Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Friends with (Sexual) Benefits: When Harry Met Sally?

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.”


To continue reading, click here.

If you’re in a relationship that’s getting too complicated, check out my “12 Ways to Recover from an Emotional Affair.”

  • Iris Alantiel

    I can say with total confidence that it is possible to be “just friends”. I have several “just friends”, ranging from my ex-boyfriend to guys I met in university to the one who’s been like a brother to me since we were teenagers. It works wonderfully! But then I also acknowledge that I tend towards being a romantic, although marriage is slowly curing me of this perspective. (It doesn’t just come naturally; having a soul mate takes work!)

  • Jorge Trimboli

    Dear Iris,
    I guess that you have Latin blood in your veins. Its not a racist statement, please don’t misunderstand me! But for several reasons that I begun to understand that American non Latin ladies in general don’t relay in men. I guess that the former men generations treated then bad, so bad. This should be one of the reasons that they (the ladies) don’t feel totally safe and need the feminist movement, need to walk, dress and act like men, etc…but they never will lose their female condition, thanks to God! The time will cure their hearts and will be free and feminine again, feeling safe about men friendship.
    I have 2 beautiful daughters, married 25 years with the same wonderful woman and I have many ladies friends of several ages. Friendship is possible and desirable. The benefits are between my wife and me. A new generation of men is growing, we will provide a safe place for the ladies live their feminility in plenty and have tons of male friends with respect and love.

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