JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Friends With Benefits

Hollywood finally gets it right.

Hollywood finally gets it right.

I wonder how many "friends with benefits" are really friends and how many "f--- buddies" are actually buddies?

If you're unaware of the naming convention, a "friend with benefits" (FWB), also known as a "f--- buddy", is basically someone you have sex with and leave it at that - no obligations, no strings attached, no messy emotions.

These are misleading terms because a friend or a buddy is someone you want to hang around with and talk to, while the "f--- buddy" and "FWB" are usually just someone you lie on top of, or who lies on top of you, while you have an orgasm.

You don't tend to buy a f--- buddy dinner or flowers. In fact, you're probably not gonna bother getting out of bed most mornings to drive them home, let alone have a cosy latte at your local cafe.

There's nothing wrong with this; casual sex is as old as religion, and has been practised by enough holy men so you can be sure it doesn't send you to hell.

In my parents' day, it was known as a "fling" - a noun that puts the act into perspective when it transitions to a verb: you fling yourself at someone, then just as quickly fling them away, lest it get "serious".

Again, no arguments from me there; I've done my fair share of flinging and being flung, but then I've always tried to avoid the pretence, when I call someone at 3am, that it's for anything other than sex.

That's why I don't get the whole "friend with benefits" sobriquet.

Are people just kidding themselves? Trying to pretty-up an unattractive fact because, let's face it, someone you shag on the side is rarely your friend.

If you doubt this, fill out the guest list for a birthday dinner with your 20 closest mates and ask yourself if your f--- buddy makes the cut?

No? Didn't think so.

If you really wanted to spend time with an FWB - have them meet your inner circle and family, buy them dinner and flowers - well, they'd be your girlfriend (or boyfriend) and the FWB obviously doesn't check enough boxes for you to make that leap.

Which, again, is cool. I just find the smirking ease with which we label someone a "friend with benefits" a little naive and deceptive.

There's a saying that "a relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least", and I get the feeling that the terms "f--- buddy" and "friend with benefits" are often used by the person who really doesn't give a shit.

On the other side of the equation - the person who does care a little more (and someone always does) - they're telling themselves the two of you are "dating" or "just seeing where it goes".

Hollywood has a lot to answer for in regards to building unrealistic romantic expectations, so it's somewhat pleasing the two recent stabs it's taken at this phenomenon, No Strings Attached (starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher) and Friends With Benefits (starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis) - tell it like it is.

The couples in both these films soon realise that two people having sex with each other, who also hang out and enjoy each other's company are not "f--- buddies" or "FWB". Indeed, the emotional strings are very firmly attached, because that's what you call a relationship.

On the other hand, if you are having sex with someone but not hanging out together, not meeting their mates or doing anything other than turning up at their apartment to shag, try this experiment.

Stop having sex and see if you remain "friends". My guess is there won't be a Hollywood ending.

Sam de Brito's latest novel Hello Darkness is in bookstores now. You can follow him on Twitter here.

67 comments so far

  • Well, my previous friends with benefits are just that, they are friends first and the benefit is a benefit. They know my friends and are likely to have met the family members I like to spend time with. The difference for me is that no one needs to know that the benefits have been made available.

    It is also important to note that if anything gets weird, like new emotional attachments, the benefits can be made not available. I value the friendship more than I do the benefit. It is convenience with someone that you like although not necessarily want to have a relationship with.

    A f*ckbuddy is a whole other thing entirely. In my mind the attachment is the sex and not the friendship. This is likened to the fling thing referred to.

    What else is a girl to do when not looking for a relationship and still wanting to have sex? A friends with benefits arrangement is better than a series of one night stands of crap sex. At least it is in my mind.

    The Sanctuary
    Date and time
    October 31, 2011, 4:02PM
    • Wrong. My FWB/f-buddy is exactly that. We are great mates, go out heaps without shagging and are totally unsuitable as boyfriend/girlfriend.

      See, he HAS a boyfriend. But sometimes he likes a little female action. The boyfriend - who is also a great mate of mine - has no problem with it. The three of us hang out all the time.

      And for me, it's perfect for what I want right now - great friends who truly care about me and occasional awesome sex without the hassle that can sometimes come with a relationship.

      definitelly do exist
      Date and time
      October 31, 2011, 4:16PM
      • When Harry Met Sally got it right two decades ago. Anything after that is just plain silly.

        Or not. I actually saw Mila and Justin's version. It's funny. Not a fan of Ashton so I'll wait til it comes out on TV.

        Warmest window sill in Sydney
        Date and time
        October 31, 2011, 4:56PM
        • You know what annoys me about those 2 movies? They still end up happily ever after. One or both of them realise that they're perfect for each other and BAM plot resolved.

