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PLATONIC

 

Asexual Relationships & Romance

Video Talk: Aesthetic Attraction

Greek Lesson: What is Platonic Love?

Video: Different Types of Attraction

Video Ramblings: Queer Platonic Relationships

People Who Don't Want to Fall in Love

Characteristics of Platonic Love

What is Friendship?

Odyssey: Types of Attraction

 

Platonic Relationships

 

What Is a Platonic Relationship? The idea of what a platonic relationship is has evolved over the years. The person who came up with the concept was the philosopher Plato, whose name makes the term. His definition of what platonic love is differs from what the modern interpretation is. His definition of love was one that wasn't about lust, but instead love that would bring you closer to the divine and brought out the best traits. It applied to all forms of relationships.

The modern definition of platonic love still has some of Plato's ideas, such as the idea of a bond that brings the best out of the two of you, but platonic love now centers around the idea of two people "being just friends."

This usually applies to two heterosexual people of the opposite sexes, but it can apply to same sex relationships as well. In other words, the two of you are good friends, but there is no sexual activity involved. It is considered an asexual and aromantic relationship. Friends with benefits is not a platonic relationship.
 

 

 

Video: Ace and Aro People in Relationships

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Jen and Judy: Arms Around Me

Characteristics of Platonic Love

Video Chat: Types of Attraction

Psychology Today: Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

Kai and Mari: Queerplatonic Relationship

Jen and Judy: A Thousand Years

Queer Friendships: Platonic and Romantic

Info: Aromantic Orientation

Video Advice: Signs You Have Found Your Soulmate

Platonic Relationship Described

Fine Line Between Romantic and Platonic Love

Jen and Judy: Hold Me While You Wait

Video Talk: Aesthetic Attraction


Love and Friendship

 

Plato, from whom the word “platonic” comes from, once said, “Neither family, nor privilege, nor wealth, nor anything but Love can light that beacon which a man must steer by when he sets out to live the better life.” It is a beautiful quote, and it means only one thing: Love must be the ultimate driving force and motivation behind any fulfilled and enriched life. But what is “love”, and how can our understanding of this word change the way we appreciate the relationships that we have?

Is “love” limited to our husband or wife? Our partner? Our children? Our family? Our friends? There are many kinds of love that represent many kinds of relationships. Some of them include parental love, romantic love and platonic love. So what does it mean to have a platonic relationship, and how is a platonic relationship represented in modern life?

 

The classical platonic love definition embraces the adoration one feels towards a teacher, a good friend, a leader, or a famous personality. If you have at least once felt this affection towards a famous actor, a singer, or another famous personality who is beyond reach, you have experienced this emotion.

 



To Plato, the original meaning of platonic love had nothing to do with carnal lusts or sexual attraction. Plato defined platonic love as the kind of love that motivates us to become better versions of ourselves, inspiring us to pursue greater goals, and bringing us closer to enlightenment or the divine.

As a rule, this term is used to describe a relationship between two people who choose not to have any intimate contact though theoretically, they could possibly have a romantic affair. These people may be good friends, they may belong to different social groups, there may be an age gap between them, but they just cherish each other without any bodily contact. Such a platonic friendship unfolds people's best traits. They are ‘just good friends’ who might be even closer to each other than lovers or blood relatives.

 

These days the term “platonic relationship” is often used to describe a “friends only” relationship. The kind of relationship in which you would do anything for the person, regardless of gender, but have no interest in being with them sexually or romantically. But it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a relationship is a platonic one, especially if one partner is slightly attracted to the other. The lines often get blurred, and clearing up the status of a relationship (platonic, romantic, sexual) is crucial towards defining a healthy relationship.


And it is necessary to remember that pure bodiless emotions may once undergo a profound transition. At this stage, one partner may start to want more than just being good friends. It is absolutely normal when spiritual phases grow into physical or vice versa, under the condition that both partners feel comfortable about this transition and welcome the changes. mnm

 


 

Asexual Relationships & Romance

Video Talk: Aesthetic Attraction

Greek Lesson: What is Platonic Love?

Video: Different Types of Attraction

Video Ramblings: Queer Platonic Relationships

People Who Don't Want to Fall in Love

Characteristics of Platonic Love

What is Friendship?

Odyssey: Types of Attraction

 

Types of Attraction

 

Romantic Attraction – Affinity to engage in relational, interactive, affectional, intimate behavior (flirting, dating, marriage) with another person.


