A guide to being friends with benefits

Less risky than a one-night stand and less complicated than a full-time relationship, a sex buddy could be the perfect solution for happy singletons...

Words by: Catherine Townsend

I found my last ‘friendship with benefits’ by accident. I’d had my heart broken after a long-term relationship and wasn’t looking for anything serious. Five minutes into my first date with R, a builder who looked like Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise, I knew we had nothing in common. He hated ‘talking and reading’ and I wasn’t crazy about football.

But who cared if his vocabulary was a little limited? I found out later that he definitely knew how to talk dirty. I also discovered that ‘friends with benefits’ meant ‘ability to deliver orgasms in a way drunken one-night stands can’t touch’.

The sex was safe (because I trusted him) and I didn’t have to stand around in a bar, buying my own cocktails. I liked and respected him, but I didn’t want him as a boyfriend. He was the perfect sex buddy.

Friends with Benefits

Some people think that women are incapable of separating sex and love. But sometimes the only void that needs to be filled is a sexual one. When it’s late and they’re feeling frisky, lots of my friends phone what my friend Clare calls the ‘McDonald’s of sex’ – a guy who is quick, easy and knows her body.

Alexa Joy Sherman, co-author of The happy Hook-Up: A Single Girl’s Guide in Casual Sex, says: ‘There are plenty of women today with careers and fulfilling friendships who are too busy or emotionally unavailable for anything more than a physical relationship. Women shouldn’t have to go without sex simply because they haven’t met the man they want to marry.’

Not all of my friends are convinced. ‘I’ve had two sex buddies and both times one of us got hurt,’ my friend Katherine tells me. ‘It’s a great idea in theory, but someone always ends up wanting more.’

Friends with Benefits

So, I have developed a few ground rules. The first being to treat my sex buddies like werewolves. I only see them after dark and about once a month. If I find myself out to dinner several times a week, I know I’m in pseudo-relationship territory.

I also use the ‘naked rule’, where I ask myself honestly if I would mind if I walked in on him naked with another woman. If the answer is yes, I step away from the phone.

I wish I’d kept this in mind with R. By the end of last summer, with no one else in my life, I started thinking we should go on some real dates. Unfortunately, that was the end of the sizzling sex and I learned a new lesson about shag buddies: know when to move on.

Breaking the ‘werewolf rule’ confused the situation and things became awkward. R and I have remained friends, but that was the end of his benefits.

Friends with benefits

Five rules of friendships with ‘extras’…

1. A booty call is not a date. If you have ‘dinner’ it should be served in a glass, or out of a takeaway container in front of the TV. Candlelit restaurants equal relationships, not casual sex.

2. Don’t expect a sex-buddy friendship to be upgraded to a regular relationship. If you are falling for your fling, it’s time to put your clothes on and have an honest chat.

3. Experiment. You’re not emotionally invested, so you can order him to give you oral sex for hours and not feel judged. Make sure you reciprocate.

4. It may feel intimate, but you still need to be safe. Use condoms.

5. If any smug marrieds question your choices, just remind them that having a sex buddy is merely an honest transaction between friends.

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