Study Says Friends With Benefits Arrangements Are Not Feelings-Free
Friends with benefits (FWB) arrangements sound almost too good to be true. Are they? A recent survey of 1,023 Americans and Brits took a hard look at how these sex-centric (and supposedly no-strings-attached) relationships actually unfold. Respondents in the survey had an average of 2.5 friends with benefits under their belts (and in their beds) and provided some surprising insights into the nature of these alliances. Spoiler alert: sex with a side of companionship is not uncomplicated. We dig into the details of this study to find out what exactly goes on behind closed doors – and in the hearts of those involved — in an FWB arrangement.
Cover Photo: WANDER WOMEN COLLECTIVE (Getty Images)
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They last a pretty long time.
The average length of a FWB entanglement was 8.5 months. While that’s not long compared to a Brit’s average relationship length of four years, it’s probably longer than your last Tinder flame lasted.
The benefits are real.
If the point of a FWB arrangement is to get laid, well, mission accomplished. Respondents reported having sex 6.5 times per month with their side dish – and 45.7 percent of men and 44.5 percent of women rated their rolls in the hay with their FWB as “equally good” as sex with a committed partner. This was true whether they developed feelings for their fuck buddy or not. Those who’d been platonic friends before becoming sexually involved were more likely to rate the sex as “very satisfying.”
FWB sex is mostly safe.
The majority of women (59.7 percent) and almost half of men (49.9 percent) said they were more likely to use protection with their FWB than with a committed partner.
The friendship in a FWB arrangement is no joke.
An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (75 percent) said they’d spent one-on-one time with their FWB not having sex! Who would’ve thunk it?
Good luck not catching feelings.
You can’t sleep with someone for months on end and expect to feel nothing for them. Don’t believe us? Just look at the data. Over 60 percent of survey respondents copped to “catching feelings” during the course of their FWB relationship. Unsurprisingly, women were more likely (65.3 percent) than men (56 percent) to report feeling over the moon about their lovers.
Don’t let the possibility of catching feelings scare you off.
For those hoping to keep their FWB arrangement drama-free, the good news is that even when people developed feelings for their fuck buddies, they didn’t let them interfere in the relationship. Most women (51.5 percent) and men (49.2 percent) ignored the feelings and kept, um, pounding away. Some guys (40.8 percent) and gals (36.9 percent) confessed their budding love. A small number of men (10 percent) and women (11.6 percent) chose to end the relationship rather than come clean.
Women want something more.
While most (75.5 percentage) FWB relationships start out as platonic friendships, participants don’t necessarily want to keep things friendly. Almost half (47.9 percent) of women hope that their fuck buddy will become their committed partner – while 65.5 percent of men hope it doesn’t progress into long-term relationship territory.
It’s probably not going anywhere.
If you’re secretly holding out in the hopes that your FWB will fall for you, you’re probably SOL. Only 17.1 percent of people ended up in committed relationships with their fuck buddies – and a mere 2.1 percent got engaged or married to them. The more likely outcome? It’ll fizzle out naturally. Whether the arrangement was purely sexual or involved some sex-free fun, over a third of these relationships died a natural death.
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