Sexual Attraction – Affinity (desire, interest) to engage in physical (carnal) intimate contact or behavior (kissing, touching, intercourse) with another person.

 

Sensual Attraction - Desire to interact with others in a tactile, non-sexual way, such as through hugging or cuddling.
 

Emotional/Spiritual Attraction – Affinity to engage in empathetic (interdependent) intimate behavior (sharing, confiding, trusting, loving) with another person. Desire to get to know someone, often as a result of their personality instead of their physicality. This type of attraction is present in most relationships from platonic friendships to romantic and sexual relationships.

 

Aesthetic Attraction - When someone appreciates the appearance or beauty of another persons, disconnected from sexual or romantic attraction.

 

Intellectual Attraction  -  Desire to engage with another in an intellectual manner, such as engaging in conversation with them, “picking their brain,” and it has more to do with what or how a person thinks instead of the person themselves.

 

 

 

Relationships, Squishes, and Zucchini
 

Being in a relationship does not necessarily imply that there is romance. The asexual community (including aromantics) separates sexual and romantic orientation.
 
There is such a thing as non-romantic loving relationships. Most people would agree that family is kind of non-romantic loving relationship, especially from the mother to the children, but friendship and companionship may be more important than romantic partnership even for some romantic people.
 
Not only is love not exclusive of romance, but even infatuation. For the latter, the asexual community coined the term “squish” to refer to an asexual aromantic crush. And they recently coined the term “zucchini” to refer to an aromantic platonic relationship.

 

 

 

Queerplatonic Relationships
 
A queerplatonic relationship (QPR) is one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as a friendship, not fitting the traditional romantic couple model. It is characterized by a strong bond, love, and emotional commitment, yet is not perceived by those involved as romantic or more than a friendship. Being a so-called platonic relationship, it does not comprehend sexuality/eroticism or exclusivity nor it is this what the relationship is organized around. It is defined by the intensity and significance of the emotional connection.


The people involved do not have to identify as queer. It is a type of relationship experienced by and available to anybody regardless of their sexual orientation, romantic orientation, or monogamy. The people involved in a queerplatonic relationship may consider themselves partners, life-partners, a couple, a triad, or any other term that implies the relationship is meaningful, committed and intimate. Because queerplatonic relationships are not based on exclusivity, a participant of the relationship may have multiple QPPs and exclusive relationships (romantic or sexual) with a third party not involved in the QPR.

 


 
Queerplatonic partners (QPs or QPPs) are sometimes referred to as "zucchini.” This was originally a joke within the aromantic asexual community, underscoring the lack of words in mainstream relationship discourse to signify meaningful relationships that do not follow the standard and expected sexual/romantic norms, and frustration with the erasure of other kinds of intimacy, which were perceived as equally valuable to the sexual/romantic model.
 
Due to the controversy surrounding the reclamation of "queer", an alternative to queerplatonic is "quasiplatonic" or "quirkyplatonic".
 
In some situations the people involved can show physical affection such as cheek kisses, pecks on the lips, holding hands, sitting on each other's lap, seeing each other naked, cuddling and literally sleeping together. To QPPs, these activities are not necessarily romantic nor sexual/erotic.

 

AVEN: Romantic Orientation

Akoiromantic Defined

People Who Don't Want to Fall in Love

Jen and Judy: You Mean the World to Me

Characteristics of Platonic Love

Video Talk: Being Asexual and Biromantic

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Info: Aromantic Orientation

Fine Line Between Romantic and Platonic Love

Jen and Judy: Hold Me While You Wait

Odyssey: Types of Attraction

Video Ramblings: Being Queer Platonic

The Romance of Close Friendships

Asexual Relationships & Romance

Info: Asexuality

Shades of Grayro: Romantic Orientations

What is Lithromantic?

Video Advice: Signs You Have Found Your Soulmate

Info: Sexual Identity

Love Panky: Different Kinds of Romantic Orientations

Jen and Judy: Arms Around Me

Reciprosexuality and Reciprioromanticism

Aromantic Poem

Video Chat: Types of Attraction

Asexual Visibility and Education Network

This is What Sex Feels Like for an Asexual Person


 

Friendships: Platonic, Familial, Cordial
 

Outside of sexual relationships, friendships are very important. Depending on the friend, the physical connection would often play a role as well. From hand holding to cuddling, in many ways these queer friendships fulfill a need for physical touch. Beyond dating, friendships and a variety of platonic relationships often provide a meaningful source of deep love and happiness.

