can friends with benefits actually work?

Can friends have casual, no-strings-attached sex? More to the point, can it work?

That is the question.

Let me clarify. When I ask can it work, I mean can they remain friends, catch up over coffee or dinner, have the same sort of conversations, can they not get jealous of other potentials in the picture, can they not get attached, can they not fall in love.

These are the questions.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a girlfriend moan, ‘I just want someone to shag with no strings attached!’. Yes men this is the case, you can close your jaw now. Just like the first Friends episode where Chandler overhears Rachel talking to some friends about how she wants to have one last night of meaningless sex before she marries Barry and that she wants to have it with the first guy she lays her eyes on, which Chandler then makes sure is him. Even though Rachel and Chandler never got to have that meaningless sex (much to Chandler’s dismay), the point is that women and men have sexual needs and urges and sometimes due to proximity, things in common, similar interests, even mere attraction, a pal can be an easy target for some bang bang. You do everything else with them and have fun, why not sex?

But can being lovers kill the friendship? Or vise versa, can the friendship kill being lovers?

What came first, the chicken or the egg…

The answer is yes and no (or chicken or the egg depending what you believe in). It depends on the individuals involved, the unique circumstances of the situation, the foundations of the friendship AND…drum roll…whether you can both stay on the same page. This last part is where it makes or breaks the arrangement. Having a casual sex partner (CSP) with your buddy is all well and good until one party starts to grow feelings and get emotionally involved, which let’s face it, is completely natural considering you’re only human and sex is a very connective, spiritual, emotional and physical experience to share with another being. It’s the epitome of ‘opening up’ yourself on all levels; you’re completely vulnerable, sensual, loving, bonding, free, raw and sexy during the act and with the sharing of touch, chemistry, looks, juices and energy, there’s no wonder one person might start to feel attached! It’s science people. We’re not robots.

So I hit the streets (AKA Facebook) and quizzed some men and women about the topic. Most if not all the men said something along the lines of “the woman are always the ones who change their feelings and become more attached”, so they weren’t keen on the idea of a friend with benefits. They said that the woman would often wind up feeling cut because she had expectations of it moving into something more, which more times than not it didn’t. Surprisingly a lot of the women said it wasn’t an easy task trying to find a CSP and that “a lot of guys are just looking for a one nighter fling or a long term relationship”. One woman put it simply, ‘I have needs!” Another man said it become less about the ‘buddy’ and more about the ‘fuck’ and things get too complicated.

After my general synopsis, it sounded to me like there are too many shades of grey and not enough blacks and whites. Unless one is good at compartmentalising their own feelings and emotions there is not much point of exploring the friendship zone, sexually. Catch ups start to move into the bedroom, you start to care about whether or not they text you, then before you know it you start to wonder if they’re thinking about you too. Shit. Gets. Real.

Historically women find it hard to switch on and switch off and hence comes the onslaught of jealousy, control and attachment issues, however there is certainly a new age of ‘sexually-free’ women who embrace the idea of casual sex encounters without all the ‘icky stuff’. Yes men, they are out there and they’re a growing breed. However, before you go bedding your friend, there are a few things you need to know which might stop you in your tracks:

So, what screws it up…?

Over analysis?

Lack of communication of feelings?


Social conditioning?

Biological conditioning?

Sex and the City conditioning?

Daddy issues?

Gentlemen, don’t assume all women want to settle down and have babies. Also don’t assume that they don’t. Just don’t assume ever OK.

Ladies, whether you’re a new age ‘devour-and-conquer’ woman or a traditionalist settle-down kinda woman, think twice before you embark down the FWB path, for it is a windy maze full of many twists and turns. It might tickle the urge initially, but chemistry is chemistry and unless you got a solid reign on those heart strings – be prepared.

So RR followers, I put it to you…can friends with benefits work? It is possible to have casual sex sans the commitment? Is monogamy losing the appeal? Can we have a FWB without the romantic ties and obligations?

Photo source