Entries in friends with benefits (10)


“Netflix and Chill?”: Are Friends With Benefits Relationships the New Norm?

In decades past, “dating” was the primary way people developed relationships – people would get a feel for each other and, if things felt right, they would eventually engage in physical intimacy. Recent research, however, suggests the sequencing of sex in a new relationship has changed. Sex has begun to function as a screening device that people use to determine if a relationship is worth perusing. In fact, research shows that over the past 30 years, the amount of time between first date and first sexual encounter has decreased steadily1. Because sex is such an important element of relationships this leads researchers to reconsider what constitutes “normal” relational development.

Enter the friends with benefits relationship (FWBR). If you’re under the age of 25 and you’re reading this you may be thinking ‘nobody does FWBRs anymore, that’s what our parents did.’ Before you judge, consider the following study conducted by Mongeau and his colleagues2. They had a feeling that FWBRs were not as simple as people think they are. In fact, the researchers let their participants (in this case, college students) define what a FWBR is. The results revealed that FWBRs do not represent one type of relationship – they represent seven (see the Table below for types and descriptions).

Click to read more ...


Destined for Disaster or Casual and Carefree?: What are the Benefits of a Friends with Benefits Relationship?

What do the majority of today’s American college students have in common with Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake? Hint: The answer is found in the title of the 2011 rom-com Mila and Justin starred in...that’s right...Friends with Benefits. Several studies show that Friends with Benefits Relationships (FWBRs) are quite common among college-age students.1,2,3 But, despite their apparent commonality, modern media tells us that FWBRs are destined to fail, either because partners become hurt by the lack of exclusivity and love in their relationship, or because partners fall in love despite their original intentions (a la Mila and Justin). But are such outcomes true in the real world? Can’t people actually enjoy the benefits of a FWBR? The answer—like most questions in relationships research—is that it depends.

A FWBR is a relationship in which two individuals who share a friendship also have sex, but do not explicitly express romantic feelings. However, the exact meaning of this FWBR label can vary across relationships, ranging from a completely monogamous relationship between two close friends to a non-monogamous relationship between two casual acquaintances, and anywhere in between. This ambiguity can be either a major benefit or a major bummer for someone in a FWBR, depending on how they feel about labels and boundaries in a sexual relationship.2 Partners in a FWBR are much less likely to communicate with each other about their relationship and their sexual needs than are partners in a committed romantic relationship, which makes defining the rules and boundaries of the relationship difficult.1 Whether or not this ambiguity can benefit partners depends on their respective intentions when initiating the relationship.

Click to read more ...


Can A Friends With Benefits Relationship Provide The Same “Benefits” As A Committed Relationship?

Katherine submitted the following question:

I have always wondered about research behind the topic of being friends with benefits (with strict rules of no kissing, no hugging, just sex, and only sex), and if they have the same benefits as sex within a committed relationship based off of love and trust, instead of lust?  

Dear Katherine,

Thanks for this great question! It sounds to me like what you’re really asking is whether sex between “friends with benefits” is as good as the sex that two people in a committed romantic relationship might have. I recently published a study in the Journal of Sex Research that addressed this exact question.1 We recruited nearly 400 men and women over the Internet who either had a current “friend with benefits” or a romantic partner. All participants completed a survey that asked how sexually satisfied they were in their relationship and how much they communicated with their partner about a variety of sexual topics.

Click to read more ...


Those Love Geeks on "Friends with Benefits"


Are “Open” Relationships The Hotbed For STDs That Everyone Assumes?

There seems to be a widely shared belief that anyone involved in an "open" relationship is infected with all sorts of STDs. The assumption seems to be that if you aren't monogamous, you're a promiscuous disease spreader, right? Not so fast. The reality is actually far more complex than this, and the risks of “open” and “closed” relationships may not be as different as they are assumed to be.

Click to read more ...


Sex in Friendships, Friendship After Sex

I'm currently involved in what you term a 'cross-sex' relationship. I've found all of your articles very insightful into the way we interact, and the benefits we receive from our close friendship. I also have found knowing that sexual encounters occur in these sort of relationships, which is what happened between my friend and I (yes we fit the college student statistic) interesting. I've read about cross-sex 'life-cycles', different phases in the friendship etc. I was wondering if you could elaborate more on this? Or give some suggestions on how to continue the friendship after sex (Cosmo just doesn't compare with your articles, obviously!). 

The blending of friendship with sex seems to be popping up everywhere these days. What you call “cross-sex relationships,” others call “friends with benefits” (FWBs), “booty calls,” and any number of other names. Regardless of what they’re called, these relationships have one important feature in common: they’re complicated!

Click to read more ...


Are You a Booty Call or a Friend with Benefits?

Spring break season is upon us, and as I discussed in a previous post, one thing that people associate with spring break is casual sex (what happens on spring break stays on spring break!). According to a recent study, however, casual sex relationships may not be so casual after all. In fact, these days casual sexual relationships are no longer solely defined as a one time sexual encounter; instead, casual sexual experiences can range from a one-time “hook-up” to an ongoing sexual relationship with a friend.

In a recent study, focus groups of young people were asked to identify different ‘types’ of casual sex relationships...

Click to read more ...


Friends with Benefits: The Pie Chart


Relationships on the Jersey Shore - Are You Ready for Season 4?

With Season 4 of Jersey Shore set to premiere, we thought our readers should prepare for the show by catching up on our previous Jersey Shore articles.

Note: Please also feel free to prepare for the new season by getting a spray tan and commencing with abundant fist pumping. That is all. 


Friends with Benefits: Are They as Complicated in Real Life as They are in the Movies?

The term “friends with benefits” (FWB) has become part of our vernacular in recent years and public interest in the topic appears to be surging. For example, this year alone brings two major motion pictures devoted exclusively to the subject, No Strings Attached (starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman) and this summer’s Friends with Benefits (starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake). The concept has also been popularized by the ongoing FWB arrangement between Vinny and Snooki on the Jersey Shore (see here for more on the Vinny/Snooki saga).

One thing all of these media portrayals have in common is that they depict FWB relationships as complicated. Inevitably, somebody seems to get jealous and drama ensues. So does that match up with reality? Are these relationships really that difficult to manage?

Click to read more ...