Many straight women often have close relationships with other women. But, the component of queer identity makes a big difference here. The undercurrent of attraction and the possibility of relationships makes connections between queer women more nuanced at times. Sometimes these undefined relationships can be maddening and lead to jealousy or frustration. Questions like, “What are we?” and, “What does this mean?” can be nagging. But, on the other hand, these relationships can also take pressure off and allow for intimacy in open-ended, freeing ways.

 


 

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Debunking Asexual and Aromantic Myths

Asexual Relationships & Romance

Info: Aromantic Orientation

Love Panky: Different Kinds of Romantic Orientations

Levels of Friendship

Video Ramblings: Being Queer Platonic

Kai and Mari: Queerplatonic Relationship

Types of Female Friendships

Video Talk: Can Queer and Straight People Be Friends?

Jen and Judy: Someone to Stay

Asexual Visibility and Education Network

Video Advice: Signs You Have Found Your Soulmate

Jen and Judy: You Mean the World to Me

Akoiromantic Defined

Video Chat: Types of Attraction

BFF Test: Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness

Characteristics of Platonic Love

 

In general, we live in a culture that values the romantic/sexual relationship above all others. This is easy to see. Most popular songs and movies center the romantic relationship as the most important one in a person’s life. The monogamous romantic bond is shown as a shining example of connection and what we all should strive for in life. All other relationships, be they platonic, familial, or something more nebulous, are made to seem secondary to traditional romance. A heterosexual pairing is held up as the golden ideal, but these same ideas about pairing off and romance superseding all else can sometimes translate to the queer community, too.

So, how do we label these close friendships? In an article, writer Maria Popova addresses romance and friendship and the history of the ‘neverland between the two and the inevitable discombobulation of our neatly organized relationship structures that happens when romantic love and friendship converge”. Relationships are never as simple or cut and dried as a definition. These convergences can cause confusion but also lead to joy and beauty.

 

The term "queerplatonic" is useful here. This phrase was coined by asexual and aromantic people, and it’s often used in the asexual and aromantic communities. It’s defined by AVEN as, “a relationship that is not romantic but involves a close emotional connection (platonic) beyond what most people consider friendship. The commitment level in a queerplatonic relationship is often considered to be similar to that of a romantic relationship.” This definition can help us gain insight into ourselves and our relationships, and allow people to broaden their perceptions of relationships and love.

Understanding the importance of these types of relationships can help us realize something about friendship. Friendships of all kinds (platonic, romantic, sexual and otherwise) can be life-saving, even when their parameters aren’t so clear-cut. We can learn to embrace the ambiguity and enjoy the queer friendships that provide us with a constant source of intimacy in our lives.

[Source: Amanda Steele, Tempest, July 2018]

 

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Video: Ace and Aro People in Relationships

BFF Test: Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness

What is Lithromantic?

Jen and Judy: Hold Me While You Wait

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Fine Line Between Romantic and Platonic Love

Video: When You and Your BFF are Practically Married

Psychology Today: Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

Info: Aromantic Orientation

Jen and Judy: What is a Soulmate?

Aro Q&A: My Experience as an Aromantic

Queer Friendships: Platonic and Romantic

What is Friendship?

 

 

What is Platonic Love?
 

Love is multi-faceted and comes in many forms: parental, filial, romantic, platonic. But what do we mean when we say “platonic friends” or talk about “platonic love”? What does a modern, healthy platonic relationship look like, and how do we keep it that way?

Platonic love takes its name from famous Classical Greek philosopher, Plato (428–347 BCE). Initially, Plato’s dialogue was directed toward same-sex relationships, sexual, and otherwise, but by the Renaissance, platonic love had come to encompass the non-sexual, heterosexual relationships we know today. Originally, Platonic love was love that was not vulgar, meaning it wasn’t centered on lust or fulfilling carnal needs. Instead, it was a love that inspired nobler pursuits, and brought one closer to the divine. It brought about the best in both people.
 

 

Clearly, today this is no longer completely the case. In our secular world, a platonic relationship has basically become code for “we’re just friends” (minus the benefits). In many cases, that person can end up being someone you’d go to the moon and back for, but just have no romantic interest in, or attraction to, in a sexual way.

