What Does "Friends With Benefits" Really Mean?

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Are the benefits worth the cost?

The term “friends with benefits” seems to be popping up on dating sites, in conversations, and even on television as “no strings attached relationship.”

If you don’t already know the meaning to it, I will tell you in so many words "friends with benefits" means sex without commitment, emotion, or respect for one another.


I find this term used quite often with people in their twenties looking to explore their sexuality without having to be responsible for any other person’s feelings. It has little to do with friendship. The scenario usually goes like this, the man wants to have sex with a woman but does not want a commitment, nor does he even want to take her out on a date, just call her on the phone when he wants sex. For the woman she has gotten used to this or thinks that somehow it is acceptable.

The truth of the matter is, that women really do hold the cards in this “friends with benefits” scenario, if you let a man have sex with you where there is no respect involved thinking that it will lead to more, than you are wrong!

For young women and newly divorced women seeking a younger man for a great sexual encounter, this is still sending a bad message.

As a clinical sexologist and relationship coach, I have seen the evolution of “friends with benefits” become a rift between men and women instead of the wonderful sexual experience that it could be.


I am not saying that a man and women cannot have a one night stand or a sexual relationship without the strings attached, in fact it can be done. The difference is that the rules have changed, where it was once called having a “lover” now it’s “friends with benefits.”

What is the different one may ask?

The difference is the woman respecting herself and setting up the boundaries for the relationship.


Women are, and always will be the one inviting the man to enter her; women no matter how you look at the situation are physically weaker than a man.

Breaking this down to basic biology, a man still wants to pursue a woman, so if a woman is smart about having a great lover she will allow him to pursue her. She will demand the respect of a man and set the boundaries of the sexual experience, expecting him to be a good lover, adore her, treat her like a woman and the goddess that she is.

In return she will also be a good lover and understand that there are no strings attached but when he loves her it is done with intimacy, respect and sexual exploration.

To have a lover means that it is not just sex but sexual intimacy, and that is where the human and the animal make love, not just the animal.

Dr. Dawn Michael is an international certified clinical sexologist and relationship expert.  She is the co-owner of The Sexual Health and Wellness Center in Southern California. Her writing has appeared on Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Huffington Post, Fox News and NBC News. You can reach her at www.thehappyspouse.com and follow her on Twitter.

This article was originally published at Examiner. Reprinted with permission from the author.