Contributed by Liam J.

According to Urban Dictionary, “friends with benefits” describes two friends who have a sexual relationship without a monogamous relationship or any kind of commitment.

I had never imagined being in such a relationship but this is the case. You see, I enjoy being single and also enjoy physical intimacy. My friend’s a cool woman—smart, funny in a dry-witted sort of way, kind and caring.  We appreciate each others’ company, even like many of the same activities (other than sex!) and I trust her. So, while we don’t have a commitment in terms of being partners, we do have a commitment to our friendship.

I first entertained a friends with benefits relationship after we had dated for a short while. It came to the point when we realized we liked each other and enjoyed physical intimacy but the desire for romantic relationship wasn’t mutual.  When we had the talk I impulsively said, “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water!”  In that instant we became friends with benefits (at least conceptually). Looking back I must admit that my spontaneous emission had more to do with not being ready to give up on having a romantic relationship with her and could be better described as a friends with attachment relationship. This made it a rocky road in the beginning and, at various times during our relationship, when I was really into her in that, “I love you kind of way,” she was always clear—she didn’t see me as her romantic companion or partner.  When I was out of sync in this regard I had a tough time emotionally—wishing what we had was more than it was.  I think these feelings were part of my conditioning where sexual intimacy and romantic love can become fused.  Then something happened inside me.  I saw that along with mutual respect and appreciation, sharing laughs and thoughtful conversations, physical intimacy was a natural expression of our friendship. That’s when my friends with benefit relationship became real and it has been delightful!

So, if you’re single, happy where you are and desire physical intimacy, maybe a friends with benefits relationship can work for you.  Just a couple of tips from my experience:

  • Appreciate the times you spend together for what they are—nothing more, nothing less.
  • Be honest with yourself and each other—if you notice a growing need to spend more time with your friend and having fun has been replaced with feelings of sadness, disappointment, even anger, this would be a good time to re-evaluate the relationship.