The Galleon - Portsmouth's Student Newspaper


Sex and Relationships

Friends with benefits: Having your cake and eating it too

“It’s just sex, no strings attached” they said. “No more drama, just raw sex”, they thought. Whether you are heartbroken at the end of a disastrous relationship, the time is not very convenient for something serious (i.e. working late, moving to another city/country) or you just want to experience some freedom sexually, then the concept of “friends with benefits” seems the most appealing.

Finding another love bunny like you might be challenging even though there are plenty of fish in the sea. Why? First, the recipe for success when recruiting a friend with benefits is to look out for those who have an open sexual policy.

They also have to not be keen on confessing their love whilst holding a boom-box over their head a la John Cusack. And if you do choose to fish within your pool of friends, ask yourself the question: Could I deal with losing this person as a friend?

As you can tell, the term is double loaded. On the one hand, you experience sex whenever you feel like it, but on the other hand, loving emotions might creep in making the whole situation awkward and uncomfortable.

Not everyone is cut out to detach their emotions and enjoy sex as it is. For example, research from Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health journal suggests that women tend to focus on the friendship (why isn’t this surprising?) while men are more interested in the benefits that come with said friendship.

However, the ladies are not the only ones to fall head over heels in love; men tend to do that as well. When this happens, it is important to communicate it to the other as the ground foundation is not valid any more. This may be a deal breaker or you may find that your emotions are shared.

Even so, it is probably advisable not to have high hopes just because you are exchanging bodily fluids once in a while. Unfortunately, your life is not a Hollywood movie. As it stands, the only ending that should come out from this mutually beneficial relationship is pure bliss while rolling on your other side in the bed.

How do you treat the other without making them feel like they are a piece of meat at your disposal? Although you might feel like you are in no man’s land, neither having one night stands or being in a romantic relationship, the answer is simple. Treat them with respect, just like you would do with a business partner.

You have a common goal and the initial agreement works as long as both partners respect their end of the bargain. Studies show that being in this type of friendships does not increase one’s risk for harmful psychological outcomes than if you were to be in a romantic relationship. This is yet another way of enjoying life when making a commitment is not possible or desirable.

Before you launch yourself into this adventure, make sure you don’t hurt other people’s feelings in the process. Within your group of friends, there might be someone with a crush on you or people who might not agree with your lifestyle. Treading carefully is recommended while keeping in mind that your happiness comes first regardless of what other people think is appropriate.

To sum it up, having a friend with benefits is neither good or bad; it is what it is, an experience that you may wish to further explore or not. If you do decide to go down that route, remember to protect yourself (STDs are no laughing matter, visit Nuffield Surgery for tips on how to keep yourself safe) and find someone on the same wavelength as you while reaping the benefits as much as you can.

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