What Does FWB Mean? A Simple Guide To The Meaning Of This Slang Term

It's pretty simple... and ridiculously complicated.

fwb View Apart / Shutterstock

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

What does FWB mean?

The basic meaning of FWB is simply that it stands for a relationship between two people who are "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 definition of being FWBs, it is well known that the implied benefits are of a sexual nature.


RELATED: The Truth About Whether Your FWB Can Turn Into A Real Relationship

According to one user on Quora, friends with benefits are “two people who enjoy other activities besides sex, but who usually end dates back in the bedroom.”

That said, there is more to many friends with benefits relationships than just casual sex.


In fact, other Quora users note 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.

For example:

  • There are friends who have sex “only when we [they] drink — hey I respect you, you respect me, we’re drunk, screw it.”
  • 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.”
  • And there are friends who decide to have sex because there is a “promise” that “nobody is gonna get feelings. We are just gonna do this and have fun with it.”

Unfortunately, the latter can be dangerous, because in the end, someone usually gets hurt.

RELATED: 7 Brutally Honest Signs He *Only* Sees You As A Friend With Benefits


So how do you balance any developing feelings with your promise to keep things on the level of friendship?

According to sex expert Sean Jameson, the best thing you can do is to “remain emotionally neutral” and keep all encounters strictly sexual and cuddle-free.

“When you start to cuddle after sex, your bond with him will get deeper," Jameson says. “This is not a good thing when it comes to keeping the situation free of emotion.”

Of course, emotional neutrality is easier said than done, and research on FWB "couples" has 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."


I would know; I fell in love with my own best friend.

So just remember that if you are considering an FWB relationship, you can — and should — proceed with caution.

RELATED: 12 Indisputable Signs Your Friends With Benefits Is Falling For You


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