It should be clear what “Friends With Benefits” means but the more I ask people (especially those on dating apps) to explain what they’re personally using the phrase to describe, the more I realise friendship isn’t included.
I love a genuine FWB (friends with benefits) situation.
You know what I mean here, I’m talking about those gorgeous people you chat to, whether that’s in real life, online, or on the phone. They care about your life. They give you cuddles when you’re having a hard time and high five your victories. They know what your pets are called and how you like your coffee.
And sometimes you have sex with them.
This usually isn’t forward planned and it sure as hell is never a given, there’s no entitlement and no expectation. It just happens and everything is squishy cool. The next day they’re texting you geek memes again.
For this to work you need the F word to genuinely mean friends. Not ‘secretly in love with and hurting’ and especially not ‘no strings attached’.
That’s not friendship. Sorry. Friendship has strings, it has emotional attachments, and most of all it considers feelings as valid. It listens when you talk, especially about things which could cause you discomfort. The friendship doesn’t end when the sex stops.
What that stranger I’ve never met before on the internet is looking for is a different kind of FWB. A f*ck without boundaries.
They want someone to appear when they want them, go back in their box when they don’t and for that person to not expect a single thing from them.
That’s stopped sounding like a friend to me. It’s not even sounding fun at all. See, I like to have my needs met during sex and what that person is silently communicating is if they can’t be bothered to meet my emotional needs they aren’t going to be great at meeting my erotic ones either. Or indeed respecting any of my sexual boundaries.
I’m hearing a lot about what they want and not seeing any hint of understanding of the human being behind their one-sided agreement.
But surely, I hear you ask, there must be someone who will do this for them? I shouldn’t rain on their parade because other people can do what they like.
There are people who will enter into unbalanced agreements like this, some out of an equal desire to find someone who won’t cause them any problems. This usually ends with both parties calling each other selfish and wandering off to find more giving individuals. Sadly, often the people who are prepared to enter into this sort of ‘f*ck without boundaries’ situation are already emotionally damaged and being expected to run around after someone else’s whims might cause more trauma.
Still want emotionless no strings sex on your terms?
It exists. It’s called sex work. There are literally people who will pander to the majority of your desires more or less when you want it.
You still don’t get it for free and without boundaries, however.
I know Hollywood gave you your manic pixie dream girl, but she’s not real. Neither is Brad Pitt’s Thelma and Louise character. You aren’t entitled to anyone swooping in all pretty to come screw you.
All human interactions should have boundaries.
The kink scene is good at talking through needs and expectations before funsies happens (or it was, I’m seeing a lot less communication and a lot more expectation within it now unfortunately, but that’s another story)
Let’s normalise the same level of communication and boundary setting within vanilla sexual encounters.
Your casual sex needs will likely match someone else’s if you’re prepared to compromise a little, but unless you’re paying you won’t be able to sustain an unbalanced effort.
It’s unlikely someone will meet all your whims without any expectations of their own. That’s ok. Communicate. Compromise.
And when you find that person, don’t make the mistake of thinking what you have is a friend with benefits. If you aren’t prepared to create a connection which would exist happily without sex, that’s not a friendship.
Please don’t devalue genuine sexual friendships by labelling your repeated hook ups by the same terminology.