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Friends with benefits relationships (FWB or FWBR) is a term commonly used vĩ đại reference a relationship that is sexual without being romantic. Typically, these relationships can be between people that consider themselves platonic and friends. These non-committal relationships can be short term, or evolve into serious romantic relationships. FWB relationships are enjoyed by both women and men, which is in contrast vĩ đại casual sexual encounters, more prevalent among men.[1]

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Research shows five different motivators for starting friends with benefits relationships:

  1. Just sex (purely sexual motivation)
  2. Emotional connection (the desire for increased closeness and/or intimacy)
  3. Relationship simplicity (wanting an easy, natural, and stress-free relationship)
  4. Avoidance of a more serious relationship (purposeful avoidance of the exclusive and/or romantic elements)
  5. Wanted an FWBR (couples who "...became single and took advantage of the opportunity").[2]

The parties involved in FWB relationships enter it with the understanding that the relationship will over at some point in time. This differs from romantic relationships in that the unsaid goal of a romantic relationship is for both people involved vĩ đại stay in the relationship long term.[3]

However, as FWB relationships continue vĩ đại evolve, individuals involved often have changing motivations for why they continue the FWB relationships. The motivation for many of these relationships is typically companionship.[2]

Types of sexual relationships[edit]

Unlike more casual relationships (i.e., sexting, one-night stands, and other brief sexual encounters), FWBs continue vĩ đại have a sexual relationship and romance. Although it seems similar, FWB relationships differ from casual sex relationships in that FWB relationships are a commitment vĩ đại continuous casual sex. One-night stands are brief encounters with limited information exchanged. The parties involved typically part the next day without any additional communication. Booty calls are between people that are already acquainted, but not necessarily friends.[4] Booty calls are usually recurring and tự not develop into anything more. Sugaring involves exchanging gifts or money for companionship.[4]

Challenges with friends with benefits relationships[edit]

FWB relationships include friendship and sexual interactions without romance. In some ways, the success of this type of relationship is rooted in avoidance. Even with the rise in popularity in friends with benefits relationships, there is not a high success rate of continued friendship at the over of a friends with benefits relationship.[3] Although these relationships are established vĩ đại safely connect with a partner without the emotions, often these relationships are not genuine. Research on deceptive affection shows that people often hide their honest feelings because of concern that they will not be mutual or well received.[5] Deceptive affection ends up being used as a tool vĩ đại protect personal feelings ví that no one gets hurt. Ultimately, these relationships continue vĩ đại be complex despite the attempt vĩ đại be void of emotions, the lines become blurred and feelings are sometimes developed by one partner that are not always well received by the other.



The origin of the term "friends with benefits" is difficult vĩ đại trace, even though the phrase is in regular use and a familiar part of the current social lexicon.[citation needed] The earliest known use of the term is documented in Alanis Morissette's 1995–1996 tuy nhiên "Head over Feet" in the lyric "you're my best friend, best friend with benefits".[6]

Cultural movements[edit]

Third wave feminism[edit]

According vĩ đại research, women often report that they tự not feel their needs are being met in FWB relationships.[citation needed] Third wave feminism is the evolution of second-wave feminism. Third-wave feminism is the belief that "young women should not be inhibited either by traditional norms of sexuality that stigmatize female sexual experimentation in non-committed relationships, nor by a sense that one khuông of sexual practice is more "feminist" phàn nàn another (Williams & Jovanovic, pp. 158)."[7] Third-wave feminism is often described in comparison vĩ đại its past versions as "more evolved and sexually expressive, and third wave feminists defy the expectation that women's sexuality is simplistic."[citation needed] Third-wave feminists also reject the notion that young women engaging in casual sex, FWB relationships, etc. should be labeled as "sluts". Arguments can be made by third wave feminists on both sides about the positives and negatives of FWB relationships. On the one hand, FWB relationships allow women vĩ đại explore their sexuality in an affaire de coeur that can be considered "safe", even if it is non-committal, giving them the space vĩ đại communicate their needs. On another hand, FWB relationships may not help women navigate the full extent of their sexual agency without exploitation.[citation needed]

Portrayal in media[edit]

In 2011, Friends with Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, was released which depicted a friends with benefits relationship between the two co-stars. Within the same year, the film No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher was also released. It as well depicted a friends with benefits relationship between its own two co-stars. Since then, the concept has become a phenomenon that is frequently referenced in popular culture and adopted by society.

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Research and studies[edit]

There are many studies that examine how FWB relationships progress among college aged students.

