About the Author

Honey's main interests are online dating, long distance dating, and long term relationships. She met her boyfriend on MySpace and they have been exclusive since their first date over three years ago. Currently they live in Tempe, Arizona. Honey graduated with her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2009. You can contact Honey via email here or online here.

Honey’s Take: The Straight Dope on Friends With Benefits

Lance turned me on to this article on askdanandjennifer.com about friends with benefits (aka “Fuck Buddies”), and as is so often the case, we couldn’t resist the allure of our two cents on the issue. The article claims that women are more likely to get emotionally attached and want more from the relationship; while this is certainly a possibility, I have to say that it hasn’t been my experience. In my time, I have noticed way more women open to the idea of FB-type relationships, while men tend to have a huge problem with it. In any case, here is my take on the conventional understandings of fuck buddies, and why I think those conventional understandings don’t quite hit the mark.

#1: Women Get Attached Too Easily

It appears scientifically verifiable that women’s bodies produce chemicals that form emotional attachment when they’re physically intimate with someone. However, I don’t understand using that fact to warn women away from participating in FB-type relationships. Presumably, the entire point of fuck buddies is that you already have an emotional attachment to that person, which means that you:

  • Feel comfortable talking with them,
  • Have flirted before and have physical chemistry, and
  • Also have a much better idea of their recent sexual history/STD status.

This last one is especially important–there’s nothing wrong with casual sex with people you don’t know well, but you have to be that much more careful, especially if you’re a woman. In the case of FB, you’ve probably talked about your sexual histories while flirting (a great way to build sexual tension that tends to backfire in the context of traditional relationships). You also have mutual friends, which works as a nice background check. If this were really a person that you wanted to be in a relationship with, you would have tried that by now. To me, this means that the woman is just as uninterested in pursuing a committed, monogamous, romantic relationship as the man is.

The caveat: if you do want a romantic relationship with the person who approaches you, you should not take them up on their offer. Similarly, you should not approach someone you are romantically interested in with an offer to become FBs. This is where the potential to get hurt comes from, not from the FB system itself.

#2: Men “Use” Their Fuck Buddies For Sex

On the surface it may seem obvious that they are both using each other for sex–that’s why they made this arrangement. However, the claim that men are “using” their fuck buddies stems from fairly stereotypical understandings of gender roles that I don’t think apply much in today’s world. Here are the (often faulty) premises underlying this claim:

  • The woman believes that sex will lead to a relationship.

  • The man knows that the woman believes that sex will lead to a relationship, but chooses to have sex with her anyway, knowing that it won’t.

  • The woman is hurt when the relationship doesn’t develop and feels that the man was somehow dishonest with her.

  • The man is frustrated when the woman tries to turn him from a fuck buddy into a boyfriend, and feels that the woman was somehow dishonest with him.

Well, hmm. That entire interpretation is based on the belief that neither party is honest with the other–from the very beginning. If you’re not capable of honesty, then you shouldn’t be having sex with anyone. For that matter, if you’re not capable of honesty, then you probably don’t have very many close friends in the first place, which makes you an unlikely candidate for FB-relationships.

Honey’s Words of Wisdom: People don’t lie about who they are nearly as often as we lie to ourselves about who they are.

Obviously this doesn’t hold true in all circumstances. For example, be deeply suspicious about the guy who tells you that he wants to be in a serious relationship while drunk, in the middle of a makeout/petting session, after you’ve said that you don’t want to have sex. However, if a guy says that he doesn’t want a relationship with you before you’re ever intimate, then I’m pretty sure you can take that one at face value. If you can’t, don’t be his fuck buddy–simple as that.

#3: People Just Aren’t Wired For Casual Sex

Sad to say it, but that’s exactly what we’re wired for. There are two main reasons the Bible says premarital sex is immoral, and neither of them have anything to do with God:

  1. Antibiotics hadn’t been invented yet, and there was no cure for sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, if you got one and people found out, you became unmarriageable because no one else wanted what you had.

  2. Effective contraceptives and paternity tests hadn’t been invented yet. Therefore, if you became pregnant, you became unmarrigeable because there was no way to prove whose responsibility the child was.

