Friends With Benefits: How To Make It Work

ALEX MANSELL on no strings copulation

Alex Mansell friends with benefits sex

Can it work? Does it work? With three Hollywood films centred on the theme released in the last 12 months (Love & Other Drugs, No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits) it seems this is something of a hot topic.

I used to be of the opinion that the concept was flawed, that it couldn’t really happen. However I believe if you stick to a few simple ground rules there’s no reason you can’t have a perfectly healthy f*ck buddy situation.

First thing’s first: these movies are all unrealistic pieces of crap when it comes to the real friends with benefits scene. All three couples end up – in typical red carpet sell-out style – starting a proper relationship.

Rule #1: Don’t enter into it lightly, or with any expectations. If you think that maybe they’ll fall for me, you’re heading for a different kind of fall. Cos 9 times out of 10, it’s just not gonna happen. Round of applause for Hollywood’s delusional, idealistic presentation of the world warping our innocent minds.

Remember that you both remain single and playing the field: you use each other to satisfy needs purely physical. So if you think you can’t handle seeing them chatting up, pulling or taking home someone else, you quite probably aren’t made for this.

Respecting each other’s rights to get with other people is one of the major facets of the f*ck buddy contract. There’s no room for possession, jealousy, attachment. These would be classed as strings in what is a strictly no-strings situation.

Rule #2: Make sure from the very beginning, both of you know where you stand. And be brutal. It’s all very well to know yourself that you’re happy for it to go no further than shagging, but ensure they do too. It does no one any favours to foster the idea of a potential relationship if this isn’t where you’re at.

As long as there is a mutual understanding of the definition of your ‘relationship’, no one’s going to get hurt.

Rule #3: It can’t be the case that one person is calling all the shots, because this makes it unbalanced, and gives them the upper hand. You’re supposed to have sex when you want it, not just when they do.

Equally, don’t start a situation where you end up playing games: “I called her last time so can’t call again”; “I don’t wanna sound desperate; he can text me”. No, no, no. The beauty of friends with benefits is that it’s supposed to eliminate such politics. Nobody’s chasing anybody because the chasing has been done. You both acknowledge you want each other so there’s no need for any game-playing.

In the same respect, you can’t take it personally if they’re too tired or have too much work. This will make you question your own worth, and a f*ck buddy is supposed to do the opposite: it’s supposed to make you feel valued and desired.

Rule #4: There shouldn’t be any embarrassment to the point you don’t want to acknowledge them in the street. Although you f*ck, you can still be buddies. I’m not saying you have to be great friends, or even see them in a non-sexual context, I’m just saying it’s easy for things to get uncomfortable if you’re both caught unawares in a stark daylight, sober setting. Don’t let it. Awkwardness leads to complications. Complications lead to bad sex. The whole point of the no-strings attached theory is that it’s a totally casual arena for you both to play in, so adding an element of awkwardness just defeats the object.

Rule #5: You create your own rules. If you want to do the deed then let him/her sneak out, so be it. If you want to spoon, wake up and watch sh*t TV together, go for it.

You define the situation because it’s your own, private situation. You don’t have to be scared of staying for breakfast for fear it implies some sort of commitment, as long as you both know it’s not that; it’s just enjoying the pleasure of someone’s (naked) company. And a free breakfast.

So if you want to put yourself in this situation, know what you’re getting yourself into. It isn’t a place for emotion, so if that’s what you’re after, you need to take things slower or not enter the fray at all. F*ck buddies are feasible, but only if you’ve got the hardcore mindset to handle it. Hats (or pants) off to you if you do.