Does ‘Friends With Benefits’ Work?

7/9/13 10:04AM EST

God I hope so… It would really devalue a lot of my friendships if the sex were taken out of them.

Let us think about this question as it applies to the average person. Sex often comes attached to feelings of romance. The act itself implies a level of intimacy that differs from that of platonic relationships. If you decide to engage in this type of intimacy with someone who has heretofore just been a friend, you are changing your relationship. That does not mean that the relationship will no longer work; it simply means that something about it has permanently altered.

Do not let the word “permanently” scare you. All I’m trying to say is that it’s hard to pretend you haven’t repeatedly slept with your friend once you have already done so. Friendships should include honesty as a key component, and lying to one another about your mutual sex life kind of makes you…bad friends?

However, there are many breeds of “lying,” some of which turn out to be harmless, like the famous “white lie.” Another sort of lying with potentially positive associations could be called “secrecy.” Secrets (if they belong to you) are almost always fun and not necessarily damaging.

How does this relate to friends with benefits? Well, you and your best friend could be sleeping together and not acknowledging it (to each other, or to your other friends) without lying about it because it’s your personal secret, one that makes the whole affair significantly more exciting than any widely known romance or fuck buddy. If you decide to try something along these lines, I’d recommend initiating it while drunk and going to get bagels the next morning as if nothing had ever happened. Then wait about a month and go for it again.

Also, make sure that no third party walks in during the middle of the act. She will be able to blackmail you for as long as you keep the whole thing a secret, and no one likes to be blackmailed.

If the secrecy route doesn’t work for you and your friend, do not despair, for the two of you may still be able to seamlessly fuck. Though I have heard through the grapevine that all women get irreversibly attached to their lovers after sex, I have a feeling that this might not be the case in reality. Your female best friend may not fall head over heels in love with you the moment you two jump in the sack.

On the other hand, when you have an established friendship with someone before fucking them, you likely have strong feelings for them to begin with, even if those feelings had only been platonic up until you decided to consummate your mutual affection. If you enjoy having sex together as well as spending friend time together, then why not push that friends with benefits relationship into a full-fledged agreement of your undying love?

The best answer has to do with the inherent risk of romantic relationships. If you decide to take that small step from friends who fuck to friends who say, “I love you” before they kiss, then you’re agreeing to a much shakier foundation for your friendship. Think about how many significant others (let’s define that as people you’ve had sex with at least three times) you’ve broken up with versus how many close friends you’ve severed ties with. For me, at least, the former number is much higher (and I’m thinking close friends here, not friendly acquaintance types or the girl you have to hang out with because she goes to all the same parties).

A good way to keep your friends with benefits relationships from toeing the line of romance parallels the method of getting over a tough breakup. Make sure to sleep with other people. That way, if you ever reach the point where sex with your friend is the only sex you can think about, conjuring wild thoughts of the two of you honeymooning in Bali, you can blot those images out with another dick (or vagina, depending on who you are and which way you swing).

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