By Joanne Rosa
Friends with benefits sounds like the best of both worlds. You get what you want, without having to do much in return.
What could be better than that?
For starters, it would be better if things were that easy.
FWB should be treated like a business arrangement. Guidelines and expectations should be considered before diving in.
Then, you’ll be ready to have all the fun you want.
Host of VH1’s Couple’s Therapy & New York Times best-selling author Dr. Mike Dow educated us on what to know before rolling around in the hay.
Dr. Mike Dow says, “There’s one true mantra when it comes to [FWB] that also happens to be the title of that movie where Meryl Streep starts having sex with her ex: it’s complicated… it’s important to get real about love and sex.” You don’t want to be the person crying their eyes out at the end of the movie!
Here are some important ground rules to establish:
1. No Family Affairs
“Your brother’s wedding is a place you take the man or woman you’re going to probably get engaged to—not the [one] you can never see yourself marrying.” Plus, who needs the questions anyway? Just avoid it all together.
2. Always Split the Bill
“Chivalry, romance, and flowers are for relationships that turn into something more—not FWB.” Remember, you two are like business partners. Keep it simple!
3. Keep Personal Life and FWB Separate
This one is super important. “You’re probably going to get some opinions you may not want… personal life 411 is just going to make this relationship feel more personal, intimate, and special.” People, this is literally everything you are trying to avoid. You want casual, hot, and easy.
4. No Consistent Sleepovers
“Constant sleepovers are going to make you more likely to form romantic feelings for someone.” By all means, if you are in a situation where you feel like it isn’t safe to go home (i.e. drunk driving, too late, etc.), and the option to stay was offered, then by all means, do so. One night won’t kill the FWB vibe. However, four or five nights a week might do the trick.
It’s crucial to be open about what you expect to get out of FWB. “Don’t pine away hoping for a Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis happy ending [from the movie Friends With Benefits,] when your guy may be more of a Tiger Woods before sex rehab… I’m the love doctor who sees how things really workout when people end up crying their eyes out in my office when things go south.”
Remember, the main thing here is to have fun, and NO crying!
Make sure you and your partner both want the same things. Establish with your partner what you desire out of this arrangement, emotionally and physically. “Be honest with yourself and honest with your partner about what’s really going on,” Dr. Mike says. “Is this: just sex and no friendship? Is it sex with a possibility of something more? Is this sex with a simultaneous friendship? Make sure both of you are really on the same page here.”
As always, communication is key, people!
The Low Down
There are a lot of benefits to having great sex. It’s a great stress relief, can help you look young, and of course, practice makes perfect.
Don’t forget to protect your health, and your heart. Dr. Mike says “only monogamy and [self pleasure] are 100% safe… I always recommend acting as if you don’t know what he or she may have recently picked up. Vaccines, birth control, choosing low risk behaviors, and condoms are all decisions you can talk to your doctor about.”
Just as important as your health and your heart, is your cognitive being. Sometimes people gravitate towards a friend with benefits situation because there is an underlying issue in their lives. “It’s not okay [to carry out a #FWB relationship] if you’re using to it self-medicate low self worth, a broken heart, or depression… once those are treated, you can really know if you truly want that #FWB relationship.” If there is something rotten in your life, sprinkling some sugar on it won’t make it better.
One last piece of advice from Auntie Wendy: “This is raw, animalistic attraction! This is scratching an itch! Don’t look him in the eyes… No candlelight dinners; no cuddling and spooning. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. Got it? Then go get it, girl.”
For more information on Dr. Mike Dow, visit his website.