Bonny Albo
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What does friends with benefits mean? It’s not that tricky of a question, although, I get asked about it a lot.

Maybe someone asked you if you wanted to be FWBs, or perhaps you saw a show that referred to this odd term. Regardless, let’s define it, get examples, and see where else it’s used in popular culture. (In North America, that’s a lot).

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So, What Does Friends With Benefits Mean?

Friends with benefits (or, FWB) refers to an agreement between two people who are both friends and physically attracted to one another to share a sexual relationship. Although situations differ, most friends with benefits aren’t in a committed relationship, and may date and/or have sex with other people. A friends with benefits arrangement is not considered dating, a relationship or even casual dating by most people who use the term.

Friends with benefits differs from a one night stand in that one night stands provide only an evening of sexual interaction, although they may occur between two friends.

It might seem like casual dating and friends with benefits offer the same basic principle, but casual dating usually refers to two people getting to know each other before monogamy or a commitment, whereas friends with benefits rarely move into actual romantic relationship territory.

Sure, it’s possible, but in most cases friends with benefits share common interests and/or sexual experiences, but don’t engage in any sort of official dating or romantic behaviors, like celebrating Valentine’s Day or meeting the parents.

Why Would Someone Want a Friend With Benefits?

For someone that is afraid of commitment, or, isn’t ready for a serious partnership, FWB might seem like a great idea. You care for each other, you spend time together (usually one-on-one, and just for sex), and enjoy the interaction.

Peruse a few dating sites, and you’ll see more than a few profiles mentioning, “no drama”. For some, FWB removes the “drama” of a long-term partnership, meaning the emotional upheaval regarding questions such as, “are we together?” or, “are we heading towards marriage?”

For others, friends with benefits offers a more polite way of sharing they’d like a casual sexual relationship with no strings attached. On some level, the “friends” part of the term is tongue-in-cheek, as few of the people involved in these sorts of interactions are truly friends — as friendship refers to a purely platonic relationship.

When A Guy Says, “Let’s Be FWB”

When someone suggests this kind of scenario, there isn’t any other interpretation. What does friends with benefits mean, is exactly that: they want to have sex with you on a regular basis without any sort of emotional commitment or label that implies you’re in a romantic partnership.

No analyzing needed. No one to ask. It’s very simple. They aren’t asking if maybe, possibly, you’ll agree so that they can build more with you later.

Nope. It’s simple. They don’t see you “like that”, and it’s not going to change. Especially if you agree to FWB. There’s no question if it’s lust or love. It’s lust.

​References in Popular Culture About Friends With Benefits

Also Known As

  • booty call, cuddle buddy, FWB, no strings attached, sex partner, sexual relationship, um-friend.

Example: “Are you guys dating?” she asked. “Nah, we’re just friends with benefits.”

What Does Friends of Benefits Mean To You?

I’ve found different people have different variations of answers to the question, “what does friends with benefits mean”, especially if they’re young. Please feel free to share your own definition or experiences with the term in the comments.