Ah, the age-old friends with benefits situation. Let’s be honest, having friends with benefits can be incredibly convenient—all the fun, none of the planning-your-future-together—but there are rules. And, lucky you, we’re so ready to dish up some juicy FWB advice.
What’s not to like about the idea having no-strings sex with someone you like and respect, but don’t necessarily want a future with? However, friends with benefits also come with a few asterisks. Namely? If you start to blur the lines, you’re opening a big can of worms. To avoid confusion, awkwardness, and disappointments, here are the dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
DO Be Honest
You need to make sure that you’re open about everything. Both of you need to be on the same page in case either of you start developing feelings for each other. Same thing goes if one person wants to end it. You both have to be okay with the end result.
DO Speak Your (Sex) Mind
The main point of having a FWB is to have amazing, satisfying sex. Be honest about what you like and what you don’t like.
DO Groom Yourself As If They Were Your Significant Other
Even though you don’t want a relationship, it’s not fair to your friend with benefits if you show up to your trysts with prickly legs, stained undies, and dirty hair. Common courtesy, y’all.
DO Ensure You’re Emotionally Ready
Having casual sex can be emotionally tough, for some more than others. A lot of us are programmed to feel a connection after we sleep with someone, so you need to make sure you’re 100 percent okay with having sex that won’t lead to anything deeper.
DO Practice Safe Sex—Always
Condoms are lifesavers. Not only do they prevent you from having little babies with a guy you’re not interested in long-term, but they also make sure you stay STD-free, which is key when you’re having sex with someone you’re not monogamous with.
DO Keep Your Eyes (And Heart) Open For New Relationships
In other words: Don’t get too comfortable, or close yourself off from finding someone you want to be with. You don’t want miss out on not getting to know someone amazing just because you have a sex buddy.
DON’T Have Sleepovers
Having sleepovers confuses things. You want to keep yourself from getting emotionally attached, so sleeping next to your FWB—and walking up next to them—is extremely intimate. Say goodnight, take a shower, and get into bed feeling relaxed, satisfied, and totally comfortable with the fact that they went home.
Cuddling encourages intimacy which is a no-no with a friend with benefits. You want to keep things simple. Spooning complicates them.
DON’T Expect Bells And Whistles
Don’t expect anything relationship-like. No fancy dinners, flowers, gifts, or games. When you have a FWB, you’re having casual sex, and (maybe) some conversation—that’s it.
DON’T Be Clingy
This is a friendship, not a relationship. Leaving a change of clothes or toothbrush at their place is highly discouraged, as is giving them grief if they have plans, a date, or have to cancel on you. Once you become a stage 5 clinger, the fun is done.
DON’T Introduce Your FWB to Your Parents
A FWB is supposed to be temporary. If they don’t already know your “friend,” don’t introduce them to your family or friends. You don’t want people in your life to start nagging you about “what’s going on with you guys?!”
DON’T Get Mad If They Meet Someone
Your FWB is not your partner. They’re allowed to date, tinder stalk, or Facebook friend anyone they wants. If you find out they’re interested in someone, that’s okay, they’re not cheating on you. You’re free to date anyone you want, too.
DON’T Leave The Bedroom
After a few nights of what’s hopefully amazing sex, don’t feel forced to start doing date-like things like going shopping together, seeing a movie, or—in Carrie Bradshaw’s case on “Sex and the City”—inviting them to dinner because you connect so well in the bedroom, you assume it’ll translate elsewhere. As Carrie learned with the less-than-scintillating McFadden: Keep your chemistry contained to the bedroom where it belongs. If you decide you both have stronger feelings, it’ll happen organically.
Carly Spindel has inadvertently been in the matchmaking business since she was six years old. Now, she’s the vice president of Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking Inc. (check them out at JanisSpindelMatchMaker.com) and has been matching couples for six years. She has 80 marriages to her name.
A version of this article was originally published in October 2014.