in: Dating & Relationships

Navigating the Friends with Benefits Relationship

There is something alluring about the idea of having our sexual needs met by someone we already respect and trust. But can that be done without hurt feelings, someone wanting more, or things ending in disaster? The success of Friends with Benefits relationships—which are becoming increasingly common—depends not only on the people involved, but other factors too.

Things to Consider

  • Define “friends.” Even though the idea is to have a simple, stress-free sexual connection, friends-with-benefits relationships can get complicated. When considering this type of relationship with a friend, consider what kind of friendship you had with this person beforehand. A sexual relationship can be at risk for ending in a bad way, so think about what kind of friendship you could be losing if things don’t go as planned. Is this a close friend of many years? Is it someone you don’t know well, but like as a person? Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to enter into a friends-with-benefits relationship with a good friend. There might be deeper feelings below the surface and you risk losing an important relationship if someone gets hurt.

  • Assess your own feelings. What are you really looking for right now? Can you handle a friends-with-benefits relationship without getting emotionally attached? Do you secretly hope something more might eventually come out of this arrangement? It’s critically important to delve into your true feelings before getting involved. Don’t go into this type of relationship hoping for it to become more than what it is. You have to genuinely want nothing more than what you’ve both agreed to.

  • Communicate with the other half. Whether you like it or not, you’re entering into a relationship with this person, even if it is a casual one. In order to protect feelings on both sides, you should continually check in and communicate about the relationship. Set some ground rules. Make sure you’re on the same page with your feelings for each other, as well as what you want from the relationship.

  • Be careful. You have a friend that you like. You have sex with that friend. You enjoy spending time together. That could easily turn into something more serious for (at least) one of you—and that’s when things can get messy. Stay realistic about the definition of this relationship and keep things casual and above board.


Although friends-with-benefits relationships can be complicated and we know they might end in hurt feelings, we may still be willing to give them a try when a more serious relationship is just not in the cards for us. There are no guarantees for any kind of relationship, but proceeding with caution, communicating clearly, and protecting your heart is always a good idea.

[photo: via V.H. Hammer on flickr]

About the Author:


Meghan Stone earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work and Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. She has worked as a therapist, social worker, teen counselor, and sexuality educator. She currently resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she writes, teaches, and volunteers with the local community. Her passions are social work, travel, photography, art, yoga, and learning about other cultures.


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