By Benedict Carey
To some, it may seem like an ideal relationship, less stressful than an affair, longer lived than a fling or that elusive one-night stand. You can even sit around in your sweats and watch "Friends" reruns together, feeling vaguely reassured.
Yet relationships in which close friends begin having sex come with their own brand of awkwardness, according to the first study to explore the dynamics of such pairs, often called friends with benefits, or FWB.
The relationships tend to have little romantic passion, but stir the same fears that stalk lovers: namely, that one person will fall harder than the other.
Do people still use the terminology ‘friends with benefits’? Wah? Isn’t ‘fuck buddy’ the preferred nomenclature? It seems like in one of these FWB scenarios someone is going to get more attached than the other. That’s standard wisdom. The study says that the same openness that they once had is now gone. That makes sense too. If you have three legs of the relationship tripod (emotional and physical intimacy) then leg three (romantic intimacy) is going to be keenly missed. We’re pretty sure that you have to have one out these three or three out of three kicking at any one time. This two out of three business is untenable. So, that basically breaks down the best options for sex into four camps: 1) sex with significant other; 2) sex with hand/ devices; 3) somewhat random sex with strangers/ prostitutes; and 4) detached sex with acquaintance. That’s it. Those are the only options remaining. One of them could lead to a broken heart, one of them could lead to carpel tunnel and one could lead to the clap or arrest and one could lead to ‘feelings.’ Great. We suppose that 'friends with benefits' is better than 'friends with potential,' Lloyd Dobler.