What it feels like... sleeping with your best friend

Two women share what it's like to cross that line with someone you know very, very well...

Sex with best friend: A pomegranate
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ah, that age-old conundrum. Sex with your best friend would never happen—right? You've always been close, too close, to ever see them in a romantic light.

But then... it happens. Just like Jamie and Dylan in Friends With Benefits or Connell and Marianne in Normal People, Brits love a sex mishap. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), it's all too common, and so Google search for questions surrounding what happens after you have sex with a best friend is through the roof.

Does everything change? Should you tell your other mates? Can you maintain a close friendship after you've seen each other naked? Or will it all go south? 

To be completely realistic, just like being in an open relationship or having your first threesome, it totally depends on the situation and is likely different for each and every friendship. But reading other stories like the two below may help you work your way through the confusion if it does happen to you.

Don't miss our guides to what it feels like to have premature female ejaculation, while you're here. 

Sleeping with your best friend: your need-to-knows

How common is it to sleep with your best friend?

The question every wants to know the answer to. While the stats are scarce, a quick Google search draws up 773,000,000 results for "sex with best friend," which means, a bit like erectile dysfunction, that it's likely more common than you might think.

Realistically, if you're super close with someone and spend lots of time with them, chances are one night, after a few drinks, something could just happen - especially if there's underlying sexual chemistry or one of you hasn't had sex for a while.

While we don't have any solid stats, from our digging, it looks like it happens - a lot.

Here, Danielle* and Leah* share their stories, plus what they learnt from sleeping with their own best friends of ten and six years. Watch and learn...

"For the first time, I orgasmed from penetration alone - but it changed things"

For Danielle*, sleeping with her best mate was easy fun - but she only noticed further down the line that it changed their relationship irrevocably. 

"I didn’t have a sudden moment of waking up and realising that I’d slept with my oldest friend.. We’d had sex four times, and for the first time ever I’d orgasmed from penetration alone. The fact that it had all happened with a guy who I’d known for over ten years – and who I’d never been attracted to – only dawned on me three hours later, when we were dressed and sat on separate chairs on opposite sides of the living room."

"“I’m probably not going to mention this to anyone,” Sam said casually. “They don’t really need to know, right?” I laughed – a little too hard, perhaps. “Of course not,” I replied, feeling myself go red. His comment stung, and I wasn’t sure why."

"That afternoon, we hugged goodbye and later texted each other about unrelated, non-sexual things, as a conscious show of “seeing each other naked changes nothing”."

"Aside from predictably telling all to a mutual friend of ours later that week, I easily put the whole thing to the back of my mind. One-night stands in the past had come with a morning dose of guilt, like I’d sold myself short somehow. This felt different. I didn’t want a relationship with Sam, but it hadn’t been meaningless."

"When he rang me out of the blue six months later to say he’d tested positive for chlamydia and was worried he’d given it to me, our friendship made things easier again. I genuinely meant it when I said that I wouldn’t be angry if he had passed it on, and he knew he could believe me."

"It’s been three years since that night, but I’ve only recently realised that now when Sam stays in London, he no longer uses my floor as his crash pad. We’re both in long-term relationships and I don’t know if his girlfriend knows we slept together."

"When I told my boyfriend, he seemed unfazed – he’s slept with some of his female friends, too. But he still can’t make me orgasm through penetration, and when he asked me who had, I lied."

"The sex with Sam was great but we both know our long-standing friendship comes first. Boyfriends may come and go but real friends - especially the ones who have seen you naked - are friends for life."

"It didn't change anything - and the sex was great."

Leah*, on the other hand, slept with her best friend during freshers and maintains that it hasn't changed their relationship.

"Kate* and I were eighteen when we first met as freshers at Bristol University. We lived in the same flat together in student halls and quickly became close friends - despite her obsession with F1 and my complete lack of interest in most sports."

"She was great - always the first at the pub but also there to support you if you were going through a tough time, too. One night - after many pints, I may add - we drunkenly ended up kissing, stumbling back to her room, and sleeping together."

"The sex was incredible - easily the best I'd ever had - and knowing her as well as I did made things less awkward and a lot more exciting." 

"While we did sleep together a few more times, I think we both knew it was nothing serious and would never amount to anything. Plus, it was just before a long Easter break, which came in handy as it meant we spent a few months apart."

"When we did return to uni for the summer, things were totally normal but the sexual spark had fizzled out. There was no awkwardness or hard feelings as we both felt exactly the same - it had been a bit of drunken fun."

"We've now been best mates for years - she's a completely irreplaceable friend and I can't imagine my life without her. Our fresher's fun is rarely even mentioned, but we always just laugh it off if it is - we've spoken about it since. If anything, it brought us closer - I do maintain that you can sleep with a mate and keep things friendly if you're both 100% on the same page."

Shop toys to spice things up now

Does sleeping with a friend change things?

Bottom line: it'll depend entirely on your relationship and how you both feel about one another. 

Things may get complicated if one wants a more long term relationship, however if not feelings get hurt, it can workout - as our case studies show.

While most relationship experts would warn from sleeping with a close friend in case the situation gets messy, ultimately, it's up to you. 

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.