That old double standard still hasn’t gone away. You know; the one that says a promiscuous man is a virile catch and that a promiscuous woman is a skanky tramp. This double standard is not presented as outright as it once was, but it’s there all the same, and one of the main places it seems to crop up is in the way in which women approach the increasingly common “friends with benefits” situation.
Friends with benefits relationships are intended to be casual sex relationships where both partners feel comfortable hanging out and having occasional sex without the attachments of a monogamous commitment or the emotional hang-ups associated with stereotypical relationships. They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and friends with benefits relationships seem to take many women straight down that path.
One of the major flaws with the typical friends with benefits situations is that women seem to approach relationships differently than men. Sure, it might be true that we don’t want to be committed, and it might even be true that we aren’t particularly jealous in certain relationships, but there is a part of us that seems to require attention, once lavished, to be maintained. So, when a man starts showing a sexual interest in us, we assume that the interest will remain. When it goes away, as it often does in the waxing-and-waning friends with benefits relationship, we tend to take it personally and make harsh judgments about ourselves or our partners about the situation.
Does this mean that friends with benefits situations don’t work for most women? Not necessarily. But what it means is that we require certain conditions to make these relationships fit properly in to our lives. For one thing, the friends with benefits relationship can’t be the primary relationship in our lives. Too much of our energy goes in to a primary relationship and this causes us to get too emotionally enmeshed in whatever is going on in that relationship. For that reason, the primary relationship should be one which is supportive, encouraging and self-esteem boosting. Whether you have a best friend, a terrific sibling or an ex who has become a special confidante, you should make someone other than your “fwb” the person who gets the most of your attention.
You should also make sure that you really know what you’re getting in to. One of the things that we go through as women being socialized today is that we are taught the rhetoric of being independent women. We think that we want to be on our own, alone in the world, fierce in our sexual freedom. This is wonderful, but it’s not always true, and sometimes we’re the last ones to find out that we don’t really agree with the words coming out of our ranting mouths. Getting in touch with yourself, asking yourself what you really feel, and being okay with changing your mind to suit your needs are all critical components to developing a healthy relationship with yourself so that you can develop healthy relationships with others, including your friend with benefits.
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Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on March 14, 2013:
It is so tough being a woman and trying the friends with benefits thing. This is mostly because some guys don't know what they are doing either. I think if two people are strictly friends, attracted to each other, but not in love, and agree to friends with benefits, it can work to some degree. However, most of the times there are mixed signals. Guys will suddenly bring flowers or decide to have a "date" night... ummm... no! Confusion! I've decided to never do the friends with benefits thing again. It is so frustrating and you are so right about how hard it is for women. Voted up and shared!
lovedoctor926 on March 14, 2013:
Excellent points here. In my opinion, an FWB is the ultimate win-win situation. Men get frequent sex with a woman they are physically attracted to plus the companionship her friendship offers, without having to shoulder any of the obligations of a committed relationship. Many women actually think that if they accept this type of arrangement it will eventually lead to something deeper and it hardly ever does. An FWB is mostly about two people using each other for sex until someone better comes along. Personally, I don't think a woman is suited for casual sex. Women need that emotional connection or need to do it with someone that they care about. Many think they could go through with it, but they end up falling for the guy and then left feeling used. Sex toys are a healthy option too.
Tijani Achamlal from Morocco on March 14, 2013:
What I look for is sexual compatibility, reciprocity and full time companionship. Sexual compatibility to me is having chemistry, find the other person attractive and liking and wanting the same things in the bedroom. Reciprocity on two levels. First in the bedroom, you both need to give and take and having a taker in the bedroom is not fun.One thing last thing that some don t know is that guys can have S.. and still be detached from his partner. On the other hand, during S.., the girl would produce hormones that make the girl attached. So this type of relationship isn’t fair for women to begin with, and is sometimes the result of a selfish guy and a naïve women where they couldn’t process the relationship on the same level .
Thanks for the hub.I voted up.
Escobana from Valencia on March 14, 2013:
Especially the getting-in-touch-with-yourself-part is critical in this well written Hub.
Fwb relationships have worked for me for a long time when I was single years ago. I never felt a victim in any way and I enjoyed and learned so much about my own sexuality.
Now that I'm older and single again I would still prefer Fwb relationships over several one-night stands. To be intimate with someone is part of life for me. I am in no way a person to live a life without sex though I prefer a personal click and a good vibe between me and the other.
Fwb relationships can be very liberating if you know yourself very well. If you feel you can handle the difference between these friendships and a real commitment.
Up, shared, useful and curious to see Kathryn's comment in response to the comments of her followers:-)
sweetsue on March 02, 2011:
I think friend with benefits is not a good idea,women are always victim of it cause they link sex with relationship!
maheshpatwal from MUMBAI on January 14, 2010:
I'm not sure whether such a thing called FWB is prevalent in Indian society or not………..but as per me it depends upon person to person to keep such a relationship with their friends…….........
M. Rose from Orange County, CA on January 13, 2010:
Great hub! I certainly think friends with benefits is a tougher situation for women. Most of us seem to be hardwired to not do well in "casual" arenas...though there are exceptions. I think what's most important is for us girls to not sell ourselves short and accept a friends with benefits situation if we want more. Thanks for sharing this info :)