11 Friends With Benefits Rules to Keep Things Chill

Relationship Rules
19 Jun 2023
10 min read
11 Friends with Benefits Rules for Low Drama

You have a good friend. Both of you happen to be single, and it’s clear you’re attracted to one another. At the same time, you aren’t up to a full-blown relationship with one another. Is it time to enter into an FWB relationship and set some sort of friends with benefits rules? That depends!

In the best of situations, a friends-with-benefits relationship can be mutually satisfying, and a lot of fun. At its worst, an FWB relationship can devastate a friendship and leave both people involved feeling burned by the experience. So, if you plan on entering into such a relationship, there are some friends-with-benefits rules to follow.

What Is an FWB Relationship?

FWB relationship is a friendship where two people also have sex with no strings attached. Friends with benefits simply enjoy sex with one another without any expectation of a committed relationship. They may provide each other things like emotional support and occasional outgoings, but outside formal dating relationship.

Of course, friends with benefits often evolve into something more. You’ve probably seen this play out in some of your favorite sitcoms or romantic comedy movies. Writers love to turn guy and girl best friends into lovers. That’s rare, but absolutely possible!

Related reading: What Are the Signs Your Friends with Benefits Is Falling for You

Perks of a Friends With Benefits Relationship

Why would someone want to enter into an FWB relationship? Isn’t that kind of casual sex ultimately bad for your mental and sexual health? Potentially, but we’ll address the downsides in a moment.

The truth is those successful FWB relationships can satisfy the needs of two people. Additionally, if you and your FWB partner are on the same page, you can both experience:

  • A sexual relationship with somebody you can trust
  • A break from seeking out a romantic relationship
  • No strings attached fun if that’s what you need

That’s why the ideal FWB situation is uncomplicated, fun, and satisfying for many people.

Downsides of an FWB Relationship

FWB relationships can be potentially damaging, which is often caused by mismatched expectations. When this happens, hurt feelings are the lightest consequences.  As friends with benefits are often more than a random hookup, people feel an emotional investment, even if they have no intention of getting into a romantic relationship.

There’s also the risk that somebody will catch feelings. That can turn something fun into something devastating, at least for one of the people in that friends-with-benefits situation.

There’s one last downside to having a friend with benefits. If things get ugly with your bed buddy, that can ripple through your entire friend group. Now, you have a situation where your other friends may feel as if they have to pick sides. Also, you may not want members of your friend group and yourself being privy to each other’s sex lives.

Friends with benefits rules to navigate a casual relationship

11 Friends with Benefits Rules for a Fun And Healthy Sexual Relationship with a Pal

If you want to enjoy casual sex with an FWB partner and remain good friends in your FWB relationships no matter what happens, keep reading. These rules exist to provide both of you with a reality check, and just might help preserve a beautiful friendship.

1. Acknowledge the Risks

You can approach FWB relationships with emotional maturity and honesty, but that doesn’t guarantee that things won’t go bad. Too many people are wired for sexual intimacy to turn into emotional intimacy. No matter how careful you are, an FWB situation can go wrong leaving two people with hurt feelings or worse.

All you can do is be careful, have empathy, and behave like a decent person. Then, be honest that your choice to enter an FWB arrangement isn’t without risks.

2. Make Sure You Are on the Same Page at All Times

Just because you and your sex buddy were on the same page initially doesn’t mean things might change. One of you could find yourself catching feelings after a period of time. Or, you might begin to feel pangs of jealousy, even though you don’t have an exclusive relationship status.

Related reading: What Is Retroactive Jealousy and How to Overcome It

This is why communication is so important. Don’t be surprised that the other person’s needs or expectations have changed. Take time to have an honest conversation about your situation on the regular. This ensures that both you and your FWB aren’t at risk of being hurt and disappointed.

3. Set Some Ground Rules

In order for an FWB relationship to work, you have to establish some clear ground friends with benefits rules. Here are some questions worth asking in this regard:

  • Will you go public with your friends-with-benefits relationship?
  • Are you ready seeing other people together?
  • How will you handle it if one or both of you feels a romantic connection with the other?
  • How often will you see each other?
  • Does this mutual understanding leave room for a romantic commitment if things work out?

Of course, this goes both ways. They may have their on guidelines and expectations.

4. Always Practice Safe Sex

Your sexual health is very important, and so is your friend’s. Protect yours and theirs by practicing safe sex. No, it doesn’t matter how confident you are that everything will be fine. It isn’t worth the risk.

Treat this like you would any other sexual relationship that is not monogamous. Get tested, and use a barrier method for birth control. A pregnancy or STI is going to bring worst kind of complication to this situation.

5. Discuss Romantic Feelings: Don’t Deny Them

Don’t hurt your own feelings by denying that you feel an emotional connection to your partner. If you or they develop feelings, the worse thing you can do is deny or lie. Remember, this is your friend, and you should be able to share your thoughts with them safely.

Related reading: 14 Signs a Casual Relationship Is Getting Serious

To be clear, this doesn’t mean the other person has to reciprocate. You certainly aren’t obligated to return their feelings if you don’t see them that way. It’s okay to say you’d rather just remain close friends without a monogamous long-term relationship.

