“Friends with benefits” is a relatively new term but an old relationship model. The popularity of this term does, however, represent a more open attitude about the practice of intimacy within a friendship. This is a positive advancement, but the circumstances of today are much different from the conditions that existed at the start of the sexual revolution in the 1960s.
Often overlooked by those who were born later, the young people of the ’60s started many key social changes that we are benefiting from today. In addition to greater sexual freedom and openness, they also brought about the popularity of health foods, concern for the environment, and even the inspiration for the personal computer (PC). Please forgive me for digressing. I can’t help pointing out these things when I get the chance. Although I was a bit too young to be a part of the start of these revolutions, I certainly got on board once I was of age. 🙂
I indulged in the wave of changes that started in the 60s during the 70s and 80s. Amazingly, I came out of it unscathed. I did not behave in the same way in the 90s and beyond, however.
The conditions that have changed are the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can kill or stay with you for life! Those, of course, are AIDS and herpes. I know this is an unpleasant subject, but it must be included in an intelligent discussion about “friends with benefits.” The solution is simple and liberating though.
If you’re ready to blow this issue off, just do this first. Put “positive singles” into a search engine and see what comes up. I got almost 48 million results. Nobody wants to join those singles.
To align the “friends with benefits” relationship model with current conditions, both parties must agree to certain terms. I would recommend an agreement that includes these stipulations.
- Get tested for STDs.
- This is the liberating part because your first sexual encounter would be unrestricted and without worry.
- Use a prophylactic device as secondary protection, as they are “not” 100% reliable against all diseases.
- Use the most reliable form of birth control you can.
- Use a prophylactic device as secondary protection, as they are “not” 100% reliable against getting pregnant.
- Be sexually exclusive.
- Dating other people is okay.
- Advise your friend if the breaking of sexual exclusivity is expected, intended, or has occurred “before” any further sexual activity.
- This is the point when common sense and integrity must prevail over jealousy and selfishness.
Many city and county health departments offer STD testing and birth control for free or for a nominal fee.
I know that this may sound too formal, but you probably can’t deny that it’s smart. If you’re truly friends, then concern for each other’s welfare will be present. You might simply say to your friend, “Let’s agree to some terms for our “friends with benefits” relationship so that it’s a positive experience that preserves our friendship. Here’s what I propose. We both agree to…” If your friend does not agree or considers “friends with benefits” to mean that they can have as many “friends with benefits” relationships as they want, I would not do it. There are too many other good men and women out there to worry about one.
During my online research on “friends with benefits,” I saw several articles that provided a list of rules. After reading them, I felt that most offered sound advice, but to me, they were just common sense and integrity issues. Only one of them mentioned STDs. Okay, I’ll be the one to pour cold water on a hot idea. But I believe what I’m suggesting will make your experience of “friends with benefits” much more pleasurable and without regrets. 🙂