Friends with benefits or friends with costs?

Can friends with benefits really work?

Because so many of us are reaching out for new opportunities these days there doesn’t seem to be such an urgency to settle down so quickly. In case you hadn’t noticed… Many of us are deciding to stick to a friendship instead with a few benefits here and there. However, can this really work? And is it too much to handle? What if the other person has two more friends with benefits? Then what? It all depends on our expectation and according to statistics approximately 63% of single men and women are involved in a “Friends with Benefits relationship”.

On the whole a “Friends with Benefits” relationship is described as a casual relationship between two people where physical bonds are exchanged without any attachments. Therefore the general intent of this type of relationship is merely to release sexual frustration. The two friends will often make a pact with each other that no commitment will be demanded and that physical connection with not lead to a romantic partnership – in particular this seems to work well for men.

However women on the other hand often enter into these types of relationships with the hope that it may lead into something more permanent and although this can also apply to men, it mostly seems that women are left lingering, alongside trying to control their feelings of vulnerability so it is very important that time is taken to think about things before allowing oneself to get swooped into something that is hard to detach from emotionally.

However there can be benefits to this sort of relationship and various studies have suggested that it gives the two people an opportunity to work out what they want from a real relationship. For example, they come into touch with feelings of jealousy or resentment that they have never experienced before. Therefore in some ways it can be a safe option where we feel free to explore things that we couldn’t if we were seriously committed to someone. Friends with Benefits relationships seem to be extremely popular for the younger generation. However, many men and women in their early 30s and even 40s are very familiar with this and prefer to use it to test the waters after going through a distrustful marriage or breakup.

What is also interesting is research that suggests that after a few months of sleeping together many people are discovering an emotional attachment that is very hard to let go of. We all know that sex is better with feeling and emotion and in order to enjoy the full experience of sex many of us seek emotional intensity and passion which is almost impossible to escape from as researcher, Rebecca Plante of Ithaca College discovered after carrying out a study amongst college students and although the study sample isn’t an accurate representation of the nation as a whole, many conclusions have been built from it. Plante said that two-thirds of the participants in the study said that they had actually “hooked up” with someone at some point which could be anything from different cultures and ages groups from kissing to casual sex and about one third of the respondents admitted to intercourse.

Although the survey asked about relationships and sexual experience, it wasn't able to assess the reasoning behind the students' actions. Then, in a second survey, of about 120 college students, Plante's team asked them to discuss at length their hookups and other sexual experiences and desires. The researchers drew conclusions from themes that showed up in the surveys. Plante then concluded that about two-thirds of the relationships involved were "catching feelings," implying that one or both participants wanted something besides a friends-with-benefits situation, which ultimately led to a relationship. It was then suggested by Plante that perhaps the result of one of these “Friends with Benefits” relationships would be a “Friends with Costs” relationship instead, as somewhere along the lines something or someone is bound to push the boundaries, particularly where feelings are concerned!

Signs that someone is becoming attached is usually fairly obvious through the domineering body language, mind games or demanding more time from that person. Research suggests that more often than not the male will suggest that the female is more attached to protect themselves from becoming hurt or rejected, a female however tends to take things in her stride and many hold onto a hope that in time things will gradually build and develop.

Sadly, most people don’t realise that they are in a “Friends with Benefits” relationship until the other person refuses to give any real commitment. This doesn’t mean that they are cheating necessarily but it can be another term for a “casual relationship with no future” i.e marriage, a family home and children. If you are currently finding yourself in this situation then perhaps it is time to reevaluate things a little? Even more so, if you are thinking of developing a “Friends with Benefits relationship” then perhaps it is important to bear in mind some of these facts and although casual relationships can be pleasurable and fun they can often lead to resentment, burnt friendships and further complications that can be hard to fix. So before entering consider how important the friendship is to you first!

With Love and Light

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