I find the notion of “friends with benefits” (FWB) or people who aren’t dating or otherwise committed to each other but hook-up regularly quite fascinating. In university, I had many friends who were involved in such arrangements, but rarely were they actually friends with their FWB. In almost every instance that I recall a FWB relationship was never the goal, but always the last resort for the girl. If a girl really liked a guy who wasn’t interested in a relationship, the girl would often continue to hook-up with him while implementing a subtle and devious plan designed to change his mind. This plan was generally as follows:

Stage 1: Girl engages in “no strings-attached” sex with the boy in order to prove how cool, chill, and awesome in bed she is.

Stage 2: Girl increases amount of daily texts and online communication with the boy.

Stage 3: Girl begins sneakily trying to spend the night at boy’s place. Excuses may include “I’m so exhausted, you totally wore me out…do you mind if I just spend the night here?” or “My roommate is having her crazy loud friends over again- last time they didn’t leave until 4 am and I really need a good night’s sleep…can I just crash here?” Cue the incessant spooning.

Stage 4: Now that girl has established a somewhat regular nightly presence at the boy’s place it’s time to make that presence known. If the boy has room mates the girl will be mingling with them while they awkwardly try to make their morning coffee. At this stage the girl will also become territorial over the boy’s bedroom. She will try to leave subtle reminders of her presence to ward off any other potential women that the boy may be involved with.
I have had so many guys ask me why girls are so forgetful: “Don’t they realize that they’re missing like five pairs of underwear, a t-shirt, their toothbrush, a comb, and a bunch of lotion-type-girly stuff I have no idea about?” Oh yes, they realize. They know exactly what they’re doing. They want any other girl that you bring home to know that you’re already more seriously involved with someone else. A guy could go weeks without noticing the earrings that were strategically forgotten on the night stand or the issue of Cosmopolitan that has miraculously appeared in the bathroom along with a pile of potpourri, but trust me, these things will not go unnoticed by other women.

Stage 5: Since the domicile has been effectively canvassed, it’s time to take this show on the road and start being “accidentally spotted” together with the boy in public. Cue the emergency ride to class, the “I’m starving, want to grab breakfast…at the most jam-packed place in town where ALL of our friends hang out?” And my personal favorite…the fake-a-date emergency. This is a classic and is not novice move. In this scenario there is some semi-formal event like a dance, a company function, a wedding- something that you would typically require a date. The novice will ask her boy to accompany her “just for fun- not as a couple or anything.” The boy will see right through this and will immediately decline by giving her the first excuse that pops into his head. The expert will create an entire back-story, and will often start laying the groundwork weeks before hand. For instance, a couple of weeks before said event she may mention that she has invited someone to attend with her. If no signs of jealousy from the boy ensue, a few days later she may mention how her invitee is starting to get clingy- she may even be starting to get concerned that he’ll want a relationship. If her boy toy still makes no attempt to intervene there will inevitably be a dramatic event that leads to her breaking the date. Maybe the invitee did something completely inappropriate (points for acting like you have self-respect) or perhaps he was just way too into her (points for being irresistible AND for being too cool to commit). Now she’s without a date to the event, all because she is just a cool, chill, fun girl who likes to have casual sex! No fair…”Maybe we should just go together,” she’ll say to her FWB. “That way we won’t be expecting anything from one another and we’ll just get drunk and party…I mean we’re both going anyway, why not just carpool and save money on gas and parking?” Seems reasonable, thinks the boy. He might be sweating a bit but reluctantly agrees because you can’t argue with logic (#1 boy rule- just FYI ladies). Here’s where it gets messy. The girl spends an unreasonable amount of money and time getting all dolled up to blow his mind and stealthily instructs ALL of her friends to take tons of photos (both candid and posed) of her and her FWB to later post, tag, like, and comment on later on Facebook. They get to the event and it’s like they’ve been hunted down by the paparazzi. But it only gets better, because that’s when alcohol gets involved. The boy drinks because he is started to realize what a terrible mistake he’s made and the girl drinks so that she’ll have an excuse for all of the shenanigans she is about to pull. First comes that “hahaha omg I’m so drunk, I’m going to hold on to you so I don’t fall” then comes the “let’s dance! It will be so fun! Oh how embarrassing…I didn’t know it was going to be a slow song…” and the inevitable “Let’s take a picture…OH WHOOPS I kissed your cheek…total accident, my bad” (as she uploads it as her new Facebook profile picture).

Stage 6: Boy realizes he has made a terrible mistake and decides that it’s time to reevaluate the relationship with his FWB. Maybe the boy will just stop talking to her completely, or maybe he will continue to see her but will flaunt his escapades with other women in front of her to make sure that she knows that they are in no way monogamous. Either way, the girl usually ends up crying on the phone to me about it. “I don’t know why he is acting this way! It was more than just sex…I know he cared about me…I think it just got too real for him.”

The message here ladies is that a FWB arrangement is not an effective solution for getting a boy to commit to you. However, it does raise an intriguing question: If a girl was to enter into a FWB arrangement purely for the purpose of getting some action, with no hopes at all of having a traditional relationship evolve, could it work? I have read articles that claim that women experience a biological reaction post-sex that causes them to have feelings of attachment that mimic those of love for their partner. If this is true, and women really are simply victims to the girly chemicals in their brains, then it seems that a FWB arrangement could never be a solution for sexual satisfaction without those pesky emotional attachments. I am hesitant however, to accept this seemingly sexist and weakly supported science. Being attracted to someone is not the same as having feelings for them, and having sex is not the same as being in love. What do you think? Can friends with benefits arrangements actually be beneficial for girls?

Credits: K