However, modern notions of platonic companionship are not completely devoid of its original meaning. Just like the original idea, platonic love, like romantic love, can be deep and intense, and form some of life’s best, and longest friendships.

And like its ancient origins, the expectation of a platonic relationship today is relatively the same: that you would treat that person the way you treat a close friend of the same sex. It is a space where jealousy doesn’t rear its ugly head, and hidden agendas and unrequited love are left at the door. It is rooted in genuine honesty, and the ability to be yourself around that person without fear of censure, or abandonment.

 



Characteristics Of Platonic Love

A simple way to sum it up would be: be a good friend, period. However, this isn’t the answer people are looking for. Especially at a time when relationships, and power structures, are changing and are in dire need of boundaries. The following characteristics of platonic love will help you recognize it, manage your expectations of it, and keep that relationship happy, and healthy, and thriving for years to come.

Unfiltered Honesty

There is little need for deceit in a purely platonic relationship. Unlike in a romantic relationship, there is no fear that the person will leave you because they were never with you in the first place.

You aren’t an item, so the stakes aren’t as high. There isn’t the same caution, or need to check in with the other person emotionally. You can have a fight, not speak for a month, then patch things up, and things will pretty much go back to normal.

Platonic love doesn’t have to spare anyone’s feelings. There is no need to maintain a facade. In some sense, this brutal honesty is great. In fact, it is often a relief. You can get insights and perspectives you wouldn’t be able to get from your romantic partner.

 

Psychology Today: Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

Jen and Judy: A Thousand Years

Queer Friendships: Platonic and Romantic

Video Chat: Types of Attraction

Types of Best Friends

We're Not Gay: We're Besties

Characteristics of Platonic Love

Advantages of Being Just Good Friends

Jen and Judy: What is a Soulmate?

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Levels of Friendship

Jen and Judy: Hold Me While You Wait

Types of Female Friendships

Info: Aromantic Orientation

Video: When You and Your BFF are Practically Married

Lonely Dudes: Men Are Having a Friendship Crisis

Asexual Relationships and Romance

Lex and Jonathan: Best Friends' Journey in Queerness

Jen and Judy: Someone to Stay

Fine Line Between Romantic and Platonic Love

What Is a Platonic Relationship

Video Ramblings: Being Queer Platonic

What It Means to Be Aromantic

The Romance of Close Friendships

What is Friendship?

Video Advice: Signs You Have Found Your Soulmate


 

You can ask the unaskable questions, and not have to worry too much about the status of your relationship. You can talk openly about your dating troubles, and share your personal gaffes without worrying about how it makes you look. Platonic love can tell it like it is, and can take the lumps a romantic relationship cannot because it’s not as complicated when you’re not busy trying to keep up appearances and impress someone.

You aren’t putting them first, in the way you would if you were romantically involved. This doesn’t mean that you don’t consider other people’s feelings outside of your own or your romantic partner’s, but there is a different level of consideration we go to when we have a romantic end game in mind.

A romantic relationship is less like a rock, and more like a flower. It has to be carefully cultivated, and taken care of. It is fragile and liable (like a flower) to die without the proper attention. This is especially true once the first flush of love has faded, the butterflies are gone, and you’ve settled into a comfortable pattern together. This is when the real work begins. Platonic love is much less delicate and can weather these ups and downs.

 

Psychology Today: Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

Queer Friendships: Platonic and Romantic

Advantages of Being Just Good Friends

What is Friendship?

Video Advice: Signs You Have Found Your Soulmate

What Is a Platonic Relationship

Types of Female Friendships

Video Talk: Can Queer and Straight People Be Friends?

Jen and Judy: Someone to Stay

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Video: When You and Your BFF are Practically Married

Info: Aromantic Orientation

Lex and Jonathan: Best Friends' Journey in Queerness

Jen and Judy: Arms Around Me

Lonely Dudes: Men Are Having a Friendship Crisis

Types of Best Friends

 

Respecting Boundaries

While purely platonic relationships may have a no-holds barred aspect to them (because we don’t hold our friends to the same standards as we do our lovers), this doesn’t mean that there are no boundaries. Platonic relationships require (especially in the beginning) strong boundaries. These are not normally discussed or negotiated the way steps are in romantic relationships, but they hover in the background nonetheless. As time passes, you will know how far you can push those boundaries, and when you have to pull back.

