“Friends with benefits” is a name that conjures up mixed emotions in a lot of people. Many are reminded of the Mila Kunis/Justin Timberlake film of the same name. Others have thoughts about other times the mainstream media has portrayed it as unsuccessful, or the people involved become ‘involved’ anyway as a result. Conservative people tend to see relationships that don’t have an inherent emotional investment as something that is immoral and “bad news”. But then again, of course, they do.
But despite this kind of thinking, there’s nothing innately damaging, negative, or ‘slutty’ about having a satisfying sexual relationship with someone you have no real emotional attachment to. In a study published by Psychology Today, it was found that roughly 60% of college students in the United States have had at least one friend with benefits at one time or another. Of those, roughly between 10%-20% have actually grown from a No Strings Attached(NSA) relationship into a long-term one. It may seem like a chore and a half, and it’s not for those people looking for something more intimate, but being able to call on a friend once in a while for some NSA fun shouldn’t have to be a pipe dream.
But, if you’re single, is it something you should seek out right now? Well, there’s a number of factors to consider to help you decide.
You can’t expect much, other than sexual gratification
Like I said: emotional investment is not something you should expect to receive from this arrangement, and you should treat it as such. Chances are, the person you’re now sleeping with is dating other people as well. No one goes into this arrangement expecting a romantic date, or to spend time with someone who makes you smile, or to be swept off their feet. This is about being able to have someone you can call to bang out your sexual frustrations when all other options have currently run dry. If the thought of your new friend having sex or relations with other people makes you feel a bit uneasy, then maybe this isn’t something you should get into right now. Jealousy in these relationships creates far more problems in the end than it can solve if you intend to have this become a long-term deal later.
Always use protection and practice safe sex
When it comes to making first-time arrangements with your new friend, ensure that a hard rule for condoms exists. Even if you’re a woman taking the pill, or a guy who has had a vasectomy, protection is still vitally important. Why? Because you need to remember that, while you and your new friend might have sex regularly, you’re both probably going to be seeing other people as well. Risks are always going to be present. And if you find out later that your friend has suddenly been diagnosed with an STD, you’ll be very glad you did use protection the whole time. Even if it’s not 100% effective at prevention, it’s better than none at all.
Explore your sexuality
This is, perhaps, one of the top reasons NSA relationships are on the rise among young adults today. As we come into an age of sexual awareness and discover who we are as sexual beings, it becomes necessary for us to learn more through new experiences. A friend with benefits allows us to try new things and discover what works and what doesn’t. We also learn more about what we want and don’t want, as we experiment with the things that appeal to us on its face, but might turn us away in practice.
In many cases, you may end up finding yourself in a committed relationship where you suddenly have a desire to try something new, but your partner is not open to the idea. While not necessarily a bad thing if you’re committed to them, it serves as an example of an opportunity you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Perfect if you have a busy schedule
Let’s face it, we don’t always have time for relationships. Life is hectic and messy. Things move around so fast, we get exhausted by the time we finally manage to catch up. At the end of the day, you lie in bed and feel that sudden itch that begs to be scratched. And to do so would help to dissolve all the stress you’ve had to endure thus far. Sometimes, you just don’t have the time or energy to invest in a long-term relationship. But the itch is still there.
The only thing you need to do is make a quick phone call, get your home, and maybe yourself, a bit tidied up, and the solution knocks on your door about twenty minutes later. No small talk, no obligations. You both know what you want, so there’s no need for games.
Keep your relationship terse and succinct
If you’re considering taking up this kind of deal with someone you know already, my advice is: don’t. An NSA relationship works best when there’s no familiarity between the two of you. It’s an arrangement and should be treated as such. When you call on one another, treat it like an appointment, and keep things to-the-point. If need be, come up with a set of rules at the very start to make sure it’s avoided. Familiarity quickly turns into emotional investment, which soon turns into jealousy, which then becomes negativity between you and leaves you both damaged.
If you’re having trouble with this, you can always find a hookup site online with lots of locals who are probably more prepared for this arrangement than any random stranger you may meet locally or on your campus. As long as you continue to keep these things in mind, it’s entirely possible to have a satisfying NSA relationship without negative repercussions in the end. And when you finally decide that you are ready to look for something more long-term, you can end things amicably with your friend, and move on to new things with confidence. Good luck to you out there!