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For Julia and Steve, it worked out well -- the "benefits" part of their friendship ended when she met the man who is now her husband, but they're still close, and get together for dinner when he's in town. But are they the rule or the exception? Can "friends with benefits" really benefit both parties, or is there usually unexpected emotional fallout? Julia agrees -- and thinks the "benefits" went further than just enjoyable sex with someone she trusted. And it made me less desperate for a relationship," she says.
FWB experiences can burn, however, and the friendships in question often end as a result. I know him so it won't be a random pickup that could be scary because I don't know the guy. He was awful in bed, and he was boring and juvenile. One of you falls in love and the other one doesn't --or one of you goes into an it's-just-sex relationship harboring secret hopes of turning it into more. Alanis Morrisette may sing, "You're my best friend, best friend with benefits" in "Head Over Feet" -- but no one hearing the rest of the lyrics could doubt that the singer is in love with the guy.
Sometimes it does, but that's not something you should be counting on," says Tessina. The plane has to move forward. It takes off or it lands. You can't just be in this holding pattern forever. How do you end the "friends with benefits" arrangement when one of you finds someone you'd like to date romantically? Julia and Steve found it easy -- although her husband still doesn't know about their past arrangement -- but complications often arise, says Caron.
If not, how does your new partner feel about this great friend of yours that you used to sleep with for convenience? You must learn to listen to what people tell you - and if their words and or actions are telling you they want to keep it casual -- believe them. If the sex in question is with a friend or someone else who is likely going to be a continued presence in your life, modify this question to say: If this person tells me they are no longer willing or available to have sex with me, will I be OK with that?
The same principle applies - if your friend with benefits falls in love with someone else next week, how will that make you feel? If it would make you feel badly, then you are more attached than you have admitted to yourself. Am I able to communicate honestly with this person? I was recently asked by a woman if it was OK to ask a guy if he was sleeping with anyone else before she had sex with him.
I often hear women say they don't want to ask if the relationship is going anywhere before sex for fear of "scaring him off". If asking that question scares a guy off, he is doing you a favor. Better you find out now then after you have slept with him and your feelings are even more pronounced. You owe it to yourself and to your partner to find out if you're on the same page.
The right man for you won't be deterred by your honest desire to have a relationship - he'll be psyched! If you feel uncomfortable asking about a potential partner's sexual activity, the status of your relationship, or communicating any boundaries or preferences you have, do not do it. Sex doesn't have to mean everything, but it is an intimate act that can have serious, life-changing consequences no matter how safe you endeavor to be. You deserve the self-respect to make sure that your sexual partners respect you enough to make you feel heard and respected.
If you can't honestly communicate with this person and you're still willing to have sex with them, it could be a sign of a bigger self-esteem issue that is holding you back from the love you are seeking. Am I able to practice safe sex with this person? Even with all of the education we have in this day and age about STDs, to say nothing of pregnancy, unprotected sex is still the norm for many. If you are about to engage in sex with someone who refuses to use protection, do not do it!
This is a no-no even if you are a woman on the pill or some other form of birth control and your risk of pregnancy is low. She has any new sex partner take the tests before sex. And they still use condoms. Talk about being able to articulate your boundaries! You don't have to have an at-home pharmacy if you don't want to, but at a bare minimum you should use condoms with any casual sex partners. Talk to your doctor about appropriate birth control options for you. Love yourself enough to not succumb to pressure - anyone who is pressuring you to have unprotected sex does not respect you or themselves enough to be worthy of sleeping with you.
Am I actively dating people who share my relationship goals? We often focus on the physical risks of sexual activity, but the emotional risks are just as high. For one, if you are using casual partners as a way to feel less lonely or to compensate for the intimacy you are seeking, there is a high likelihood you're holding yourself back.
It is a leap of faith to believe that you can have the love you are seeking. Using casual partners as a crutch is a signal to your unconscious self and to the universe that you are willing to settle for less. If you're willing to settle for less, that's usually what you get. If you are continually getting involved with people with whom a long-term relationship is not a possibility, you are in a pattern that is not going to lead to the relationship you want.
This is one of the biggest hazards of casual sex. It can be a sign your actions are out of alignment with your true desires. I have no moral objections to consenting adults having as much sex as they like with whomever they choose. However, as a love coach, I work with many singles whose sex lives are in direct conflict with the relationship they're looking for. Nine times out of ten, my clients and I uncover multiple ways in which they're sabotaging themselves with casual sex.