Two friends with benefits laughing and looking at the same phone

Does True “Friends With Benefits” Really Exist?

What is “Friends with Benefits”?

Friends with benefits, or FWB, has almost become a joke about those who can’t commit and still want sex. It’s normally seen in some kind of negative light. It’s often associated with phrases like “it’s not possible”, “one always falls for the other”, and “it never ends well”. FWB literally means just friends who use one another for sex whilst remaining friends. But the remaining friends part is usually an issue, and so is the “using one another”. But is it really that bad?

Also, as a side note, I find it hilarious that the film Friends with Benefits, the one that has Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis in it, in France they changed the name to Sex Friends. There’s a long list of films that have been renamed to other things in France and most of them include the word ‘sex’ in the title. As if Friends with Benefits wasn’t on the nose enough. 

Is it Ethical to Use Someone Else for Sex?

I feel like a few years ago the term “fuck boy” was so big. It feels less now, but it’s definitely still around. A fuck boy for me is a man who uses people for sex and intimacy and leaves as soon as things start to get serious. I normally see TikToks of girls saying how they had a guy who would be super affectionate and romantic, and leave abruptly a few weeks later. That’s the image that comes to mind for me. Anyway, the difference between being a fuck boy and having a friends with benefits is that the other is aware of essentially “being used”. 

Friends with benefits is something that two people agree on doing, and they both know that it’s meant to be no strings attached. So, the ethical part is that both people agreed to this. It’s consensual. They’re both aware of what’s happening, so why wouldn’t it be ethical?

Should All Sex Take Place in Committed Romantic Relationships?

I have been in many many casual sex relationships in my time, andI’ve remained friends with many of these flings (let’s call them flings). The word “fling” feels mean because they are my friends now, but the time we were sleeping together I can call a fling. But for me, I’m never sure if I should call them friends with benefits, because there are borderline romantic feelings involved. I struggle sleeping with people I’m not romantically attracted to, so are they really just friends?

So the romantic sex with people I’ve had over extended periods of time which never resulted in committed relationships has often been met with shock and horror by a lot of my friends. They aren’t usually able to understand how one can be in a romantic sexual relationship with someone without being in a committed romantic sexual relationship. They seem to assume it’s unethical because it’s not intended to last forever. 

This whole narrative of “you need to meet someone who you’ll fall in love with and spend the rest of your life with” is incredibly strange to me. The idea that two people are destined to be in a committed relationship with one another until the day they die is genuinely just a lot. It’s a huge expectation to have of someone in a relationship. But it’s still considered normal. Why shouldn’t a relationship be seen as something to just enjoy in the moment and not be pressured to last forever and ever. Does every romantic or sexual relationship need to be forever?

Several commitment padlocks with initials on them locked to a bridge

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The Big Question: Does FWB always end with one person falling for the other?

In my experience, one person usually seems to be more invested than the other. I like it when I’m the one who’s more invested, because I feel like I have more control on how to act. When the other likes me more, I feel like sometimes they stay in a FWB situation longer because they hope that something will come of it. But from friends’ stories, it seems like it does seem to be possible. I have many friends who have had sexual relationships with friends for a while, and then stopped and stayed friends. So, maybe it’s just me and my delusional self thinking that everyone will fall for me. In summary, yes it’s possible to have a FWB situation without having one fall for the other, however in my case, probably not. 

But even if one person does fall for the other, does that mean it really has to ruin the whole relationship? I’ve heard of situations where one friend falls for another (not even from a FWB type friendship), and demands that if they don’t love them back, then their friendship is over. It seems wild to me to end years of friendship simply because your romantic feelings toward the other person aren’t reciprocated. But in actual FWB situations, I’m not sure if I’ve had any friends with this problem. 

How to End a Friends With Benefits Situation

For me, most casual sexual relationships I’ve had, they’ve simply ended because I moved to another country. So that’s an easy solution. Other ways of ending FWBs are probably just with honesty. By saying if you’re not into it anymore, by saying you’ve changed your mind and want more, or by saying you’re looking for something different at that time. Whatever your reason is for ending it, just be honest about it. Unless it’s really mean, like you think they’re ugly, then maybe don’t be too honest. But honesty is key in relationships and stating your intentions with how that relationship should look. 

Is FWB For Me?

I love a good FWB situation because I do love intimacy and feeling close to someone, even if it’s not going to last forever. I’m a true believer that not everything has to last forever and to just enjoy it whilst it lasts, or if it’s really bad then celebrate it when it’s over. But relationships, friendships and FWBs for that matter don’t have to last forever, and the idea that they should is crazy. It is nice when it does and it’s good, but it’s not a necessity. But if you’re one of those people who wants their sexual and romantic relationships to last forever and ever, then maybe FWB is not for you. 

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