6. Choose the Right Partner for a Casual Relationship

Your sex life is nonexistent, and you want to spice things up with a friends-with-benefits arrangement. But, who do you choose?

You want to pick a sexual partner with low-drama potential. They’ll need to be just as chill about this arrangement as you. The idea is that both of you get your sexual needs met while still maintaining a fun friendship. So, that friend who tends to be high-drama and a bit confrontational might not be the best choice.

You should also skip that one friend who forms a strong emotional attachment with every person they date within the first two weeks. Stick with healthy friends who aren’t going to develop romantic thoughts just because you do the deed.

Related reading: Are You In Love or Just Clingy? 8 Love vs Attachment Differences

7. Keep Some Friends Off Limits

Think about your circle of friends. You probably have stronger emotional ties with a smaller inner circle of people, while things are much more casual as you get further out. You just aren’t as emotionally attached to the folks in that wider friend circle.

To avoid heartache and drama, consider limiting any friends with benefits to that wider circle. There’s just too much potential for catching feelings or other complexities among your closest friends.

Before choosing a friend for all the sex with no strings attached, ask yourself this question. Would I rely on this person for emotional support if something bad happened in my life? If the answer is yes, consider whether you really want to risk that close relationship by entering into a friends-with-benefits arrangement.

Set healthy boundaries to make things work

8. Set Boundaries and Respect Theirs

Some of the best relationship advice involves setting boundaries. This is as true in friends-with-benefits scenarios as it is in romantic relationships. This will only work if you both know where you stand and what is and is not allowed. Without boundaries, an arrangement that was supposed to be strictly sexual and fun becomes a real mess.

9. Don’t Lie to Them or Yourself (Please!)

Never forget that the other person is your friend. They aren’t just an object for your sexual pleasure. There was a real relationship in place before you decided to spend time with them for the purpose of having sex. Your friend with benefits deserves honesty and respect. They aren’t just a random hookup.

So, don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep just to convince them to have sex with you. Any physical intimacy you experience in the short term isn’t worth destroying any future relationship you have with your friend.

10. Understand That Not Everyone Can Manage This

Can you really make an FWB relationship work? Not everyone can, and that’s okay. For many of us, our sex lives are too deeply entangled with our emotions. It’s never just about scratching a sexual itch. Even if we don’t fall deeply in love, developing feelings is just part of the experience.

If you know that you can’t have sex and remain just friends, that’s okay. Being friends with benefits (FWB) isn’t for everybody. Even if it seems as if everyone else is enjoying friends-with-benefits relationships, there’s nothing wrong with you choosing something different.

11. Never Use This to Hide From Long-Term Commitment

“It is essential to make sure to explore psychological factors that may drive a desire for this type of relationship, such as a fear of commitment from past traumas or negative relationship experiences. There’s nothing wrong with exploring a FWB relationship, but it’s critical to be honest with yourself about whether or not this is what you really want.”

Lisa Lawless, PhD, a psychologist and a relationship expert

Friends-with-benefits relationships can be great fun. If you are at a stage of life in which you aren’t interested in anything other than no strings attached sex, a successful friends-with-benefits relationship might be just what you need. For example, college students often pursue FWB relationships because they are too busy with studies and too young for long-term relationships.

This is great, as long as you aren’t allowing fear of commitment to stop you from finding true love. As great as it is to have a friend you can count on for a bit of sex here and there, true love is also pretty awesome. So, do what works for you, but be open to other possibilities as well. You deserve a fulfilling love life at every stage.

Friends With Benefits (FWB): Are You Ready to Just Enjoy It?

“Your mind should be actively involved in creating the current and future experiences that you want. You cannot create happy, healthy relationships on auto-pilot.”

Sam Owen, relationship coach

As we finish navigating through these friends with benefits rules, remember this. Even as you find yourself in a FWB situation, there is always a reason behind. A reason that you want to be with that person. A reason that you were attracted to them. And a reason you want more than just a casual relationship with them. Stick to this.

It is completely possible to create a healthy relationship status from a FWB situation. All it takes is the right level of commitment, and the ability to follow a few points of protocol. Always remember to set boundaries with you friend with benefits, understand that the situation is a bit more complicated than just having casual sex, and never allow yourself to feel hurt even if you managed to develop feelings while they did not.

It needs to be understood that just as every single relationship is not meant to last, or become successful that neither is every single casual sexual encounter or sex friends tye of relationship. While there is not commitment when it comes to a romantic sense, there is still an emotional type of investment as well as a potential attachment between you and the other person who is involved.

When it comes to having a successful FWB arrangement, learning to spend time with each other and knowing how to set boundaries is crucial. As long as you follow these points, keep the emotional attachment you may develop in mind and understand that you may not be able to be just friends after you break it off. You will find that whether you both develop romantic feelings or not, you and your FWB partner will have a thriving and healthy intimate relationship with each other. Especially, with a long-term mutual agreement on your friends with benefits rules.

Dating Tips Author
Shelly Standford
After a devastating relationship breakup, I threw myself into the dating scene by registering on Hily. I had over 100 dates - some absolute disasters, some pretty average, and some that were actually great. So many stories to tell and insights to share with you guys!
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