With being a millennial comes liberation, in many forms and in all aspects of life. We have had many firsts, broken many barriers and experimented in ways generations before us would have never dared to.
And while it is not my intention to take away from all the incredible things we as a generation have accomplished, I am going to be embarking on a more trivial issue and that is the “Friends with Benefits” relationship also known as no-strings attached.
For those of you that do not know what friends with benefits is, I will give a brief description. Before you start thinking you are here to read about friends sharing business deals and excess groceries.
Friends with benefits refers to the relationship in which two individuals, with an established friendship are physically/sexually intimate with one another but free of feelings of an emotional nature and commitment.
Now whether or not this would be an ideal situation for you is debatable and extremely subjective. Personally, it is not something I would partake in (largely because I have no friends I am sexually attracted to) but also because it seems extremely complicated in most cases and I try to stay as far away as I can from unnecessary complexities.
I do not know if any of you have watched the 2011 film “No Strings Attached.” If you have not, please go find it after you read this, for contextual purposes. I will, however, provide you with a brief synopsis, it stars Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher and they play these characters that first met at summer camp as children and maintain a distant acquaintance like friendship where they bump into each other a few times in their young adult life. A few incidents lead them to having a sexual encounter, which in turn leads to many more and they decide to keep it going but as friends without any feelings involved.
This has become such a common relationship with people of my generation, for most it works until it does not. The breakdown is usually one party developing feelings, attachment, jealousy or just wanting more from the situation than the other party is willing to give.
There is something extremely liberating about being in control of your body and what you want to do with it, I applaud all the people that do that and do it boldly. And it must be so liberating to have a friend you are sexually attracted to and can express that attraction with as freely and as often as you want.
I have come to discover, however, that on that path to self-gratification, people often forget to effectively communicate what exactly it is they are doing beyond it’s label, many will call each other “friends with benefits” but have never discussed what their boundaries and limitations are.
The sexual part of a new connection can be extremely easy to fall into, but what about the “friends” aspect of things. Have you communicated how your friendship will go on free of complication? Will you manage to keep the feelings at bay? And if not, is there hope for your friendship to transition? If the answer to any of those questions is a resounding ‘no’ then perhaps you are better off securing your friendship and letting the sex go.
Sex is the only benefit of an arrangement like this, so often people forget to weigh it against the other variables which might be far more vital and significant.
Personally, I am of the view that it is less chaotic to have casual flings with people you recently met than to enter a sexual relationship with someone you share a history and great friendship with. But that is just personal opinion and choice, far be it from me to dictate what happens in your sex life or write a think piece about it. I am simply just here to share opinion.
If you must, then tread lightly and consider the following; be clear about what you are looking for. Do not enter with expectations of what you hope it might turn into, intermittently check with how you are feeling about both person and situation, lay down some ground rules things like do you have sleepovers, can they call you outside booty call times and do you hang out beyond your intimate time together.
All these are important when starting an FWB type situation, I should reiterate though that taking all these measures does not guarantee that this will not end in some mess.
So be safe, guard your hearts and have fun.
The whole idea of no strings attached is to keep it casual. Therefore, literal friends with benefits never work. A no strings attached relationship is about sex, not friendship. A friend counts on you, and what you really need is a relationship with absolutely no commitment.