Relationships are great but have you tried mind-blowing sex without any emotional baggage or attachment? With the right friends-with-benefits rules, you can enjoy that with someone you know and trust. Rules being the operative word here. That’s because, if left unbridled, friends-with-benefits (FWB) equations can become tricky to handle.
What if one person develops feelings for the other and wants more than just no-strings-attached hook-ups? What if you stop feeling it with your friend with benefits and want out? What if they find someone and want to move on? That’s why laying some ground rules is a must for friends who’re inclined to get intimate without being in a relationship. It prevents a fun, casual thing from turning into a complicated mess.
18 Friends-With-Benefits Rules To Swear By
So, you’re happily single and want to keep it that way but there is a friend who leaves you feeling weak in the knees every time you lay eyes on them. You get a sense that they too feel the same way. You have the perfect setting to get a friends-with-benefits relationship going. But don’t jump the gun just yet.
Before you hook up with this person that you find irresistible, get a contract with friends-with-benefits rules in place. Wondering what does that even mean? By contract, we don’t mean an actual written contract. We just mean setting expectations and ground rules. But definitely a clear, concise understanding of what this equation means for both of you and where you want to draw the line. To help you get started, here are 18 rules for friends with benefits that you can swear by:
1. How to define friends with benefits
Well, broadly, the friends-with-benefits meaning is pretty self-explanatory. You’re friends who hook up with each other from time to time. However, the specifics of such an equation can mean different things to different people. Thus, the foremost of the friends-with-benefits rules for guys and girls is to define what this equation would entail.
A study on FWB defines the term as, “Framed as casual, it is about sex among friends; one that brings together friendship (i.e. psychological intimacy), and physical closeness void of romantic liaisons.” So the key takeaways from this definition would be:
- A friend with whom you have a casual relationship for sexual pleasure
- It is a no-strings-attached relationship devoid of any emotional baggage
- The relationship here refers to physical intimacy and not feelings
- It is usually between friends so that trust and compatibility are not compromised
Finding common ground with your partner to outline the idea of FWB right at the outset can ensure that experience is breezy, casual, and fun for both parties involved.
Related Reading: What Do Guys Think Of Their Female Friends?
2. Always seek consent
Now that you’re boning, it doesn’t mean you can take asking for consent for granted. Don’t just show up at your friend’s place expecting some action without any forewarning. Or push for something they’re not ready for while you’re both in bed. Consent is one of the most crucial aspects of the contract and neither party must take it lightly at any time.
If you cross a line in the heat of the moment, you risk hurting the other person for life and jeopardizing not just a perfect arrangement but also your friendship. On the flip side, don’t feel you’re obligated to say yes to things you’re not comfortable with just because you’re sleeping with this person.
3. Discuss the element of exclusivity and friends-with-benefits boundaries
When entering a friends-with-benefits arrangement with a buddy, do discuss expectations about sleeping with other people. How far do your friends-with-benefits boundaries go? While this is not a relationship, expectations can take hold in intimate connections such as these. Besides, some people just aren’t comfortable with the idea of their sexual partner having multiple partners. An honest conversation on this aspect is warranted while drawing up your friends-with-benefits contract.
4. How to have safe sex with a FWB
One of the most important rules for everyone, irrespective of gender, is to have safe sex. Whether or not you’re sleeping with other people, safety is non-negotiable in such an arrangement. It’s not hard to see how throwing caution to the wind can expose you to the risk of STIs and STDs. So, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not get reckless in the heat of the moment.
- Be open and honest to one another about your sex life
- Always use protection
- Go for routine STI checkups
- Keep yourself well groomed
Highlight this in red when establishing friends-with-benefits rules in high school, since it becomes much easier to ignore the importance of protection under the guise of exploration in those years.
5. Pay attention to your personal hygiene
Just because you’re not dating this person, it doesn’t mean you get to be a slob in the bedroom. Even if she’s not your girlfriend/boyfriend, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to groom yourself. Don’t show up with prickly pubes, stained undies, armpit hair, or garlic breath. Take time to groom yourself as you would if you were going to get down and dirty with a romantic partner.
Even if you two are besties and they know you all too well, make this one of your top friends-with-benefits rules anyway. Expect your friend with benefits to do the same. It doesn’t hurt to spell it out when setting rules for friends with benefits, just so that you are both on the same page.
