Acing Friends with Benefits is a Lot of Fucking Work

Acing Friends with Benefits is a Lot of Fucking Work

So. 

After several soul-macerating evenings lurking in bars, surveying the utter dearth of acceptable humans you could even kindof consider smooshing your face against; which you followed up with a flood of regrettable right swipes that resulted, predictably, in some intensely moronic messages and/or unsolicited dick pics;  you have decided to say FUCK THIS SHIT, and are prepared to embark on a trip to poundtown with just a regular fucking human for once, i.e. your one friend over here.

We've all been there! Who among us, after being out here in these streets for a while, wouldn't crave the opportunity to snuggle up to a known non-monster, and spend a nice evening hanging out, laughing, talking, and watching Westworld, with maybe a pizza, a bottle of wine, and several orgasms?

I know! Several orgasms! Sign me up!

Haha, no, pump your brakes a second there my plucky Peaches and eager Eggplants. I mean, sure, yes, this shit can be great, but keep in mind it is also plenty easy to fuck up utterly and bring disaster crashing down on your stress-free no-strings situation. Because, in actual fact,

this relationship structure, lauded for its degree of chill and lack of effort required, is actually a lot of fucking work.

If you are feeling lazy, or feel like it's nbd to risk blowing up your life and leaving a trail of resentment, destruction, and the ashes of cherished relationships in your wake, I recommend you seek out a fuck buddy, whose thoughts and feelings you don't have to care about (as much. Don't be a dick about it), and leave your friends alone.

For the rest of us, let us examine a selection of some FWB situations and consider the principal tripping points I have found on the path to preserving friendships and avoiding explosions (of the non-orgasmic variety) once booty is brought into the mix.

Clear Eyes

The first thing you need to do for a successful With Benefits situation is negotiate your terms. Both of you should be able to jump into bed with open eyes, and a clear understanding of what's on the table and what's not, so each of you can manage your expectations and emotions accordingly.

Please DO NOT board the train to poundtown for the first time if either of you is shitfaced.

I'm not saying you can't be drunk*, but if you have any chance of coming out on the other side feeling good and confident about the sexy new layer you just heaped onto your friendship lasagna, you'll both need to have actually thought about it, and decided to go for it, and given your yes with considered enthusiasm.

What does that mean, exactly? Well.

If for example, you have this one friend, who is cute enough, and certainly sweet, and you've known for a while said friend had a hella huge crush on you when he met you, but you were unavailable at the time, because you were dating a dude, so you became friends instead; then you became good friends, though you've always sortof suspected he's been carrying a tiny candle (or maybe a full blown torch) for you this whole time, and now you are single again! and drinking scotch together, and looking at him in a certain kinda way, and I mean, he IS cute, and such a nice guy, and you say to yourself, Self, we are clearly shit at picking dudes, we should be attracted to nice boys like this one, not shitty ass-hats like our ex...and hey, wouldn't it be nice to wake up next to someone who actually kindof adores us, for once? and so you decide you want to slam the With Benefits option onto the table (because let's be honest, if you'd actually wanted to date him you'd have done it by now) - it is probably unfair to do so after you have consumed the aforementioned quantity of beverages, and especially if you've already kindof crawled into his lap when you're rolling all this out. Even if you DO peel your mouth off of him for a full 20 minutes in order to explain the parameters of what you have to offer and what you don't, and even if he keeps saying he's up for it (which, ahem, you could tell, cause you did that on purpose), he probably has not actually gotten the most ideal circumstances in which to consider your offer fairly.

Don't be drunk and greedy! A good friend is not so careless with the other one's emotions.

*you will definitely be drunk

Clear Inner-Eyes (Self Awareness)

Knowing yourself and what you can and cannot tolerate, what you do and do not enjoy is essential to being able to participate in a With Benefits situation.

There is nothing wrong with the way you are. But if you try to copy other people's FWB rules, and/or follow some pattern you saw in a movie or on tv you're going to fail. Everyone needs different shit to be happy, and any successful relationship, causal or serious, will have to be adapted to suit the topography of your own true heart.

Are you more of a monogamy person, who might be unhappy if you learn that you are one of several friends that have the WB with this particular F? That's cool! You just need to know that and cop to it before you get going. If your Friend is cool with accepting this limitation, then get to fucking! But if Friend is like, nah, that's actually the opposite of what I had in mind, you will have to keep dem panties pulled up. Or else be prepared for the inevitable heartache when you discover your Friend is sleeping with, just, a whole bunch of other people.