Since we now have access to all of these technologies, Biblical notions of morality are increasingly out of step with our lived reality. Don’t shoot the messenger–I’m just telling it like it is. Stereotypical gender roles also play a part in this “we just aren’t wired for casual sex” thing. As stated above, women are supposed to become “emotionally involved” with their partners. This means that if you do become emotionally involved, you’re perceived as helpless in the face of your hormones, and therefore somewhat pathetic. If you don’t become emotionally involved, you’re a cold, calculating bitch. Men, on the other hand, are supposed to become protective or possessive of their conquests. I call this the “metaphorical pee” effect: just like dogs pee to mark their territory, men metaphorically pee on women by acting jealous or calling them sluts if they want to sleep with more than one person or end the FB-relationship. If they don’t do this, then they’re a weenie with no control over “their” woman.

IMO, all of these characterizations are outdated. If you find yourself acting jealous or calling people promiscuous when they are acting within the boundaries you’ve established, recognize your behavior for what it is: needy and insecure. If you find yourself emotionally involved with someone who explicitly stated they were not interested and/or able to pursue a committed romantic relationship with you, recognize your behavior for what it is: needy and insecure. In those cases, it’s probably best that you break off the relationship and work on those issues before diving into these murky waters again. OTOH, If you don’t become emotionally involved, recognize yourself for what you are: a self-actualized and successful fuck buddy. If the other person accuses you of being cold, or indifferent, or slutty, or a liar, recognize them for what they are: needy and insecure. And find a fuck buddy who’s on the same page as you.

  • http://www.hotalphafemale.blogspot.com Hot Alpha Female

    Hey girl,
    Well as much as i hate to admit it .. there is still a double standard out there where it comes to guys having F buddies and Girls having F buddies.

    You know the one .. aka the guy is a player (sounds kind of cool) and the girl is a slut(sounds kind of not so cool).

    However i think more important from a biological stand point of view that the guy spreads his seed as far and as wide as possible.

    From a biological point of view, it doesn’t really make for them to settle down with one woman .. but to have lots and lots of girlfriends .. or F buddies .. whatever.

    So i cant understand that .. guys would want that. I would just stay well clear of them .. thats all lol

    Hot Alpha Female

    http://www.hotalphafemale.blogspot.com

    Hot Alpha Female’s last blog post..3 Sure Ways To Freak Any Guy Out

  • http://honeyandlance.com/contact Honey

    HAF, I agree that there used to be a double standard applied to girls, and I also agree that there are guys out there who still believe it. However, I do think it’s unfair to say that women are subject to a double standard and then argue that a man is at the mercy of his hormones, destined to “spread his seed.” I’m with Lance, we can ALL control our hormones.

    I think the time for judgment–of EITHER sex–has passed, and we’ll never rid the world of it by self-monitoring our own sexual activity according to those old standards. I say do what you want, and if someone gives you crap, then you give them the heave-ho!

  • http://cheekiebacktalk.blogspot.com cheekie

    this is genius

    Honey’s Words of Wisdom: People don’t lie about who they are nearly as often as we lie to ourselves about who they are.

    really. probably the smartest bloody thing I have read in a very long time.
    cheers.

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  • eddy

    Im currently in a FB relationship and cant handle it cos I want more – Is there anyway anyone can think of to convert this into a full relationship?

  • http://honeyandlance.com/contact Lance

    Eddy, you might be shit out of luck. If you both wanted a real relationship it probably would have happened naturally. She might not be attracted to you enough to go the relationship route. I always recommend that a FB remain an FB and to not try to push it. Enjoy the convenient sex while it lasts, and know that it’s likely a short term thing. Instead, play the field and find yourself a girl who is hot and highly attracted to you.

    With that being said, you could always try having a talk and sussing out if she’s interested in being your girlfriend. KNOW that there’s a high chance of losing the FB should you initiate that talk.

    Honey may have a different take…

  • http://www.hotalphafemale.blogspot.com Hot Alpha Female

    Lol i think as a general rule when you are in an FB relationship you are basically screwed .. but in the bad way .. meaning to say that your chances of getting that relationship to go any further is slim to none.

    HAF

    Hot Alpha Female’s last blog post..If You Want A Date Order A Flat Mate

  • http://cheekiebacktalk.blogspot.com cheekie

    Have to agree with Lance here, as usual.
    I am a fan of the FB myself, but, in the rare instance that either or both parties want to go to full-on status, I think you have to tread lightly and subtly. And be prepared to lose the FB. It could happen, she may have shut that part off when this began, but who knows, stranger things have happened!

    Why not do something really casual and just ask her to meet you for a drink or something equally as friendship based. A movie, lunch, casual…if she says no, you probably have an answer, and I think regardless of the outcome, you are past the point of FB status now.
    You have relationship-type feelings for her and you can’t have an honest, open, casual sex based friendship anymore. It just won’t turn out well, trust me.

