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? What is the actual BENEFIT?
Can there be friends with benefits and still friends after the benefits are gone? Can someone have sex, even casual sex, without it affecting them emotionally, spiritually, physically, etc? Your comments have helped me better understand the entire issue. After all I’ve heard on my show and read in your comments, it’s worth talking about.
So what are friends 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 “friends with benefits”:
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” like this, “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.” It is “like a drug” and it is “cheap”. Those are not words I would use to describe a meaningful relationship that is mutually rewarding and beneficial.
Christina gave a female’s perspective of what she thought “friends with benefits” are, “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, because I tend to get really attached, but managed to stay distant.” “Casual” and “distant” also don’t describe a meaningful relationship with healthy benefits.
Why Do People Want “Friends With Benefits”?
- No Commitment
There are some people who are fearful of a committed relationship. To them, commitment is something scary. Maybe they have been abandoned in the past or hurt by someone they committed themselves to and so now they are afraid to trust anyone again. Because of their fear they miss out on a true meaningful relationship. You can read more about abandonment issues here.
- Fear of Rejection
There are many people who are afraid of being rejected. This is especially true in romantic relationships. Some people have been rejected by parents or bullies at school. These people are very cautious about relationships. Jennifer explained it well, “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.”
- It’s A Drug
Physiologically the act of sex causes a chemical reaction in the brain that is similar to a drug effect. God designed this for a committed relationship to draw two people together for life. When it is used casually it becomes a dangerous and unhealthy addiction rather than a relationship. Read more about addiction here.
It is easy to see why so many people might think they want a “friend with benefits” experience. The reality is they walk away from it completely unfulfilled or even deeply hurt. The problem is they are not dealing with the real issue, which is healing from past experiences and relationships.