For example, when you travel together – do you share a room? If you do, will that change if one or both of you gets involved with someone romantically? Platonic love requires a lot of trust. This is especially true when you (or your platonic bestie) are in a romantic relationship.

You have to take care to build trust to ensure that your partners understand the nature of your relationship, and that it doesn’t pose any potential threats. If your significant other has a platonic BFF, how would that play out for you? What would be considered OK? What wouldn’t? Ask yourself these questions, and listen to those feelings. Your gut is often the best indicator of what constitutes crossing the line, and what is acceptable.

 

No Expectations

Although friendship is a give and take partnership, when it comes to platonic love, you have to be careful not to expect or demand more of that person than you would of a regular friendship. Part of what differentiates platonic from romantic love is expectation. We expect a lot from our romantic partners because with every person you date, you’re potentially interviewing them for the role of life partner, or spouse. If someone wants to spend their life with you, they need to be of the highest caliber, and up to scratch.

We are less forgiving of mistakes in romantic relationships, and in a sense, that’s a good thing; we need to be picky when it comes to investing that kind of time in a lifelong companion. Platonic love doesn’t get held to the same high standard. You’re not sharing a home, children, pets, bank accounts. You’re close, (and potentially) lifelong friends.

You get to go home at the end of the night and not worry about what that person is doing, who they’re with, whether they paid the electric bill, ate the dinner you left in the fridge, or hung the laundry to dry. You may worry about them if they’ve been going through a difficult time, as naturally good friends do, but you’re not as invested in their day-to-day meanderings and external relationships. They simply don’t come first.

If you start to notice that they are coming first, or that you’re often disappointed by their behavior because they aren’t living up to your expectations, you may need to step back and ask yourself: are romantic feelings creeping in? Are boundaries being crossed? Why am I demanding this from this person? You may be expecting too much.

 

It’s Not Complicated

Platonic love will always be a part of the human condition – we award different values to every person we meet, and we love each one in a unique way. Recognizing and respecting those differences will bring us closer to Plato’s initial ideal of platonic love – one that raises us up and anchors us throughout life.

While love might be fraught with complexities, two-way platonic affection is the one place where you can definitively say: it’s not complicated. Platonic relationships provide an important piece to how we love, and are loved, through life. They can provide fulfilling, lifelong friendships, offer us refreshing perspectives, and a much needed outlet to let off steam, and let it all hang out.

These are the people who love us minus the baggage, the “rock” friends who inspire the best in us, and tell us what we need to hear when we’ve gone astray. Keep your relationship honest, respect each other’s boundaries, and let go of expectations. Remembering these key things will go a long way to a healthy, and happy relationship.

[Source: Sandra Alvarez, Conscious Rethink, May 2019]

 

Asexual Relationships and Romance

Levels of Friendship

Jen and Judy: Someone to Stay

What It Means to Be Aromantic

We're Not Gay: We're Besties

Lex and Jonathan: Best Friends' Journey in Queerness

Video Talk: Aesthetic Attraction

Reciprosexuality and Reciprioromanticism

Jen and Judy: What is a Soulmate?

Fine Line Between Romantic and Platonic Love

Info: Aromantic Orientation

Video: Different Types of Attraction

BFF Test: Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness

The Romance of Close Friendships

Advantages of Being Just Good Friends

Video Talk: Being Asexual and Biromantic

Kai and Mari: Queerplatonic Relationship

Video: Ace and Aro People in Relationships

Jen and Judy: A Thousand Years

Characteristics of Platonic Love

Types of Best Friends

Aromantic Poem

 

 

Friendship Defined
 

"I'll be there for you, When the rain starts to pour,
I'll be there for you, Like I've been there before,
I'll be there for you, 'Cause you're there for me too."
-Rembrandts, Friends Theme

 

Words connected with friends or friendship include... relationship, friendly relationship, close relationship, attachment, mutual attachment, alliance, association, close association, bond, tie, link, union, amity, camaraderie, friendliness, comradeship, companionship, fellowship, fellow feeling, closeness, affinity, rapport, understanding, harmony, unity, cordial relations.
 

BFF is a term you often hear people use to describe a "best friend forever."

 

Friendships are based on mutual liking and respect. It is state of mutual trust and support between two or more people.

Platonic describes a relationship that is purely spiritual and not physical. If a guy and a girl hang out all the time but aren't boyfriend and girlfriend, they'd describe their friendship as platonic. Platonic love and platonic friendships are marked by the absence of physical or sexual desire.

