I have decided to blog on the whole subject of friends with benefits because it has become so huge in our culture, especially among high school and college students. Plus, the phrase itself got me thinking. I mean, who really benefits? Is it a 50/50 benefit? Can there be friends with benefits and still friends after the benefits are gone? And can someone have sex, even casual sex, without it affecting them emotionally, spiritually, etc? Your comments have helped me better understand the entire issue. Believe me, after all I’ve heard on my show and read in your comments, it’s worth talking about.
So what is a friend with benefits? Here’s one definition I found:
A friend with benefits is a casual relationship between two people who engage in sex without demanding or expecting a more committed, romantic relationship.
There are other ways you could define it as well.
It’s sex with a friend...
- With no strings attached.
- Just for fun.
- Without romantic drama.
- Whenever you want it.
- Without emotional attachment.
One student described friends with benefits to a “T”. He said, “You know, you go out on a date – dinner and a movie sometimes. You know, just as friends. And then afterwards, there’s the benefits. It’s like a drug almost. You know where you can get it and you know where you can get it cheap. And that’s where you go.” Christina gave a female’s perspective of what she thought friends with benefits are. She said, “I am currently in a friends with benefits ‘thing’ but it's more like we're casual sex partners. I wasn't sure it was possible, and I tend to get really attached, but managed to stay distant. We're just really good friends and we've both mutually agreed that we don't want relationships, so we just do the sexual part. It's nice...and I don't have to worry about a boyfriend.”
Now that we have defined what it is, let’s try to answer the question of how many
…60% of all students have had at least 1 friend with benefits.
teenagers and young adults are into the friends with benefits experience? There was a study done by Michigan State University, as reported by The New York Times, which found that 60% of all students have had at least 1 friend with benefits. Interestingly enough, one-tenth of those friends with benefits became a traditional long term romantic relationship. About one-third surveyed said they stopped the sex and remained friends. And about 1 in 4 eventually broke it off, the sex and the friendship. The rest (one-third) continued as friends with benefits.
There must be a reason that 60% of college students have tried friends with benefits. So what are the supposed benefits? Here are a few:
There are some people who don’t have the time or the desire to work on a long term relationship. To them, commitment demands more of them than they are willing to give. Yet they want the good feelings sex brings. They’re convinced friends with benefits will give them both - no commitment and great sex. Melody’s comment says it all:“Yes, I have had a friend with benefits, and we are still good friends to this day. We would hook up a few times a year and it was nothing more than a nice dinner and GREAT sex! Now I have a long term relationship, I don't need that, but he is still there as a friend, and I know that if my current relationship ends that he will be there for me, because he told me so.”
Fear of the rejection of romantic relationships.
There are many people who are afraid of being rejected. This is especially true in romantic relationships. After all, many people have been rejected most of their lives. Some from their parents, others from their schoolmates, still others from society. These people are very cautious about any commitment, much less the trust it takes in a regular dating relationship. Yet on the other hand, they want to feel desired knowing at least one person wants them, even if it is just during a limited time while having sex with a friend who understands their situation. “I think a lot of people have friends with benefits instead of relationships because they don't want to get close to anyone for fear of getting hurt…” (Jennifer)
Friends with benefits can be a lot of fun, almost like a drug.
There is a reason why we all want to have sex, and that reason is because it feels good. Friends already know each other so they feel more relaxed with their sex
“But sometimes [friends with benefits] can be fun and I say that because it takes away the pain and my problems.”
partner. So, their casual sex can end up being more fun than any sex they’ve had before. And at least for a while they feel a high from their sexual experience, kind of like a drug. In a way, friends with benefits can help us self-medicate for our problems. “I am always having friends with benefits. Sometimes it gets depressing because they just want me for benefits and not a real relationship. But sometimes it can be fun and I say that because it takes away the pain and my problems. I don't know how to stop. I just enjoy it so much and I want a real relationship but all any guy wants that knows me get there benefits.” (Tiffany)
It is easy to see why so many people have had a friend with benefits experience. Yet, most walk away from it all unfulfilled or even deeply hurt. The wisest man in the Bible, King Solomon, said this:
"Stolen water tastes best,
and the food you eat in secret
tastes best of all.
“None who listen to Stupidity
that her guests
are as good as dead.”
NEXT WEEK’S TOPIC – FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS PART TWO
In my next blog, I want to talk about the negatives to friends with benefits. So answer this question to help me as I’m writing next week’s blog:
What do you think might be some of the negatives to a friends with benefits relationship?