Real 'Friends With Benefits' Dish the Truth

Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are both smokin' hot and sexy, so in their new movie Friends With Benefits, it's impossible to even see the preview without asking the obvious: If you're both ridiculously attractive, funny, and close friends, why not just be in a relationship?

Though the whole "friends with benefits" concept has always eluded me (I am a relationship girl!), there are those who swear by them and insist that there are benefits, indeed.

But what is a "friend with benefits"? Urban Dictionary defines "Friends With Benefits" as: "Two friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally involved." Sounds sketchy, no? But some insist it works.

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Like anything, there are pros and cons to an arrangement like this. E, a 34-year-old married woman who was in a friends with benefits relationship a couple times over the years, gave these pros:

  • [There is a] deep intimacy, familiarity, and comfort when you're geographically with the person, no obligation when you're not (I never tried this with someone who lived close to me).
  • Booty call weekends to look forward to.
  • The feeling of not being alone/rejected ... I know that seems strange, but even knowing you had someone to romp around with on a schedule made me feel wanted.

She also shared the cons:

  • Feeling a disconnect between my emotional self when I was with the person and when I wasn't.
  • The sense that my feelings were off-limits and should be squelched.
  • Guilt! Feeling like I was taking advantage of someone who would have wanted a relationship, but this was all I could give them.
  • The dehumanizing feeling that I was trying to limit my world to black and white (here/there, disconnection/intimacy, sex/emotion).

M, a 27-year-old writer, was in a FWB relationship in high school that basically ended in disaster. She said:

He took another girl to prom (because he said he wanted us to be "under the radar" or something, and I was really hurt by that), and he was basically attempting to be a total player with all the girls in our circle of friends. I ended up feeling like crap and really resenting him. But, I realize I kind of only have myself to blame for thinking I could mold a boyfriend out of a FWB.

Not surprisingly, men tend to be highly in favor of this kind of relationship. J, a tech executive in Boston, is now in his 40s, but back in his 20s, he enjoyed a couple FWB relationships of which he said:

You get to enjoy something you both like to do together ... like anything else, but it happens to be sex. We were both dating and had busy lives. So it was a nice relaxing, low pressure night when we hung out in THAT way.

B in New Jersey said:

  • It's awesome when someone shows up on your doorstep for sex.
  • You rarely ever have to worry about doing or saying something that's going to spark an all night discussion about "true intentions" or "feelings."
  • It is the best possible situation to tell the other person what you want without worrying about embarrassment, and even better ...
  • It is the best possible situation to be told what to do (which is awesome!).

Still, the biggest question is this: If you are friends, you enjoy each other's company, find one another hot and enjoy sex, isn't that just a relationship?

The bottom line is, as S in New York City who was in one briefly after her marriage ended, said:

It can work for a specific amount of time, if and only if both parties (but especially the woman) is honest about what she does/doesn't want or expect from the situation. If she can do that -- HONESTLY -- it can work. Otherwise, it's a recipe for disaster. It worked for me for a very specific time in my life, and I was actually really grateful for it -- it was very Last Tango in Paris. And it was a time in my life when I wasn't looking for a serious relationship, nor did I have much to give in a serious relationship. Then one day I woke up and was literally ready for much more, and realized that I was no longer interested in having an FWB arrangement. But we still keep in touch periodically, and I think he's a great guy.

Have you ever had a FWB experience?

 

Image via Sony Pictures

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