How Being 'Friends With Benefits' Changes EVERYTHING About Sex

Photo: Pexels
friends with benefits FWB sex relationships

How to make FWB actually work.

Finding a good “friends with benefits” situation is sort of the unicorn of modern relationships

What?! I like you and I get to have sex with you without ANY of the normal baggage attached to it? Sign me up.

Too often, friends with benefits doesn't work out. Simple as that. 

But, while it is possible to have healthy FWB relationships, both parties do need to acknowledge that it changes the way they view sex.

Because friends with benefits sex is NOT normal sex.

And that is the key thing you have to remember. 


Maybe normal is the wrong word. It’s not typical sex. Because, typically, when sex happens in a long-term relationship, there’s an element of romance or emotional bonding attached to it.

One-night stands and hooks-ups aren’t applicable to this situation. Those are pure impulse-driven experiences. But if you’re having regular sex with a friend — someone you’ve known for a long time — and you both claim that it’s just for pleasure and not romance, that’s not typical relationship sex. Or even typical random-hookup sex.

That doesn’t mean it’s bad. (It’s not.) It’s just different. And you both need to acknowledge that to make sure you’re on the same page.

Friends with benefits sex, ideally, is NOT romantic. It’s transactional in nature.

I realize that sounds bad. It's not. And it's not prostitution. 

FWB sex is much more intimate (and less icky) than paying for sex, but both kinds of sex take the form of a transaction.

When you’re hooking up with a pal, you and your friend are taking part in a transaction.

“Hey, I’d like some pleasure.”

“So would I.”

“Why don’t we meet at a mutually agreeable time and collaborate on a sex act?”

“That sounds agreeable to me.”

(Cue 1970s porn music.)

OK, that’s a gross oversimplification. But you’ve brought sex into a relationship for non-emotional reasons, it DOES take the form of a transaction.


It’s like helping your friend move. You’re happy to do it, but you also expect that they’re going to help you move sometime too. (In this case, maybe with their mouth.)

It’s an arraignment that can’t simply be reduced down to “hooking up.” Because it has a deeper significance than a one-night stand. This is a FRIEND you’re talking about. You’re not only going to see them again, but they might know all your other friends and your college roommate and your mom.

They’re someone in your life.

Friends with benefits sex might allegedly remove the emotions from sex, but it doesn’t remove the human relationships from sex. They’re still there. It’s just a different kind of relationship than we’re used to.

If you have a friend that you want to hook up with, just be upfront about what kind of sex you’re looking for.



Because you want to be able to look them in the eye in the morning, but you also don’t want to look them in the eye EVERY morning for the rest of your life.

You’re looking for something. They’re looking for something. You’re pals. Help each other out. 

And that's what makes it different. Why it has to be different for it to work.

And it's also why so many FWB arrangements simply don't work. Worse, they sometimes end a really great friendship.

Keep things mutually beneficial and transactional in nature ... and it just might work.

Oh, and keep the romance far, far away.