There are an unlimited amount of things your personal heart might need to keep beating along blissfully without breaking. Part of the beauty of this being your friend is that you (presumably) feel comfortable letting them know who you actually are. So trust your friend not to recoil in disgust and dismay when you show them a new aspect of your weird and wonderful personality, just like always. What the hell else are friends for!

Fickle Heart

So great! You have settled on terms and are happily Netflix and Chilling with whatever frequency you've agreed to. You might be tempted to assume that you're out of the woods, having completed the hard work of addressing yourself and your friend with actual raw honesty.

Nope.

Your heart is a bastard and sometimes it just does what it wants without regard to the delicate arrangements you just so painstakingly made.

You might find that what you thought you'd be OK with - and enthusiastically signed up for - you are not actually OK with. Maybe discussing what went wrong on your friend's date with someone else while you are lying next to each other sweaty and spent makes you feel weird, and jealous, and you don't like that.  Maybe the sex will actually be shitty, or -worse- just kinda meh, and make you feel like you wasted a lot of time talking about feelings for no reason. Or maybe you will discover that the heat of your buddy's fingers skimming the curves of your bathing suit area unleashes in you a flood of emotions you'd previously not considered possible.

That happens! Remember not to freak out and busy yourself pointing fingers and assigning blame. Sometimes you try shit and it just doesn't work. (I tried hot yoga once. I slipped on my own gross sweat and almost knocked myself out. So now I do not fuck with hot yoga.)

Don't be mad at your friend for feeling feelings when he said he wouldn't, and don't be mad at her for not feeling them back. Try not to feel hurt if anyone needs to take a minute to process and readjust. Just remember you are friends first and fucking second, treat each other accordingly (i.e. generously and gently), and you should be ok.

You loose

So if you've talked it all out and gotten your heart on board and you've given it a whirl and it is all fun and sexy and surprising and everyone wakes up in the morning and feels fine, and everyone feels fine the next week, and you bone again and it is just, DEAR LORD, hallelujah - then the third and final hurdle you'll have to clear will be sticking the dismount.

Nothing lasts forever, and at some point, no matter how careful you are one of three things will happen:

1. You get bored of doing it/the sex gets stale
2. One of you gets in a relationship
3. One of you catches feelings.

Options 1 and 2 are pretty self explanatory, but let's walk through option 3, because people are always so terrified it. 

When people talk to me about their long distance relationships didn't work because of the inability to include physical touch in their sexual relationship, it has long been my response that, "a sexual relationship without sex is just a friendship" i.e. if your boyfriend isn't fucking you, he's not your boyfriend he's just your friend friend. 

SO then, if your friend is fucking you, does she magically become your girlfriend?

Not quite.
But once you get to getting down the line that separates these roles does get thin.

The more time you spend together, closer your friendship gets. The more often you smear your bodily fluids all over each other,  the more sex hormones your body will soak your brain in. So eventually, if there is someone to whom you are growing progressively closer, emotionally, and with whom you are progressively building a more comfortable sexual rhythm...well. It's easy for the line between Friend-I-Fuck and Person-I-am-Dating to blur itself into erasure.

Therefore, if at no point you get bored of boning, or find someone you actually care to date all formal style, then eventually you should expect to hit a point past which you can't continue fucking without your friendship affection morphing into something more relationshipy. 

Again, don't go lighting your hair on fire if/when this happens. Maybe instead of ending your FWB relationship, you can upgrade to an open relationship (prepare yourself for a whole new round of rules negotiations. Fun!). Or like maybes you'll both decide you actually want to go in on some falling in love and dating like in the movies (Unicorns!)  

Otherwise just be prepared for the thing to come to an end, at some point.  But mostly:

Pull the e-brake before you get too far down any of these three roads.

 This is the real hard part. And I can't help you with it, you're just gonna hafta feel that bitch out for yourself.

Actually pulling the ripcord is easy enough: you just say, "hey, this isn't working for me any more, I need to stop." Then prepare yourself for A LOT of talking.

Or maybe not a lot. Who knows! But you may need to do some serious emotional unpacking to make sure everyone's ok and you've both landed on your feet. Especially if you have slightly fucked up and waited too long to launch your escape pod, and you find yourself manning the clean-up crew. 

But if you stick your dismount right, you'll be able to transition back down into a nice, platonic friendship situation with minimal hurt and hiccups.  

 I promise this can happen! I have managed it a whole One Times!

Remember to stretch first.

Good luck out there kids.

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