed to to experience what this type of sex has to offer. Thats not to say you cant practice non-orgasmic love making in a "friends with benefits" enviornment but if your looking for what karezza is, you want a regular partner for that. I have a sneaky suspicion that non-orgasmic sex will have the tendency to create a bond even quicker than the convention type, at least thats my hunch.

PVI is healthy

I was just reading a piece (COSTA's REPLY) that makes this point by distinguishing PVI from non-PVI sex (masturbation, oral/anal sex). Of course no one has yet measured whether karezza is even healthier - since more frequent sex tends to occur. Biggrin

In short, I think that even at the risk of bonding (sooo terrible, eh?), you'd be wise to share yourself provided your partner is content with the arrangement too.

There's also the cuddle buddy option. You can still get a lot of the same benefits simply by engaging in bonding behaviors without intercourse (intercourse is just one more bonding behavior...especially if you don't jump on the post-O neurochemical roller coaster). See The Lazy Way to Stay in Love.

 

Fears

One of the fears I have, I guess, is having the intimacy and then having one party feeling stronger about the relationship or becoming jealous of the other's flirtations. It seems like it could lead to hurt feelings.

At the same time, I could see the advantages of a very low pressure, affectionate/sexual relationship which one can easily call off if necessary or desired. If you know my history, you know that I'm in very new territory when it comes to sex, so I feel cautious.

I call them intimate friends

I like that kind of relationship a lot. I've had a few over the years. It's really nice to be able to have a sexual, intimate, even romantic relationship with someone, without the pressures of obligation or constant interaction. There's a lot of room for growth and change. Several of my intimate friendships have lasted longer than most of my boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. They are such sweet friendships. It has been a little strange to reconnect with old friends now that my parameters have changed so completely. But because it's not an all or nothing situation they have been more curious than anything. I think that having long term intimate friends in my life makes it less tempting for me to settle for an unsuitable boyfriend.

Never wanted it

I never wanted to be in a "friends with benefits" type of relationship, and I struggle with that concept. It was not totally by design, but it did come about. I wanted to explore my sexuality after 10 years of abstinence and enjoyed very much the freedom to do so. It was a completely unexpected surprise.

For me, sex is definitely bonding, as it was designed to be, but the problem arises when the individuals involved see the relationship they are having differently. If one sees the need developing for a closer relationship and the other doesn't, one will be left longing while the other is happy with the status quo. Difficilt.