6. How to make the most of your FWB relationship
The best part about such unconventional alliances is that they excite you and stroke your carnal urges a whole lot more than a traditional relationship. So, revel in that rush you feel when in bed with your friend with benefits.
- Let yourself go and shed your inhibitions
- Play out your sexual fantasies and deep, dark desires
- Speak your mind and let them know what you desire
- Don’t hold yourself back from experimenting and exploring new things
The whole friends-with-benefits meaning is lost if you miss out on this part. I mean, isn’t getting to let go the whole point here?
Related Reading: Got Friendzoned? Believe Us It’s Great for You!
7. How to not get emotionally attached to your FWB
It’s one thing if you and your friend with benefits have always hung out and are used to spending a lot of time together. But if this person is someone you shared a casual friendship with before, be wary of venturing into the couples’ territory.
- Avoid getting emotionally attached to your partner
- Steer clear of doing coupley stuff together like holding hands
- Do not be overly affectionate
- Limit activities such as going to the movies or shopping together
- No taking each other out on dates, having lunch, or getting coffee
- Limit your interactions and communication
These can be the breeding grounds for emotional intimacy. Since you’re already physically intimate, getting emotionally attached can instantly put your equation into the complicated territory
8. Avoid flirting in public
This is especially important if you’re friends with benefits at the workplace or sleeping with a friend who is part of your gang. No matter how much you’re turned on by each other’s presence or how high the sparks are flying, avoid flirting in public. Also make this one of your friends-with-benefits rules in high school, where rumors rage on like wildfire. This is particularly important if you want to keep your relationship on the down low.
If you can’t control yourself, use a more discreet medium like texting. That way you can get the message across without raising eyebrows. Besides, the whole clandestine angle does make things a lot more exciting.
Related Reading: What Does Exclusive Mean To A Guy?
9. Don’t introduce your FWB to family or friends
As far as friends-with-benefits rules go, introducing an FWB to your family or friends is a big NO-NO. That stuff is reserved for serious relationships only. By getting your family or friends involved in this arrangement, you risk complicating the situation by getting everyone’s expectations up. Not to mention the pain of dealing with the prying “what’s going with you guys” questions.
Even if your friends and family already know the person you’re in a friends-with-benefits arrangement with, there is just no need to announce this aspect of your equation to them.
10. Stay away from sleepovers
If you want to avoid dealing with possessive friends-with-benefits situations, steer clear of circumstances that can lead to emotional attachment. Having sleepovers certainly tops that list. When your FWB sleeps over, they may bring you coffee in bed the next morning. Or fix breakfast. You may shower together before getting ready for the day.
A research study points out that around 22% of the participants developed “emotional complications” during their FWB relationships. So avoid doing anything that meddles with your emotions for your FWB partner. This just confuses things. So, have your share of fun, maybe top it up with a nightcap or a quick shower, and then, head home or say goodbye to them depending on where you’re at.
11. The same goes for cuddles and snuggles
Speaking of rules for friends who’re sleeping with each other to eliminate the chances of developing an emotional connection, cuddling or snuggling up after sex is also a no-go territory. It will leave you feeling all warm, fuzzy, and somewhat smitten with your FWB.
Leave the physical intimacy to just good sex. If you get all mushy, you know as well as we do that’s a recipe for disaster. Especially if you two are already very close and have been besties for years, make this one of your best-friends-with-benefits rules. You don’t want to ruin a convenient arrangement and lose your best friend by catching feelings for them.
12. How to have your own space with FWB
Space is important in any relationship or connection you cultivate with another person. This is especially true for a no-strings-attached arrangement with a friend. So, when you discuss establishing boundaries with your friends with benefits, factor in the element of space.
Here are some rules that you can follow to make sure that both of you have your breathing room and do not get embroiled in something more serious:
- Make it explicitly clear that neither of you will put up with the other becoming too clingy
- Focus more on the friendship than the physical closeness
- One has to have FWB texting rules to not smother or annoy the other person. Steer clear from the ‘Good morning’ texts or texting them ten times a day
- Keep it a fun, playful and lighthearted kind of relationship just as you would have with any of your BFFs
- Mutual understanding and respect of each other’ privacy and space is at the root of successful FWB relationships
This will go a long way in managing expectations later on, while keeping both of you on the same page.
13. Be open to new relationships
This thing you have going with your friend may be great but it is superficial and casual at best. It is best not to forget that. Don’t let it take up the space of a real relationship in your life. Be open to meeting new people, going out on dates, and starting a new relationship if the right person comes along. This becomes especially crucial if you’re trying a long-distance friends-with-benefits arrangement.