True friendship is when someone knows you better than yourself and takes a position in your best interests in a crisis. Friendship goes beyond just sharing time together, and it is long lasting. Friendship can mean different things to different people.

 

Friendship means lending your shoulder for someone to cry on. Friendship means being comfortable around each other in silence. Friendship means being able to tell each other anything and understanding without questions. Friendship means being honest with each other no matter what the cost.

A true friend has your back. Someone who is a true friend stands up for you. When others try to hurt you emotionally or physically, they do everything they can to make sure you stay safe. They don't care who is trying to harm you. They will defend you anytime, anywhere

The true meaning of friendship is when you consider the other person's well-being to be as valuable as your own. If you feel this way about a person, you are truly their friend. If you consider that another person's good is as important as your own, you will treat them the way friends are supposed to treat each other.

 

 

Types of Friendships
 

Friendship of Utility - Relationship between you and someone who is useful to you in some way
Friendship of Pleasure - Relationship between you and someone whose company you enjoy

Friendship of Interest - Relationship between you and someone who shares similar interests
Friendship of Respect - Relationship based on mutual respect and admiration

Types of Friends

Soul Mate

Loyal Best Friend

Fearless Adventurer

Social Butterfly
Brutally Honest Confidant
Wise Mentor/Counselor

Secret Keeper

Zen Friend/Calming Presence

Care Giver/Protector

Cheerleader/Supporter

Dependent/Clingy Friend

Mother Figure/Father Figure

Polar Opposite
Friendly Neighbor
Work Pal/Colleague

Friend With Benefits

 

Asexual Relationships and Romance

What It Means to Be Aromantic

We're Not Gay: We're Besties

Lex and Jonathan: Best Friends' Journey in Queerness

Video Talk: Aesthetic Attraction

Info: Aromantic Orientation

Reciprosexuality and Reciprioromanticism

Levels of Friendship

Jen and Judy: What is a Soulmate?

Video: Different Types of Attraction

BFF Test: Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness

Advantages of Being Just Good Friends

Video Talk: Being Asexual and Biromantic

Kai and Mari: Queerplatonic Relationship

Video: Ace and Aro People in Relationships

Jen and Judy: A Thousand Years

Aromantic Poem

 

 

Friends With Benefits
 

What is the definition of a Friends With Benefits (FWB) relationship?  Used as a euphemism, it is a friend with whom one has sex without a romantic relationship or commitment. In practice, people involved in a friends with benefits relationship clearly enjoy spending time together and hooking up, but their relationship isn't romantic and has no strings attached.

 

Two popular films in 2011 featured this kind of casual relationship: Friends With Benefits (Starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake) and No Strings Attached (Starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher).

According to Wikipedia, Friends with benefits refers to otherwise platonic friends who engage in a casual sexual relationship.

The Urban Dictionary describes it this way: Two friends who trust each other enough to engage in sexual activity without fear of hurting the other's feelings. It is the ideal scenario for folk who are not interested in a serious relationship, or who do not have time for one. Not a boyfriend or girlfriend. Neither party has to refrain from dating other people. It is a smart alternative to random hook-ups.

Example: John and I are friends with benefits. We just hang out, and have sex. It's easy, now that we've established the ground rules. If we stopped having sex, we'd still be friends.

Related terms for Friends With Benefits (FWB) include Fuck Buddies (FB), Friend Sex, Casual Sex, Bud Sex, and No Strings Attached (NSA). Generally FWB behavior is differentiated from One Night Stands, Hooking Up, and Booty Calls.

 



Healthy FWB Relationship

 

The sexual part of a new connection can be easy to fall into, of course. But what about the "friends" element? A friend is typically someone you trust and who trusts you—a relationship that develops through shared history, experiences, situations, circumstances, compatibility, or mutual interests. When you're looking for an FWB arrangement with someone from the start, you're forcing a new potential relationship into a box that may not fit, with a label that may misrepresent it. Since it takes time to cultivate a friendship, it logically follows that it should require time and dedication to find out if one can or should cultivate a friendship with benefits with someone.

Why? Because the benefit is sex, and any time sex is involved, it complicates matters, even when both people try to maintain communication and mutual respect. For an FWB arrangement to work, you have to know each other. You have to have a sense of who both of you are with and to each other. And you have to understand what feelings the emotional and sexual dynamic evokes in you. Maintaining an FWB in a healthy way means communicating about what each person expects and where each is as the relationship evolves. Whether it feels comfortable and safe, or problems arise, if there is room to work through challenges to maintain the friendship, even at the expense of the benefits, then you are in a successful connection. There is a mutual investment in each other's well-being, because you're friends first.

