One question I have often been asked is how to develop “no strings attached” or “friends with benefits” relationships and how to maintain them over time.
Oftentimes it is hard to keep the relationship primarily sexual without one or both parties (or more in some cases) getting emotionally involved. Often it turns into a sexually exclusive relationship, or a platonic friendship, or they could pass you along to their friends. Before answering the question about no strings attached let’s look at a few reasons why someone would have this kind of relationship, even if you don’t otherwise think you are the type of person that would.
- Regular sex while maintaining the option for variety and perhaps while looking for someone who you feel both a sexual and emotional connection with.
- A way to go about things that enables someone to have more than one partner without being dishonest and without the possibility of being “found out.”
- Deliberately protecting yourself from the possible emotional harm that could happen if you were in a sexually exclusive relationship where you were emotionally attached. This is especially true if a woman is just getting out of a “committed” relationship or marriage.
- Fulfilling your sexual needs while not feeling a sense of obligation or commitment about having a relationship interfere with goals such as grad school, travel or establishing themselves at their first job. This is why these are very popular with women that are about age 22 – 25 and often with women that are just getting out of a longer term relationship or marriage.
So there are a few reasons why a person would want this kind of relationship. Now here are some keys to making these kinds of relationships work.
Some keys to make these types of relationships work:
- Self Knowledge – Are you being honest with yourself that you just want a friend with benefits. I have come across many women who have been perfectly content with a guy as a friend with benefits when he then started acting like he wanted a relationship and vice versa. This can be tricky and people can develop feelings over time. How able are you to keep sex and emotion detached? Some men and women say they just want sex, but then they start acting as if they are in a relationship or get jealous. The best way to find this out is by experience.
- Open Communication – Be comfortable with talking directly and honesty about sex, what you want and the ability to be truly non-judgmental of another person’s sexual behavior. Talking honestly about sex is difficult for many if not most people in American culture and in most religious and ethnic traditions. The key is to set an honest expectation up front. Some people don’t believe that they can honestly say “I’m not looking for a sexually exclusive relationship” and have someone to be open to it. However in my experience this actually establishes a lot of trust and is a relief to women looking for the same thing. It also sets you apart from other guys as being open minded, non-judgmental and more likely to be knowledgeable when it comes to sex. Even if women aren’t looking for the same thing, relatively few have a negative reaction if you are calm and matter of fact and sometimes even if they’re not down for what you’re looking for they will introduce you to their friends that are.
- Adapt the style of non-exclusive sexual relationship. Are you like platonic friends that have sex? Do you only meet for sex and otherwise not talk. Do you primarily see each other in a relationship which is more like an open relationship/ open marriage? Sometimes they fail to mention that they are still seeing other people or they do not want it to be a relationship.
- Sexual Skill- Be able to satisfy her, including through oral sex, and/or with your hands. A key reason for this a man’s penis doesn’t always work perfectly like you want it to on demand. Many factors including stress, fatigue, alcohol consumption, health conditions, prescription drugs and nervousness stemming from your desire to be good can all keep you from being on top of your game. So it’s good to have a good backup.Also many women have difficulty coming from vaginal sex alone. This can be especially true in a “friends with benefits” situation where she is trying to hold herself back emotionally. However with good skill, persistence and the willingness to be aware and respond to her, you can always make sure a woman is satisfied.
- Keep seeing other people – Finally the surest way to ensure that the dynamic between the two of you stays in the friends with benefits zone is for both of you to keep seeing at least one other person on a regular basis or keep picking other people up. Otherwise it is likely that over time one person or another is going to start developing feelings. However if both of you have really great sexual chemistry and like each other to the point where you lose interest in pursuing others, then maybe you should talk and see if you would like to be together in a sexually exclusive way. This could be through an explicit conversation or it could just be an unspoken understanding where you are basically boyfriend/ girlfriend but don’t call it that. However if this is important to you then you should have a conversation to make sure that both of you are really on the same page.