In an era of increased sexual liberation, casual sexual relationships continue vĩ đại become more prominent.[2] Studies show that an increasing number of college students, both male and female, report having a friends with benefits relationship at some point.[1] Men tend vĩ đại view FWB relationships as casual, while women tend vĩ đại view them as friendships.[7] Men are also more likely vĩ đại have sexual relations with someone that they are not in a romantic relationship with.[8]

Themes that emerged from one study on FWB at a university in southern California included "(1) FWB relationships as empowering vĩ đại young women, (2) FWB relationships as not empowering vĩ đại young women, (3) FWB relationships as providing a safe option in place of hook-ups, and (4) control and power in FWB relationships."[7]: 167 

Another study proved that individuals who avoid attachment experience less sexual satisfaction in relationships. This study also found a correlation between attachment anxiety and sexual satisfaction.[9]

As FWB relationships continue vĩ đại be a topic of interest, research on the subject is starting vĩ đại lose its negative connotation. FWB relationships continue vĩ đại grow in popularity amongst young people and older people without young children.[4]


Affection exchange theory[edit]

Affection exchange theory asserts that "individuals need vĩ đại give and receive affection in order vĩ đại survive and procreate".[9] When individuals are a part of healthy relationships that allow them vĩ đại show affection without question, they have less anxiety in other, more involved relationships. Some FWB relationships can withhold affection,[10] whereas other FWB relationships can provide the opportunity for participants vĩ đại give and receive affection, even though they may only see their relationship as "low-maintenance": Post sex communication lượt thích pillow talk, cuddling, and kissing can have positive outcomes. When this affection does not happen, but is desired, individuals who desire affection and who are aware of a partner's longing for it can both harbor hostility.[10]

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Research shows that relationships (like some FWB relationships) that tự not include healthy post sex engagement can experience attachment avoidance due vĩ đại lack of affectionate communication. In order for individuals vĩ đại feel sexual satisfaction, it is important vĩ đại understand the attachment needs of the parties involved in the sexual relationship.[10]

Self-determination theory[edit]

Stein, Mongeau, et al. (2019)[2] claim that part of the allure of friends with benefits relationships ties into self-determination theory (SDT). SDT delves into the human need vĩ đại continuously tìm kiếm for new challenges. So many people find FWB relationships attractive because of the allure of the easy-going non-committal relationship.[2](p 318)

The root of SDT is the need vĩ đại have goals that are either approach focused, or avoidance focused. Approach-focused goals are centered on what an individual can gain from a relationship – in a FWB situation this necessarily includes sex. Avoidance-focused goals look at failures that can be avoided. In the case of FWB relationships, an individual can avoid a romantic relationship with a negative ending.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jovanovic, Jasna; Williams, Jean Calterone (2017-12-06). "Gender, Sexual Agency, and Friends with Benefits Relationships". Sexuality & Culture. 22 (2): 555–576. doi:10.1007/s12119-017-9483-1. ISSN 1095-5143. S2CID 91179657.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Stein, James B.; Mongeau, Paul; Posteher, Karlee; Veluscek, Alaina (2019-11-01). "Netflix and chill?: Exploring and refining differing motivations in friends with benefits relationships". The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 28 (3): 317–327. doi:10.3138/cjhs.2018-0045. ISSN 1188-4517. S2CID 155921047.
  3. ^ a b Machia, Laura V.; Proulx, Morgan L.; Ioerger, Michael; Lehmiller, Justin J. (2020-02-20). "A longitudinal study of friends with benefits relationships". Personal Relationships. 27 (1): 47–60. doi:10.1111/pere.12307. ISSN 1350-4126. S2CID 212921985.
  4. ^ a b c "The Pros and Cons of Being Friends with Benefits". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  5. ^ Trask, Sara L.; Horstman, Haley Kranstuber; Hesse, Colin (2019-04-12). "Deceptive Affection Across Relational Contexts: A Group Comparison of Romantic Relationships, Cross-Sex Friendships, and Friends With Benefits Relationships". Communication Research. 47 (4): 623–643. doi:10.1177/0093650219841736. ISSN 0093-6502. S2CID 150490798.
  6. ^ "friends with benefits". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  7. ^ a b c Williams, Jean Calterone; Jovanovic, Jasna (2014-10-08). "Third Wave Feminism and Emerging Adult Sexuality: Friends with Benefits Relationships". Sexuality & Culture. 19 (1): 157–171. doi:10.1007/s12119-014-9252-3. ISSN 1095-5143. S2CID 36301488.
  8. ^ Furman, Wyndol; Shaffer, Laura (2011). "Romantic Partners, Friends, Friends with Benefits, and Casual Acquaintances as Sexual Partners". The Journal of Sex Research. 48 (6): 554–564. doi:10.1080/00224499.2010.535623. JSTOR 41319041. PMC 3163778. PMID 21128155.
  9. ^ a b Bennett, Margaret; LoPresti, Brittny J.; Denes, Amanda (December 2019). "Exploring trait affectionate communication and post sex communication as mediators of the association between attachment and sexual satisfaction". Personality and Individual Differences. 151: 109505. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2019.109505. ISSN 0191-8869. S2CID 199145185.
  10. ^ a b c Gillen, Hailey G.; Horan, Sean M. (October 2013). "Toward an understanding of the relationships among deceptive affection, deceptive beliefs, and relational qualities". Communication Research Reports. 30 (4): 352–358. doi:10.1080/08824096.2013.836629. ISSN 0882-4096. S2CID 144107147.