A College Girl's Guide to Friends With Benefits
Tips to Keep in Mind
In this day and age, having a friend (or friends) with benefits is more common than not. Older generations may frown upon casual sex, but there is nothing wrong with having someone to relieve stress or just have fun with. This can actually be healthy. Just like hugs and/or drugs, sex can increase the dopamine levels in your brain. Especially if you're doing the dirty deed with someone who knows how to make your toes curl.
However there are a few things you want to keep in mind when having an FWB. You don't want things to get messy or confusing because mixed signals can easily happen. So here are some of my own tips to keep your sex life happy, healthy, and drama free.
(Disclosure: these are not an official set of rules, just things I've learned through my own experiences. They may or may not work for you personally.)
1) Sexual Compatibility
One of the most important things about having an FWB is sexual compatibility. Having a sexual partner that doesn't have the same fantasies or fetishes makes it boring. You need someone who you can explore your sexual desires with. If you're the type of person that likes getting down to the nitty gritty, you need a partner that is the same way. If you two aren't sexually compatible, you won't be fully satisfied. However, there is a solution to this; get a second partner who can fill the desires the other one can't. It's okay to have multiple partners as long as you're safe about it and communicate this with your partners. It's best to let them know in case any problems arise (i.e. STDs or STIs). Which is why you should always take precautions.
As stated above, you need to communicate with your partner(s). Communication is key in any relationship (even casual ones). You need to be able to tell your partner what you want and vice versa. You both need to understand that it is a casual relationship and if any emotions arise on either end you both need to communicate this to one another so things don't get complicated.
3) No Sleepovers, No Cuddling
As much as some of us (especially me) love cuddling and sleeping in our partner's bed, but it's not the best idea in a casual relationship. Cuddling creates a raw emotionally intimacy which can cause the seedlings of emotional attachment. Casual relationships are meant for fun, not heartbreak. Although there are some people that aren't affected by this, typically guys, sometimes it can cause mixed signals. Personally, my favorite part about casual relationships is not feeling obligated to stay the night or to cuddle. I can put my clothes on, go home, and sleep in my own bed without someone snoring in my ear.
4. You're not actually friends.
My definition of "friends" might be different from yours but friends with benefits doesn't actually mean that you're friends. It's more like intimate acquaintances. Now, don't get me wrong, depending on how long you've "been together," you may learn a few deep things about each other. However, most FWB relationships only last a few months. I have successfully had the same FWB on and off for over two years. (Dad if you're reading this, I'm sorry, please forgive me). We both agree that we have reached a level of friendship, but not so much so where we hangout outside of the house or that we don't always have sex. We (used to) always have sex. We've taken breaks over the time we've been together because we both would date other people and get into relationships. We're currently on a break now because I'm in a relationship. I can't really call it a break though because I'm thinking it's pretty permanent. I'm really happy with the person I'm with. Anyway, we both consider ourselves to be friends and we are fond of each other but we have never hung out as actual friends. The point I'm trying to make is, if you do start to become actual friends you might develop some emotional intimacy. When you start to get to know someone on a personal level, you may start to develop feelings, and that's not what FWBs are for.
Any successful relationship requires trust just as much as it requires communication. You have to trust that the person you're sleeping with on a regular basis isn't gonna give you any STD's or STI's. Which brings us full spin back to communication. If you're casually sleeping with more than one person on a regular basis, you have to let them know. They should let you know if they're sleeping with anyone else too. If you only have one partner and you'd feel safer if you were the only partner to your partner, you have to let them know that. The FWB I mentioned above knew he wasn't my only partner and I knew I wasn't his only partner either. But we trusted each other not to bring any bugs into our beds. Before I got into a relationship, I liked to keep the same partners for a while. It's not safe to have partners in heavy rotation.
That basically concludes what I've learned from my personal experience. I'm sure there's more, but you should learn what works best for you, not what works best for me. Everyone is different, though you should keep some of it in mind. Just in case any of you were wondering, before you jump to any conclusions (if you haven't already), no, I have never had an STD or STI. I get checked regularly. You should too, whenever you get a new partner, just to make sure everything is clear and you're good to go. ALWAYS practice safe sex, condoms and birth control are your friends. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry.