Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Friends With Benefits

The term "Friends With Benefits (FWB)" refers to a friendship between two individuals, usually a male and a female, who occasionally engage in sexual behavior as well as maintain a friendship.  If the pair limit themselves to noncoital forms of sex, then it is sometimes referred to as "Friends With Minor Benefits" or "Friends With Some Benefits" (some form of noncoital sex*).  This FWB relationship can be remarkably stable without the pair being lovers or having any long-term commitment. Usually this is done on an infrequent basis if one or the other is in need. Think of this as one possible and occasional outcome of a strong friendship between a man and a woman.

There is a number of suppositions regarding the FWB arrangement.  One is that the friendship between the man and the woman does not persist beyond the active time of the arrangement.  The other is that the arrangement is mostly an unstable equilibrium since one member of the pair might want to make it into a romantic relationship while the other does not.

I wondered, based on what psychological research indicated regarding extrinsic rewards versus intrinsic rewards, whether the Friends With Benefits arrangement could aversely impact of the duration of the friendship.  Research by Deci suggested that if an extrinsic reward is added to an activity that previously been performed for its own sake, the activity (presumably intrinsically rewarded) would lose its incentive value.

However, findings reported in Psychology_Today indicate otherwise.  research by Owen, Fincham, and Manthos (2013) indicated that about 60% of university students had a FWB relationship; and less than one in five experienced a breakup of the friendship when the "benefits" ceased to be a part of the relationship.  As a matter of fact, 14% actually experienced greater closeness even after sex was no longer on the table (or the bed or carpet, for that matter!) while an additional 35% remained as close.





Obviously, a FWB benefit can have some hazards: one wanting a romantic relationship, while the other does not (or not yet).  And, obviously, it would be wise to discontinue the "benefits" part when one of them goes into a romantic relationship.  In general, it is perhaps wise to never allude to the former FWB relationship having transpired to family members or to subsequent romantic partners.

Finally, the Friends With Benefits relationship should be kept private; the particulars or even its existence should never be fodder for social media!


*Pardon my possible indelicacy.






11 comments:

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

So much for privacy. Most people are aware when a FWB relationship exists.

Brandi said...

I like it that friends with benefits relationships last after the benefits no longer occur.

Atomic Dog said...

Some writers suggest that friends with benefits should not do dating-type activities. But doesn't that marginalize the "friends" side of it?

Bilbo said...

As a result of having ballroom dancing as a hobby, I have a great many close female friends, although none of them reach the "with benefits" bar. Of course, ballroom and Latin dancing, done right, lacks only the element of nudity to provide "benefits" ... that, and an understanding spouse.

MarkD60 said...

I also read somewhere that males need to have sex before coming emotionally attached, and females need to become emotionally attached before having sex.

Grand Crapaud said...

Mark is probably right. Sex cements the deal.

Mike said...

FWB make the 60's look prudish.

TexWisGirl said...

never was able to pull that one off. nor even want to.

Cloudia said...

You have a good mind for research.



ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3

John Hill said...

Might be nice to have such a friend for the Mardi Gras celebration!

beach lad said...

very interesting research.

i wonder if you have ever come across 'wwrb' (wife who rations benefits)