Friends with benefits or dating
[it] may therefore be a way some of us establish intimacy and sexual compatibility before pursuing something serious”. Heidi Reeder shares this view, telling us “if you’re friends first then you’ll know that you not only love your partner, but you also like them”. Reeder recommended some caution, however, in beginning a relationship like this.
While in many instances what was once a friends with benefits situation seems to naturally evolve into something more serious, the two emphasise that there should be a conversation to work out exactly what both parties want.
But sometimes, romantic friendships can offer a type of intimacy that committed relationships can’t.
I was curious to know if Malcolm felt the same way I did about all of this, so last week (for strictly journalistic purposes), I paid him a visit.
Research shows that the majority of these relationships remain purely for sex –and that this often has no negative effect. Reeder told us, studies show “that having sex with a friend once or twice doesn’t damage the friendship”.
Read more: Top ten tips for an office romance But does this tell the whole story?
And he actually knows me better than a lot of my partners ever did.
So what is it about the friends with benefits dynamic that is more sustainable, and often more transparent, than an actual relationship? They’re like: How can you have sex with the same person, again and again, without falling in love?
To find out, we spoke to top sexual psychologists Dr. Heidi Reeder, to find out what - if any - rules there are for people in a similar situation. Listen to our podcast on friends with benefits here. For some people, these relationships are only about access to sex and nothing more”.
Others dismiss fuck-buddy dynamics as just being compulsive sex that’s devoid of emotion. Surely it’s possible to find a middle ground between eternal love and zombie-fucking a stranger: a place where you can care about someone, have good sex, and yet not want to literally implode at the thought of them sleeping with someone else. Case in point: The most significant romantic friendship of my life was with an ex-editor of mine, whom I’ll call Malcolm.
We started “a thing” five years ago and have yet to end it.
Boyfriends and girlfriends have come and gone, but my friends with benefits have stood the test of time. That’s longer than I predict my first marriage will last.
And while I can’t imagine being with my Cuba date “for real”—I mean, he’s a low-key homeless anarchist who once took me on date to his Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting; there are red flags—I still value our relationship immensely.
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As Lehmiller explains, “the best advice I would give to someone in a FWB relationship would be to communicate with your partner.