What Does FWB Mean? A Simple Guide To The Meaning & Definition This Slang Term Stands For

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We live in a world full of acronyms: of SMH and LOLs, OMWs and TTYLs. (Which stand for, in order, shaking my head, laughing out loud, on my way, and talk to you later.)

But there's another acronym many people use when referring to a complicated relationship, and that is FWB.

What does FWB mean?

The acronym FWB stands for "friends with benefits."

Of course, "benefits" is a vague term. It could mean anything from financial benefits to emotional ones. But when it comes to the true FWB meaning, it's well known that the implied benefits are of a sexual nature. 

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What does FWB mean sexually? 

Sexually, the acronym describes a relationship that's a no-strings-attached agreement where two friends or acquaintances have sex with each other without any of the added components of a romantic committed relationship.

It can also be an arrangement where two friends give each other a safe place to experiment, and find out what they like and don't like sexually. 

That said, there's more to many friends with benefits relationships than just casual sex. Because, believe it or not, this agreement or relationship can become pretty complicated.

In fact, Quora users note that the spectrum of FWB friendships is greater and more complicated than it may initially seem, as friends with benefits can come in a variety of forms:

1. There are friends who have sex “only when we [they] drink — hey I respect you, you respect me, we’re drunk, screw it.”

2. There are friends who have sex as part of a “negotiation” (i.e., “Hey I’m frustrated, you are frustrated, why don’t we ‘alleviate’ our frustration.”)

3. There are friends who decide to have sex because there is a “promise” that “nobody is going to get feelings. We are just gonna do this and have fun with it.”

Unfortunately, these arrangements can be emotionally damaging, because, in the end, someone usually gets hurt.

What does FWB mean to a guy?

A friend with benefits relationship means the same as it would to anyone else. As in, friends who help each other out sexually without having the responsibility of being in a serious relationship.

However, many people have the idea that guys never fall for their FWB partner. In actuality, they can and do. To some guys, they do only see this arrangement as just that: an arrangement. But when feelings become part of the equation, the situation gets complicated.

When you have frequent sex with someone, you create a connection whether you want to or not. Women aren't the only emotional beings on the planet — men are emotional as well, despite society telling them emotions are a form of weakness.

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Do FWB cuddle?

In most arrangements, there's no physical contact outside of a sexual nature. So, in many cases, cuddling is a big no-no.

According to sex expert Sean Jameson, “When you start to cuddle after sex, your bond with him will get deeper." And because that's not part of the arrangement, cuddling will only confuse you.

You don't want this to happen in your FWB relationship because it will only lead you to heartbreak. Cuddling, Jameson adds, “is not a good thing when it comes to keeping the situation free of emotion.”

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Do FWB relationships work?

Can this arrangement turn into a real committed relationship? Well, yes and no. For a FWB relationship to work, you need to know how to balance out any developing feelings with your promise to keep things on the level of friendship.

Advises Jameson, "The best thing you can do is to 'remain emotionally neutral' and keep all encounters strictly sexual and cuddle-free." 

Of course, emotional neutrality is easier said than done. Research on FWB "couples" found that after one year, "25 percent were still friends with benefits, 15 percent of people took the relationship to a romantic level, 28 percent got rid of the benefits and stuck with being friends, and 31 percent cut off all ties."

So, it can work or not; it all depends on the people within the relationship, and the extent to which they develop or control their feelings.

Before beginning a friends with benefits relationship, remember that there are certain rules in place to protect you and your sexual partner. That said, proceed with caution.

RELATED: How To End A 'Friends With Benefits' Relationship

Nicole Lane is a regular contributor for YourTango. She's a staunch defender of women's rights, believes firmly in equality and parity, and is an advocate for women's health, mental health, and sexuality.