    You could try something really drastic, like oh I dunno, THE TRUTH?
    Just tell her that you have really enjoyed the time you have spent together, but that you are starting to have feelings for her and that isn’t fair based on the ground rules of your existing relationship.
    Then step back. She might come to you, she might not, but at this point what do you have to lose???

    Break a leg!!!

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    I’ve been in your shoes, Eddy, and your only option is honesty. You have to tell your partner that you’ve developed feelings and can’t continue as FBs, but that you’re open to a committed, monogamous relationship if they are.

    Best case scenario: they’ll agree and you’ll have the relationship you want.

    Worst case scenario: you’ll lose your fuck buddy but can focus on finding someone else to have a relationship with.

    Either way, you’ll be sure that you’re not expending wasting time and energy on something that’s not going to work out.

  • http://zetaclearshop.com Jorden

    I agree with your system. But at present it is rather difficult to create the relationship FB. If we’re not capable of honesty, then we shouldn’t be having sex with anyone. Do people do like this? And you are right completely that
    biblical notions of morality are increasingly out of step with our lived reality.

  • Lola

    I was going through this hormonal crazy time a while back and I decided to randomly fuck someone I had just met. He was normal enough and probably a good catch but that kind of life meant he was too ‘busy’ for a real relationship. So we fucked once and after a long time fumbling for a second appointment, I told him I liked him so I couldn’t have sex with him anymore (this was partly true and partly because our scheduled never damned meshed for much Sexy Time).

    Recently, he contacted me again and basically wanted to continue fuck buddying with me. I said yes for two reasons: he is fucking hot and also to see if I’ve learned any game at all in the time away from him.

    I’m well aware of your guideline 1(women get attached easily) and I’ve prepared myself ahead this go-around. I’m going to maneuver around this guys’ rather clingy-but-flighty character. I like him still (I admit it!) but I’m telling him I don’t. Sooner or later one of us is ‘supposed’ to fall for the other emotionally and it’s not going to be me this time!
    For your guideline 2(men use fuck buddies for sex), I agree. We talk too much about our lives and he is slowly letting me into his. After a while, there might be something more than the sex.
    For your guideline 3 (people are wired for casual sex), I do realize that now. I’m going to use that against him since he’s so hellbent on being monogamous for hygienic reasons.

    When/ if things go as I hope, he will melt in my hands. I will be a happy little plotter and he is going to pray that I will stop freezing up my feelings for him. If it doesn’t happen, then we’ll know this social experiment just won’t work.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Hi, Lola,

    I have to admit that I’m very concerned about what you’re doing here. For points 1 & 2, I have to say you’ve misunderstood me completely. The points I thought I made were that in an FB-relationship, both people were/are friends first, so both people are equally attached. Clearly you are more attached to your male friend in this circumstance, so it’s not healthy for you to participate.

    Secondly, I stated very clearly that in an FB relationship, BOTH people are “using” (or, more accurately, agreeing) to have sex for companionship, physical needs, etc. I further go on to say that if you can’t be honest with the person you’re sleeping with, you shouldn’t be sleeping with them. Period.

    Thirdly, I would hope that you were just as concerned about “hygenic” issues as he is. Don’t assume that if he’s being dishonest with someone else that he’s being honest with you! Use a condom. Ideally, also have a conversation where you both agree to be faithful to each other and still get tested at 3, 6, and 12 month intervals.

    This doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship to me, and your pseudonym of “Lola” doesn’t really help. I don’t think this relationship is the right one for either of you, and I encourage you to hold out for what is.

    All best, Honey

  • Lola

    Lola is my first name (which I never use in public).

    About the hygienic bit, I’m concerned too. We are definitely always using condoms and he is very happy to comply. I meant that we only sleep with each other so that there’s no problem of whoever he sleeps with, I sleep with and vice versa.

    - I wrote that comment on a terrible day. Obviously I AM more invested into this person than he is into me. I’m aware it’s not a healthy way to go about getting steady sex. I don’t really know how to give it up!

    O one hand, I am attracted to him both on the level of fucking him and on the level of ‘more’. And it’s even more messed up than that! I agreed to resume relations with him only weeks after getting badly hurt by someone I genuinely thought there was a true connection (we hadn’t even gone past kissing). I feel bad because I think I might just be taking it out on the new guy, who makes me happy even though he shouldn’t.

    ~~I am a good example of people who should not enter fb status~~

  • hunter

    I have been told, that a woman over 50 years old, can have a FB, no problem.

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