Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 66-73

First online:

Negotiating a Friends with Benefits Relationship

  • Melissa A. BissonAffiliated withDepartment of Communication, Wayne State University
  • , Timothy R. LevineAffiliated withDepartment of Communication, Michigan State University Email author 

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Friends with benefits (FWB) refers to “friends” who have sex. Study 1 (N = 125) investigated the prevalence of these relationships and why individuals engaged in this relationship. Results indicated that 60% of the individuals surveyed have had this type of relationship, that a common concern was that sex might complicate friendships by bringing forth unreciprocated desires for romantic commitment, and ironically that these relationships were desirable because they incorporated trust and comfort while avoiding romantic commitment. Study 2 (N = 90) assessed the relational negotiation strategies used by participants in these relationships. The results indicated that people in FWB relationships most often avoided explicit relational negotiation. Thus, although common, FWB relationships are often problematic for the same reasons that they are attractive.


Friends with benefits Friendship Romantic relationships