Women in friends-with-benefits (FWB) relationships say it's good for their emotional lives, a US survey found. But things can be tricky if the partners’ expectations don’t match.
‘Just friends’ sex can make you feel happy, desirable, and exited, university students told researchers.
They were asked to evaluate relationships that involved sex without the commitment of a serious relationship.
The researchers assumed that guys would be a lot happier than women about having a sex partner with no romantic commitment. And sure enough, they did find that more guys than girls claimed they had a regular no-strings sex partner. But everyone with an FWB relationship had a lot more positive emotions about it than negative ones.
However, guys and girls were different when it came to their expectations of taking their FWB relationship to the next level. Girls were more likely to hope the relationship would get more serious. And they were more likely to raise the possibility of this happening with their casual sex partner.
Some people ended up feeling disappointed, empty, and confused because they felt the unromantic sex relationship wasn’t satisfying. They felt stuck in a 'relationship' without prospects, perhaps because the alternative of being alone was an even worse option.
So is an FWB an emotional minefield that’s best avoided? The researchers aren’t so negative. They say studies on casual sex relationships such as FWBs often focus on the risks and not the positives.
For US students at least, it seems a friends-with-benefits relationship can be a win-win situation for both sexes. As long as both friends are clear about the deal.