          Again, it's not about reality but still..... aaargh! Now we're making romantic movies about fbuddies??? Could we throw in a poofy white dress and a used condom while we're there too? I suppose I should admit to enjoying a romcoms now and then but sheesh.

          Yes some people are just flings (I do love that word – who doesn't like a good flinging?) and there is absolutely no pretence of 'friendship'. Mind you sometimes that's easier emotionally.

          On the other hand there have been some genuine friends with benefits. You know, people you actually talk to, turn to in a crisis, go to the movies with.

          Meh, just don't kid yourself it's more than it is.

          Date and time
          October 31, 2011, 5:06PM
          • I thought a FWB was a bro-mance gone too far...

            Date and time
            October 31, 2011, 5:25PM
            • Mine wasn't a "friend" in the sense that we actually spent any (non-shagging) time together, but there was a certain fondness and affection that built up over time and resulted in us genuinely caring about each other even though we would never have a "proper" relationship. It was bizarre beyond belief to find ourselves eventually telling each other, "I love you", despite having spent years ensuring that our relationship stayed as shallow as possible. I think, if I really needed his help, he'd have my back. I'd have his. Isn't that what makes a friend?

              Date and time
              October 31, 2011, 5:33PM
              • "FWB" are usually just someone you lie on top of, or who lies on top of you, while you have an orgasm.

                Sam, you gotta such a way of calling things as it is. Cool! And I've mates who make those 3am calls - well, it's more like 1am. Maybe, they call latter, but I'm certainly not about by then. Thing things, folk take the calls! If anyone called me after 10pm and they weren't my children, mother and maybe one other. Well, they better have a reason for scaring me so. But I digress; I've had ex's suggest some arrangement of convince. Goosh, you don't want me in polite company?I'll just move on, take my luck in big wide world. You can too! On who makes the cut? I have some gorgeous (in body and soul) female friends who like me can be in and out of relationships. What, am I saying? ... The no-sex circle includes your best mates. Recently, one such mate was feeling flat over some rejection, feeling it was about her ... pouring it on. Finally, I said if it took sex to prove that she was desirable, I'd do that. She laughed and stopped being silly. You should be able to flirt with mates and all feel quite secure. That is a small list.

                Date and time
                October 31, 2011, 6:13PM
                • What else is a girl to do when not looking for a relationship and still wanting to have sex? A friends with benefits arrangement is better than a series of one night stands of crap sex. At least it is in my mind.
                  M | The Sanctuary - October 31, 2011, 5:02PM

                  Oh so true.

                  And I really should read the blog properly before commenting...

                  Date and time
                  October 31, 2011, 7:40PM
                  • I think you're basing your ideas off the idea we're all a little bit more stable than sometimes we can be.

                    Had a friends with benifits, didn't like him enough to want a relationship reaaaaaaaaaaally, knew it would never work, except he made it pretty clear he didnt want a relationship. Vaguely in my circle of friends, so came up with the deal - out together, go home together. Can do what we like, but not infront of the other. Guess we kinda had dates too, although I'd call it coffee with a friend. I wanted sex, but hate one night things, didnt want a relationship. he wanted sex. We both had our issues, he helped fix mine, I've had a few cries on his shoulder, our friendships stronger than it was before it got sexual, there's still a little sexual tension there, but we'll never have a relationship.

                    Can't really call that crazy...

                    ps have you posted this before? I'm preatty sure ive already read it...

                    Date and time
                    October 31, 2011, 7:59PM
                    • I have a friend with benefits. Friends first, benefits followed. We do have just coffees together, we go on jogs together, we go on walks together, we do socialise with & without mutual friends, we do occasionally train in martial arts together. We talk late night on the phone a couple of times a week & it's not phone sex.

                      Don't know why but it seems to work for both. Though I don't have any other FWB at the same time. She tells me she doesn't either. We have long periods of no sex, just catching up over a drink or two sometimes or as I said, training.

                      We are of silmilar age & two years of it & still going. Damn the sex is still hot too. Everytime.

                      Damn pigeon holes don't always work for everyone Sam.

                      close to Haigh's
                      Date and time
                      October 31, 2011, 9:40PM

                      More comments

                      Make a comment

                      You are logged in as [Logout]

                      All information entered below may be published.

                      Error: Please enter your screen name.

                      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

                      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

                      Error: Please enter your comment.

                      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

                      Post to

                      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

                      Thank you

                      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

                      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

                      Featured advertisers
                      Executive Style newsletter signup

                      Executive Style newsletter signup The latest news delivered to your inbox twice-weekly.

                      Sign up now