Why can't we be friends? Because sex. That's why.
I recently searched the term #fuckbuddies and was pleasantly surprised that this was a rather popular hash tag, mostly populated by memes, selfies of half naked humans and a lot of group shots (surprising?). Whether it's that opposite sex friend that's your "bestie", your study partner or that nice guy you keep on the down-low who is only talked about by their nickname amongst your friends, friends with benefits (FWB) is a state of relationship that many of us are all too familiar with. We get into them for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it feels like a magnet is pulling your bodies together, sometimes it's the lab partner you see on a weekly basis (you know...that one day made cleaning beakers hot), sometimes it's the guy one floor down that you chatted up at the coffee shop and sometimes it's simply because you're bored and they offer to bring more wine.
Be wary though. At times the FWB can be confused with a situationship. A situationship is highly based on sexual compatibility and long term convenience. They are the sexual relationships that straddle the FWB and relationship line; that foggy state of relationship status when there isn't a label on "what this is" or your situation together, as you navigate what the next steps are; like putting your Facebook relationship status into "it's complicated". Unhealthy situationships are the bane of my existence. Why? Because they're complicated and someone always gets emotionally hurt.
It is because of the frequency of situationships that I've been exposed to over the years that I decided to share a collaborated wealth of advice and lay down the rules of FWB relationships. To be honest, if executed properly, friends with benefits have been found to last longer than real relationships do! These rules are basically a guideline to demonstrate how to set healthy relationship boundaries for yourself and your lover. The motivation for #FWBrules is to help you figure out how to stay on good terms with your fornication friend for the desired amount of time and save the emotional heartache or disruption.
You may agree with most and disagree with a few, but if you've ever been an FWB you know exactly what I'm talking about. Hey! I didn't make the rules but I do want to share them with you; so, pony up, take a read and add your own #FWBrules in the comments below.
1. They are time limited. The lifespan of your love affair is limited and you have to come to terms with that going into the arrangement.
2. There are rules to the frequency of engagement. Basically, anywhere from once a week to once a month is acceptable, unless, it's a holiday or long weekend. The key is to keep things light and casual - no back to back encounters (sex marathon-ing to break a world record doesn't count, but keep the Powerade refrigerated).
3. Presents like small trinkets or picking up the bill are ok, but don't expect a gift for you birthday or for a respective holiday. Gift giving is for sentimental relationships.
4. Use safer sex practices; because, some gifts are the ones that keep on giving.
5. Your FWB can't be someone you work with. Been there, done that. Staff meetings just get awkward.
6. An open line of dirty/sexy texts should only be sent after dark. No daytime conversational texts. You have enough friends; tell them about your Game of Thrones spoiler.
7. On that note, when you do reach out you can ring them once but don't expect a response right away. As much as you and I both wish that life was about people waiting around to have sex with you they also lead lives. You are not allowed to get mad if the hook-up doesn't happen.
8. Keep it simple. Explore your fantasies, be real and don't be self conscience about your body. There is nothing more unsexy than an FWB who over thinks their looks or the situation, unless lingerie, toys or fetish play is involved.
9. Don't fall in love. Ever.... I mean it.
10. Sleeping over is appreciated, but not expected. Some FWB arrangements work best with the no sleep-over rule and some require it, especially if you're coming in from out of town or you both pass out from the Grey Goose. It's safe to say that if you're in a less than $20 cab ride radius, split it and get back to star fishing in your own bed.
11. The 72 hour rule. No pre-planning is allowed to happen prior to 72 hours before said hook-up. *Exception: if you don't live in the same city, planning is sometimes required if that's your agreed to arrangement but, there are also those times that out of courtesy you let each other know you're in town but have no obligations to hang out.
12. Sexting is encouraged. Well, because it's hot; but, have an agreement on sharing dirty pics that you're both comfortable with. No one likes to be pressured to share the goods digitally and, no one likes to see a surprise meme of their bodacious booty on Google.
13. Both of you get off. Both. Of. You. No one likes a greedy booty call; and, when it's this good, that's not a risk you're willing to take, now is it?
14. Be open to trying new things and being experimental in between the sheets. You're already taking a risk so why not take advantage of this new opportunity? Want to play a game of hide the pinky or show off your bendy-flexi that you've developed since joining hot yoga twice a week? FWBs are the best guinea pigs to try out that tongue flick you just read about or that pick-up line because it's about having fun, letting go and breaking all the naughty rules.
15. Be honest with each other. Whether it's directing a mini cliteratomy education session, or knowing when to cut the relationship off, honesty is one of the most important rules. If your relationship is becoming toxic to either of you or you're no longer interested then cutting it off by having an adult conversation is really the best and respectable move. Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy.
16. No drama. Have the talk before you hook-up (or once you've peed right after) and set the lay of land. You both know what this is. Games are meant to be played with rope and whipped cream, not with each other's emotions. If you're feeling compromised about a situation have the courtesy to put it out there and mutual respect to problem-solve together.
17. Have fun! Let go, turn on your alter ego if necessary and just give it your best. The FWB relationship is all about pleasure and physical intimacy. It is the epitome of carnality, lust, physical release and indulgence. It can mean something or, it can mean nothing - just try to stay on the same page and keep it cool.
There were some rules I was conflicted about adding to the larger list. I found them controversial and living in all kinds of the grey area of healthy relationship boundary building.
1. No introduction to close friends or family. That's the biggest distinction between an FWB and a situationship. Once you invite a genuine FWB into your inner circle things change.
2. Debated -- no contact 24 hours after the royal romp, unless it's to be polite and say "thanks for a fun night" or "I had a really good time, we should do it again sometime". Be polite, but don't play by play the Giants game -- you don't have time for that.
3. High fives as a celebratory gesture are completely acceptable, but only on occasions of mutual success.
4. Brunch is a slippery slope.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
The first of 2011's casual sex flicks, No Strings Attached starred Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher as old friends who decide to start having sex. Will they get together in the end? We can't even guess.
Next up on the f**k buddy train were Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake in Friends With Benefits. Was it a coincidence that the two stars of Black Swan would end up making basically the same movie? Perhaps, but if they were handing out Oscars in this genre, Kunis would be the one holding the statue.
Big burly guy meets leggy blond, and guess what? She wants to have sex with him, just like it would happen in real life. Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogan turn a one-night stand into so much more -- and we can't help but admit we sort of love it.
A woman who's willing to admit she's slept with more than four men? We can get behind that kind of plotline, particularly when it involves Anna Faris and her ridiculous antics.
This movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway supposedly has more to it than some romps in the sack, but you don't get that from this trailer. So we'll just pretend that these two good-looking actors spend most of their time onscreen in bed, without any attachments at all.
The lesser-known The People I've Slept With is a bit grungier than the more mainstream Knocked Up, but it follows a similar premise -- have casual sex, get pregnant, feel badly about your sex life. It does, however, seem to follow a more nuanced path.
Kristen Wiig's Bridesmaids may ostensibly be about the nutty antics of getting married and the women that make it even crazier, but one of the best storylines has to be around Wiig and Jon Hamm's terrible casual sex relationship.
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