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FWB Pros and Cons: Is Friends With Benefits a Good Idea?

By: Melissa Miller , February 25, 2024

Finding yourself sexually attracted to a friend or someone you know you care about but probably don’t want to seriously date can bring up a mix of exciting and concerning feelings. There’s the obvious comfort you find within a friendship but there’s also these new things you notice about them that pique your interest in a new way. 

 

You may find yourself asking, “what are the pros and cons of fwb” or “is friends with benefits a good idea?” And, it can be. But you should take some time to assess if it’s worth it or not. Keep reading to figure out the ultimate friend with benefits pros and cons.

What does friends with benefits mean for actual friends?

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The idea to have sex with your friend often begins with a subtle shift in perspective, where familiarity transforms into something more. A spark of interest that catches you off guard. 

 

People are alway growing and changing individually and within all relationships, even friendships. Where you were in your lives through your friendship can change. One of you could come out of a committed relationship or you could simply find yourself more sexually aligned than you did in the past. 

 

Nonetheless, you find yourself noticing the small details that turn you on. Yet, alongside the excitement of newfound feelings, there’s a simultaneous apprehension, as you navigate the uncharted territory of this sexual attraction within the context of friendship. And considering changing the dynamic of the friendship can leave you in the purgatory of longing and hesitation, as you weigh the potential pros and cons of crossing over into a sexual relationship or friends with benefits.

Is friends with benefits a good idea or too risky?

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While the idea of an uncomplicated sexual relationship with a trusted friend may seem appealing, the reality is that emotions are complex and often unpredictable, and sex with someone you care about can lead to that. What starts as a mutually agreed-upon arrangement can quickly evolve into more, from jealousy, unmet expectations, and blurred boundaries to substantial romantic feelings and a desire for more. 

 

Friends with benefits relationships fall under the umbrella of consensual non-monogamy, or when you are clear about wanting a non-monogamous relationship, communicate it and both partners agree to it. According to a 2020 survey, 1 in 5 Americans has been in a consensually non-monogamous relationship at some point in their life and 43% of millennials said it’s their preferred relationship type.

 

A friends with benefits arrangement also differs when you have a long standing friendship versus hooking up with someone and deciding you’re going to keep the relationship in the friend zone despite being sexually involved. 

 

Moreover, maintaining a purely physical connection with someone you care about deeply can strain the emotional foundation of the friendship, leading to hurt feelings and potential rifts. Ultimately, whether friends with benefits is a good idea or too risky depends on the individuals involved, their communication skills, and their ability to navigate the complexities of such a dynamic with honesty and respect.

Friends with benefits pros and cons

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Determining if the pros and cons of a friends with benefits relationship often requires a lot of self awareness on your part, an acknowledgement that it will change the relationship (for the good or the bad) and a togetherness in navigating the shift with the person.

 

The most important thing to ask yourself is whether or not you’re ready to experience and work through those changes. Examining friends with benefits pros and cons will help you come to that decision.

 

Advantages of friends with benefits

 

Communication and boundaries are crucial to navigating a friends with benefits situation successfully, but when you do, they can come with a bunch of perks. 

 

These are the friends with benefits pros.

 

  1. You don’t have the restriction of a committed relationship. You can flirt with and pursue other people while enjoying the time you spend with your friend with benefits.
  2. You don’t have the responsibilities or obligations that come from a committed relationship. No need to feel obligated to go to their grandmother’s 90th birthday or bring them to any random family events, you’re just friends that are sleeping together. 
  3. You can explore desires and sex with someone you aren’t concerned about a future with. Being intimate with a friend can provide a safe space for exploration and experimentation, without the fear of judgment or rejection. This can lead to a deeper understanding of one’s own desires and preferences.
  4. It’s safer (and probably more fun) than a one night stand. Since there’s an established connection and understanding, you get to have casual sex with familiarity. 
  5. There aren’t any expectations of a long term relationship. Friends with benefits arrangements are typically temporary or more fluid by nature. This lack of expectations for commitment can alleviate pressure and allow both parties to enjoy the present.
  6. You might fall for each other. Maybe you just needed to test the waters to see that you’re really just meant to date each other!

 

Think the advantages of friends with benefits look appealing? Don’t forget to consider the potential challenges too.

 

Disadvantages of friends with benefits

 

Unfortunately, no matter how clearly you communicate, sex can shift a relationship. Unanticipated feelings can arise for one party, the other or both of you. 

 

These are the cons of friends with benefits. 

 

  1. Without commitment, both parties can do whatever they want. This could offer a false sense of security because of the friendship, but you should still be practicing safe sex for STD and pregnancy protection. Or, simply put, you could end up feeling jealous. 
  2. You have sex without the other perks of a relationship. Being that there has to be some boundaries in place, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to depend on them emotionally or to show up for you when you need support. It’s also likely your time spent will be much more inconsistent than a real relationship. 
  3. Sexual exploration together can lead to deeper feelings. Orgasms trigger the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the bonding hormone, due to its ability to foster feelings of closeness and intimacy with one’s partner. No matter what you’ve agreed on, your body may have other plans in store for you. 
  4. The friendship itself may change when the benefits start. It can be challenging to navigate hanging out as just friends now that the option to have sex is on the table, and for some, talking about other people you’re seeing may look different. 
  5. You might get your heart broken or be the heartbreaker. While you could end up with mutual feelings, you and your friend could end up with different feelings and different wants. When one may want more and the other doesn’t, the relationship will likely change or may even be lost altogether.

FWB questions to ask yourself before jumping in

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Understanding the pros and cons of friends with benefits is just the start. Here are a few friends with benefits questions to ask yourself before making the move from just friends to more. 

 

  • If the friends with benefits relationship goes south, would I miss their friendship?
  • Do I really respect the friendship or do I just want less responsibility within a sexual relationship?
  • Will I be jealous of the other people they’re seeing?
  • Will they be jealous of the other people I’m seeing?
  • Am I open to the friends with benefits relationship turning into more?
  • Am I prepared for when they move on to someone else?
  • Am I prepared to have a conversation with them should I decide to date someone else?
  • Are we able to talk through wherever the relationship goes?

Balance between situationship vs. friends with benefits

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Realistically, when you already have an established friendship there’s a higher chance that your history will make things a little murky. If you already say “I love you” as friends, the dynamic is bound to change with sex. 

 

It would be worthwhile to acknowledge these things up front, promise to be honest with each other and navigate them with care and respect for one another. You don’t want to end up in a lingering situationship – where one person wants more than the other – with someone you actually care about and run the risk of hurting or vice versa. 

 

Try to discuss things like whether or not you will talk about the other people you’re seeing, your feelings about your situation and realistic expectations.

When is friends with benefits worth it?

Friends with benefits relationships are worth it, but it still takes work. While it may be much different and easier than a committed relationship or dating in general, it still requires honesty, communication and whatever else you agree to within the relationship.

 

If you’re not ready to risk ruining a relationship with a friend or acquaintance you enjoy spending time with, consider finding a FWB relationship with someone you don’t know as well on Instabang.com

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