Can women and men just be friends? I don’t know. For the time being, I only befriend balding men over the age of 65. Oh, and gay priests. John Grohol over at Psych Central recently did some research on the topic and his findings were quite interesting. To get to his original article, click here. Excerpted below is some of his research. FWBR stands for Friends With Benefits Relationship.
Sex without love. It comes as no surprise that participants in a FWBR were adept at having sex independent of love. Indeed, over 80 percent of participants in a FWBR reported that they had had sex without love, compared to 13.4% of non participants who preferred sex in the context of a love relationship. This difference was statistically significant.
Nonromantic/realist. In contrast to romantics who believed that there is only one true love/love comes only once, nonromantics (also known as realists) viewed this belief as nonsense. Analysis of the data revealed that undergraduate realists who believed that there were any number of people with whom they could fall in love (57.9%) were significantly more likely to be a participant in a friends with benefits relationship than were undergraduate romantics who believed in one true love (44.7%).
In effect, nonromantics believe that they would have many opportunities to meet/fall in love and that a friends with benefits relationship would not cancel out their chance of doing so. Hughes et al. (2005) also found that persons involved in a friends with benefits relationship had a pragmatic view of love.
Question deep love’s power. Participants were less likely than nonparticipants to believe that deep love can help a couple get through any difficulty. Slightly over half (52.7%) of participants in a FWBR reported they did not believe in the power of deep love compared to over 60% (62.3 %) of nonparticipants who did believe in such power. We interpret this finding as another example of participants being nonromantic realists who were not focused on romantic love in their relationships.
Jealousy. Undergraduates identifying themselves as a jealous person (58.8%) were significantly more likely to be involved in a friends with benefits relationship than those who did not view themselves as jealous (51.1%). We are not sure how to interpret this data as we would assume just the opposite. Nevertheless, the data show that participants are more jealous. Perhaps those having sex with a friend wonder how many other sexual partners their “friend” has and want to feel that they are “special” and “unique.”
If you’re in a relationship that’s getting too complicated, check out my “12 Ways to Recover from an Emotional Affair.”