Friends with benefits exist primarily for the purpose of fulfilling each other’s sexual needs and desires. However, more often than not, it has turned into a power-play of some sort, leaving people, women especially, to stay clear.
Fuck buddies or ‘FWB’ (friends with benefits) is a concept/relationship that has been in existence for a very long time. While situationships, another popular form of casual relationships, can be tumultuous ー as lines are blurred in relationships like these ー friends with benefits are slightly more cut-throat, or better put, more clear-cut. FWBs exist primarily for the purpose of fulfilling each other’s sexual needs and desires. A lot of the time, these types of relationships do not serve any other purpose. In fact, people admit to seeing their old FWBs while between romantic relationships, while on breaks with their partners or during periods of arguments and brief separation.
A FWB relationship can be somewhat tasking or confusing seeing as no one really knows the ‘rules’ to the game and just make it up as they go; in contrast with proper relationships where there are set expectations and people mostly know what is expected of them. There may be a boundary existent between fuck buddies and friends with benefits seeing as the name itself suggests a dichotomy. However, both can still present difficulties while navigating. Fuck buddies would be say, two people who met, maybe on a dating app and have sex with each other. Afterwards, they keep on a relationship that completely serves the purpose of sexual intercourse. There are usually no other hang-outs or meet-ups between them.
Friends with benefits on the other hand would be two people who have sex with each other, but could also share a friend group or engage in several other activities together. From my rudimentary attempts at defining the subjects of these relationships, one gets a sense that the boundaries of the latter could be slightly confusing.
The interesting thing is that everyone seems to have an opinion on what should or should not be done while in a FWB relationship. This barrage of opinions is what once prompted a room on Clubhouse, where someone out-rightly admitted to blocking the lady they had been having casual sex with when they realized their feelings had begun to turn romantic. In slight shock, I chimed in saying that was harsh, but it did not change the fact that a lot of people could see the point in doing such. This is based off the fact that people turn their FWB relationships into power plays. It becomes a battle of who can fall first, essentially leading to one partner beginning to chase the other. No one wants to become this unfortunate partner, least especially the woman in this equation.
Many women stray from these types of relationships, including situationships since these attachments are set to favour men and serve as a detriment to women. As a result of patriarchy, cruelty from male partners is expected even in romantic situations, which makes their potential partners wary of relationships in which the man has no interest in loving them. A lot of women, more times than not, would benefit from having multiple situationships (that is having their needs fulfilled by more than one person); or being entirely alone, if we did not face the societal need or requirement to be ‘cuffed’. If women felt less pressured to be in monogamous relationships with men, we would have the opportunity of making way different decisions about our love-life and the luxury of leaving one to move on to the next when the need arises.
This is not to insinuate that women have never caused harm to their casual sex partners, as such situations where the power play may be mismatched do arise. However, the societal repercussions of casual sex (for women) mean that men leave those relationships with way less baggage than women do. Women are expected to have less sex than men, while men are encouraged to stick their penis into virtually anything under the sun. This is an exercise of virility, while chasteness for women is an exercise of virginal prowess.
Women’s’ love lives tend to predict the entire trajectory of our futures as a result of societal conditioning. We are expected to build our lives around our partners. If a man is ready to date, then we are to be his girlfriend. We are also to be married when our parents desire us to, bear children when our partners decide it is time and have jobs that do not take us away from home. With this limiting setup, women find themselves bound in an eternal limbo and thus, never really able to set romantic expectations seeing as the male partner is expected to make all the defining decisions about their relationship.