14. How to not be jealous in a FWB relationship
If your friend with benefits finds someone else or is putting themselves out on the dating scene, don’t let it make your insides turn green with jealousy.
- Remind yourself that you’re not partners
- Understand that they’re not cheating on you or crossing any lines if they seek a deeper connection with someone else
- Remember your rules entailed that you two are free to seek anyone else romantically
This is an especially important one to include in the rules for long-distance friends with benefits. Perhaps you’re in different cities and resort to texting to sustain your FWB relationship. It can become easy in this situation to be filled with rage when they actually go out with someone else. But there is no need to feel discarded!
15. Space out your shenanigans
If you and your FWB are getting together every day for some hot, steamy action, it is only natural that you’d get used to each other’s presence in your life. That is the first step to getting attached to someone. This will cause a lot of pain and grief when one of you moves on.
That’s why spacing out your escapades is among the most important rules. Even if you hate abiding by it, you know it is essential to sustaining your arrangement.
16. How to not fall in love in FWB relationships
We cannot emphasize this enough. When you have such an intimate connection with someone and begin to feel utterly comfortable in their presence, it is only natural that feelings may blossom at some point. If you sense that happening, try to follow these thumb rules:
- Don’t be on the lookout for love in a friends-with-benefits situation
- Distance yourself from your partner emotionally, mentally, and digitally
- Keep a check on your feelings; make it a conscious decision
- An extremely important rule for friends with benefits is to limit expectations
As per a research study based on a survey, 60% of the participants were concerned about harboring “unreciprocated desires for romantic commitment” due to the physical intimacy in the random hookup setting. However, if you cannot rein your feelings in, you must be open and honest about it. How your FWB reacts to this development is up to them.
Related Reading: How To Not Fall In Love Easily – 8 Ways To Stop Yourself
17. How to accept the fleeting nature of this friends-with-benefits contract
You and your FWB cannot possibly continue doing this dance – no matter how scintillating it may be – forever. It is not going to last long even though you would want it to. According to a study published in Personal Relationships, FWB relationships play out as per people’s expectations only 17% of the time. The study highlights the uniqueness of this kind of relationship which usually evolves into something more serious.
FWB relationships, the authors of the study point out, either grow into more intimate and romantic relationships or return to regular friendships with lesser intimacy. As the relationship undergoes a change, it poses a threat to either of the two partner’s expectations. There will come a point when either one or both of you will want out. To make sure that doesn’t leave you hurt and distraught, establish some clear ending friends-with-benefits mandates, such as:
- Specify at what stage or under what circumstances it’ll be acceptable to end this arrangement
- Will you have an elaborate conversation or would a casual heads-up suffice?
- Would you go back to being friends afterward?
- Don’t get your emotions worked up in the process
Consider these things before you take the plunge.
Related Reading: What Is A Significant Other And Why You Should Have One
18. Let things grow organically
In the rare event that both you and your FWB develop feelings for each other and want more than a sexual arrangement, there is no harm in nurturing this arrangement into a full-blown relationship. Provided there are no apparent relationship red flags telling you otherwise.
Should you come to that point, let things advance organically rather than trying too hard to make a relationship come to fruition. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. If not, you will just have to make your peace with it and move on.
- Friends-with-benefits relationships are for casual hookups
- Steer clear of getting caught in the web of emotions with your FWB partner
- Discuss with your FWB the rules to swear by right at the outset
- Don’t restrict yourself during the FWB relationship; it goes against the entire concept
With these clearly defined rules, you can truly make hay while the sun shines on your sex life without getting your heart skinned. Just remember to keep your emotions in check and set your body free to live up to the experience to the fullest.
This article has been updated in November 2022.
Friends with benefits sleep with each other without being in a relationship.
There is no expiration date on a friends-with-benefits relationship. Some people stop in a matter of weeks or months, while others keep at it for years. As long as it feels right, you can keep it going.
For a guy too friends with benefits means having a connection with someone that falls somewhere between dating and friendship. Some men may see it as the perfect arrangement to have their needs met without any emotional baggage or relationship obligations. That said, it would be a stretch to assume that all men have the same take on this arrangement.
Yes, it is not unusual for friends with benefits to fall in love or develop feelings for each other. Trouble arises when these feelings are one-sided.