Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 66–73 | Cite as

Negotiating a Friends with Benefits Relationship

Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Friends with benefits Friendship Romantic relationships 

References

  1. Acher, M., & Davis, M. H. (1992). Intimacy, passion, and commitment in adult romantic relationships: A test of the triangle theory of love. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 9, 21–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Afifi, W. A., & Faulkner, S. L. (2000). On being ‘just friends’: The frequency and impact of sexual activity in cross-sex friendships. Journal of Social and Personal relationships, 17, 205–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Armstrong, R. L. (1985). Friendship. Journal of Value Inquiry, 19, 211–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aron, A., & Westbay, L. (1996). Dimensions of the prototype of love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 535–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baxter, L. A., & Wilmot, W. (1985). Taboo topics in close relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 2, 253–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brehm, S., Miller, R., Perlman, D., & Campbell, S. (2002). Intimate relationships (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. Christen, C. T. (2001). Predicting willingness to negotiate: The effects of perceived power and trustworthiness in a model of strategic communication. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities & Social Sciences, 62(4-A), 1270.Google Scholar
  8. Hughes, M., Morrison, K., & Asada, K. J. K. (2005). What’s love got to do with it? Exploring the impact of maintenance rules, love attitudes, and network support on friends with benefits relationships. Western Journal of Communication, 69, 49–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Knobloch, L. K., & Solomon, D. H. (2002). Information seeking beyond initial interaction: Negotiating relational uncertainty within close relationships. Human Communication Research, 28, 243–257.Google Scholar
  10. Mongeau, P. A., Ramirez, A., & Vorell, M. (2003). Friends with benefits: Initial explorations of sexual, non-romantic, relationships. Unpublished manuscript, Arizona State University at Tempe.Google Scholar
  11. Parks, M. R. (1982). Ideology in interpersonal communication: Off the couch and into the world. In M. Burgoon (Ed.), Communication yearbook 5 (pp. 79–107). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.Google Scholar
  12. Paul, E. L., & Hayes, K. A. (2002). The causalities of ‘casual sex’: A qualitative exploration of phenomenology of college students’ hookups. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 19, 639–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Paul, E. L., McManus, B., & Hayes, A. (2000). “Hookups”: Characteristics and correlations of college students’ spontaneous and anonymous sexual experiences. Journal of Sex Research, 37, 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pogrebin, L. C. (1987). Among friends. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  15. Reeder, H. M. (2000). ‘I like you as a friend’: The role of attraction in cross-sex friendship. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 17, 329–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Sapadin, L. (1988). Friendships and gender: Perspectives of professional men and women. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 5, 387–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sprecher, S., & Regan, P. (2002). Liking some things (in some people) more than others: Partner preferences in romantic relationships and friendships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 19, 463–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93, 119–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sternberg, R. J. (1987). The triangle of love: Intimacy, passion, commitment. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Sternberg, R. J. (1988). The triangle of love. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  21. Ward, C. A., & Kahn, J. H. (2003). Why do men distance? Factors predictive of male avoidance of intimate conflict. Family Therapy, 30, 1–11.Google Scholar
  22. Werking, K. J. (1997). We’re just good friends: Women and men in nonromantic relationships. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  23. Whitley, B. E. (1993). Reliability and aspects of the construct validity of Sternberg’s triangular love scale. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 10, 475–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations