What are the Benefits and Drawbacks to ‘Friends with Benefits’

What are the Benefits and Drawbacks to
‘Friends with Benefits’

Friends with Benefits is a very broad term that can be defined in many different ways. Some of the most common definitions can include (but are not limited to):

  • Two friends who decide to engage in sexual behaviors and maintain their friendship status.
  • People who are dating exclusively, but both agree that the relationship will not end in marriage.

People who are ex-partners who decide to continue to interact intimately although they no longer consider themselves a “couple”

These perceived simple definitions regarding friends with benefits style of relationship are typically not that simple in most cases. While there can be an array of benefits, it is as important to be aware of the list of challenges. This knowledge can help identify whether your behaviors lean on the side of healthy and explorative or unhealthy and avoidant.

Based on a number of reports, these are some of the identified benefits to a “Friend with Benefits” relationship

  • Openness — These relationships reportedly present people with an opportunity to engage in a healthy friendship and sexual relationship. Within these relationships, that initially spawned as friendships people report feeling the freedom to share ideas and thoughts with one another, engage in laughter and enjoy each other’s company. While the additional sexual component has the possibility of damaging the dynamic, people report that sex doesn’t have to damage their open and friendly dynamic. The opposite is reported, one “couple” reports that it provided them with an opportunity to explore their sexual preferences.
  • An alternative to traditional Commitment — As the definition for ‘Friends with Benefits” is subjective so is the concept or beliefs surrounding how commitment is defined. Some “couples” report being committed to the preservation of their friendship. Other commit to maintaining a monogamous relationship sexually with the freedom to date others. Then there are other individuals who construct their own unique form of commitment based on rules they have determined.

On the other side of the spectrum are the reported challenges to “Friends with Benefits”. The most common reported challenge is honesty, particularly honesty surrounding feelings. Frequently people in these relationships experience fear and/or shame. In this relationship lifestyle, these emotions can result in the following:

  • People really hoping that this relationship will evolve into a more traditional relationship with all of the perceived rights of a ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend.
  • An inability to communicate the change in heart that sometimes occurs in relationships, i.e. one person begins to fall in love with the other.
  • Feeling shameful for engaging in sexual behaviors with someone identified as a “friend” or for the lack of desire to engage in a traditional commitment.
  • Experiencing fear regarding the friendship’s ability to withstand the theoretical strains of this type of engagement.

These are simply guidelines or ideas to consider before engaging in a “Friend with Benefit” relationship. To take this idea one step further and determine if it is it right for you

Being friends with benefits (FWB) can be a good option for some people, but it may not be the best choice for everyone. It’s important to consider your own personal values, needs, and goals before deciding if a FWB arrangement is right for you.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding if a FWB arrangement is right for you:

  1. Your emotional needs: Are you emotionally ready for a casual sexual relationship without the commitment or emotional investment of a traditional romantic relationship? It’s important to be honest with yourself about your emotional needs and to make sure that a FWB arrangement is something that you can handle emotionally.
  2. Your expectations: Are your expectations for the relationship clear and aligned with your partner’s? It’s important to have open and honest communication with your partner about what you both expect from the arrangement to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
  3. Your relationship status: Are you single or in a committed relationship? If you are in a committed relationship, it’s important to consider how a FWB arrangement might affect your current relationship.
  4. Your sexual health: It’s important to practice safe sex and to have open and honest communication with your partner about sexual health and boundaries.

Ultimately, whether or not a FWB arrangement is right for you depends on your own personal values, needs, and goals. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want and to communicate openly and honestly with your partner to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

What happens in a sex therapy appointment? A sex therapy session with a therapist typically involves talking with a trained professional about your sexual concerns or issues. The therapist will work with you to understand the root causes of your concerns and to develop a treatment plan to address them. This may involve discussing your past experiences, your current relationship dynamics, and any physical or medical issues that may be impacting your sexual function.

During the session, the therapist will likely ask you a series of questions and will listen actively to your answers. They may also provide you with advice, guidance, and exercises to help you work through your concerns.

It’s important to understand that a sex therapist is a trained professional who is there to help you, not to judge you. They are bound by strict confidentiality laws, which means that anything you discuss during a session will remain private.

It’s important to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and trust. If for some reason you don’t feel comfortable with a therapist you are working with, you have the right to find another one that you feel more comfortable with.

Keep in mind that therapy is not a quick fix, it takes time, patience and effort to work through the issues. And while therapy can be helpful, it is not always the only solution and it may not work for everyone.

Why chat with a sex therapist about being friends with benefits? Talking with a sex therapist can be helpful in making a decision about whether or not to pursue a friends with benefits (FWB) arrangement because a therapist can provide an objective and non-judgmental perspective. They can help you to explore and understand your own values, needs, and goals and to consider how a FWB arrangement might impact your emotional and physical well-being.

Here are a few specific ways that a sex therapist can help you to make a decision about a FWB arrangement:

  1. Helping you to understand your own feelings: A sex therapist can help you to explore and understand your own feelings and emotions related to a FWB arrangement. They can help you to identify any concerns or reservations that you may have and to consider how a FWB arrangement might impact your emotional well-being.
  2. Assessing your readiness: A sex therapist can help you to assess your readiness for a FWB arrangement by exploring your emotional needs and understanding your values and expectations. They can help you to identify any potential red flags or areas of concern that may indicate that a FWB arrangement is not the right choice for you.
  3. Exploring communication: A sex therapist can help you to explore effective communication strategies and can help you to develop the skills necessary to have open and honest conversations with your partner about your sexual desires and boundaries.
  4. Exploring the dynamics of the relationship: A sex therapist can help you to explore the dynamics of the relationship and what your goals are.  The therapist is impartial and only has your best interest at heart.