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9 Tips For Having A Healthy Friends-With-Benefits Relationship

It's not exactly like the movies.

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1. Choose the right person, because here’s the secret: A friend with benefits isn’t actually your friend.

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"Friend" can be a pretty loose term, but generally speaking, a friend with benefits should really be more an acquaintance-with-consensual-booty-perks. They shouldn't be the first person you'd call during an emergency, or someone you can talk to all night about your deepest anxieties. They should be someone you're physically attracted to, who is nice to you, and who makes you feel like you're in a safe space, but, for one reason or another, isn't someone you could see yourself dating monogamously. And if they are someone you consider to be a friend, just be aware that this can be a bit harder to navigate.

2. Be sure that you're both on the same page.

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Obviously, it's all about communication. Make sure you both understand that this is only meant to be physical and casual to avoid hurt feelings later on. It doesn't have to be a blunt "we are friends with benefits" exclamation, but it never hurts to be open about not looking for something more or being nonexclusive. If there are no hidden feelings, this level of openness shouldn't be that difficult.

3. Be honest with yourself about why you want to have a FWB relationship with this person.

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If you're saying you want no-strings-attached, casual sex, you should know that that's actually what you want. Just going along with it in the hopes that your crush will fall for you is just going to make you really upset in the future, and your feelings deserve better treatment than that. Plus, you can't get mad at someone for being upfront about their intentions and then not falling for you the way you expected them to.

4. Try your best to keep it sex-only.

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You're not robots, and the world won't end if you send your FWB a "happy birthday" text or ask them to drinks before going back to your place. But texting each other every day just to chat or wanting to hang out just to hang out blurs lines and can end up with you getting offended when they can't go to a movie with you, or them being upset when you're too busy to see them. And that's where it pretty much stops being a FWB and delves into emotional territory neither of you signed up for.

5. Be vocal about the kind of sex you actually want to have.

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This is all about sexual openness and, ultimately, just good fun. There's no point in doing any of this if the person you're having sex with doesn't care about your needs or if you're just not all that into it. Feel free to explore and experiment — you can learn a lot about yourself in the process, and hey, good sex is physically and mentally healthy, so have at it!

6. Don't let people judge you or make you feel like you secretly want a relationship.

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Your mom might not get it. Acquaintances might think it's promiscuous. Even some of your friends might suspect this is just a transition into a relationship. You can't expect everyone you meet to understand, but you also don't have to listen to people tell you what to do or what ways you should or should not be having sex. Move forward confidently — you know what you're about.

7. Maturely break it off if you see that your FWB is developing feelings, but you aren't.

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Be kind. Even if you're technically not at fault because you were always clear about what you wanted, you're both people, and also, sex feels good and intimate and cuddly, and that can sometimes make you feel closer to someone than you meant to. You definitely shouldn't date this person if you don't reciprocate the feelings, but you owe them basic human decency and a clean break so as not to take advantage of their emotions.

8. And forgive yourself if you're the one who ends up developing feelings.

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Again, you're human. You could discover that you really like this person more than you realized, and, if you do, you should let them know and decide from there. Sure, there's a chance they might like you back, but you should also be ready for the possibility that they don't, and do your best to not take it personally. If that's the case, move on and stop hooking up with them — do yourself the courtesy of respecting your own emotions and don't just stay in it to convince them or yourself that you're super chill. This whole thing was always about honesty.

9. Have fun!

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A friend with benefits can be an awesome person to figure yourself out with or just have crazy fun with. Not all sexual experiences have to be tied to monogamous romantic relationships, and if you feel confident and happy with the idea of having a FWB, then just have a blast with them, because that's the only real reason either of you should be doing this.*

*Also, use protection and practice safe sex. Doy!

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