But regardless of how the relationship is labeled, when you’re sexually involved with someone you already care deeply for, emotions build, as does trust, intimacy, connection, and familiarity. And, no matter what one calls the arrangement, it can still get tricky. Check in to make sure that your friend is still your friend and that it's not getting more challenging to maintain your status, or is in any way becoming off-putting for you or for them.

 

[Source: Dr. Suzanne Lachmann, Psychology Today, Feb 2015]

 

Friends With Benefits: What Does It Really Mean?

Rules of Being Friends With Benefits

Maintaining an FWB Relationship

Video Explanation: Friends With Benefits

Dating Advice: Truth About Friends With Benefits

Guide to Being Friends With Benefits

FWB: How Can You Tell If It's Not Working?

 



Rules of Being Friends With Benefits

When you are involved in an FWB relationship, laying some ground rules can save you a lot of drama. Kicking off a friends-with-benefits relationship can be a lot of liberating fun. After all, it's a hookup with no strings attached between two people who genuinely like and trust each other. But, of course, that doesn't necessarily mean it's uncomplicated.

It's hard to prescribe a clear-cut set of rules for being friends with benefits. Every situation is different. But there is one thing these relationships all have in common: a need for some good old-fashioned communication. It should be an honest transaction between friends. It’s always a good idea to talk about what the expectations are, preferably in advance. There's a lot of frank talk before the fun stuff, but things can get a little knotty if both parties aren’t on the same page.

Be clear about what you’re looking for. Whenever you’re deciding the rules in a FWB relationship, it’s best to be as transparent as possible, open to compromises, and never be judgmental or make the conversation one-sided.  Always come from a place of honesty and care. Trying to keep things casual doesn’t mean that you have to be cool and just go along with what your partner wants. Speak up for yourself and advocate for what you want too.

 



Don’t expect it to turn into a romantic relationship. Be sure you’re okay with this being exactly what it is and nothing more. It is important to be aware of one’s own true intentions and feelings when entering into an arrangement like this.

Check in intermittently with how you’re feeling. Let your friend with benefits know that you want to make sure you both are on the same page. It's an important step in making sure you're not hurting each other's feelings down the line. If at some point you’re enjoying yourself too much and want to spend more time with your FWB, then it may be time to reevaluate the situation. If you’re getting too attached, then it’s time to have a discussion

And try to get a read on your partner's feelings too. "Hey, just want to check in with you about how things are going between us."
These types of conversations can really help prevent future meltdowns and will also strengthen the friendship, the trust, and the vulnerability with each other. Plus, it’ll keep one person from reading into the relationship more than the other. If emotions evolve for one or both of you, have the conversation again and reevaluate your FWB relationship. Since a FWB relationship can change quickly, you want to make sure you check in with each other as often as needed to avoid misunderstandings.

Talk about how you’re going to talk about it. Be sure to lay out your PR strategy, especially if you’re part of the same group of friends. Are you keeping it under wraps? Are you going to be open about it the next time you’re all out at the bar and the two of you duck off into the night together? This is not the thing to be caught off guard about.

Lay down some ground rules. Will either of you be sleeping over? Are booty calls allowed? Other partners? These things cross different boundaries for different FWB situations, so figure it out ahead of time, or don’t be afraid to gently nip it in the bud early on.

Know where to draw the line. Even if these are the best orgasms you’ve ever had, this isn’t the same as having a romantic partner. Communication is about the wheres and whens of hooking up. You are not building an intimate relationship, but rather just having fun and enjoying one another physically.

Acknowledge your own comfort zone. Just because you’re keeping it casual doesn’t mean you have to be complacent when it comes to red lines and consent. Know your limits. The more up front you are about them, the better. But don’t hesitate to speak up at any point.

 


Be sure you’re using protection. Depending on the expectations you’ve set, either of you might be hooking up with multiple people. And that’s great! Just be sure you’re being safe. If it’s a heterosexual relationship, it’s probably good to let your partner know what kind of birth control you’re using. For any type of ongoing nonexclusive hookup, make sure you discuss how often you each plan to get tested for STDs and STIs. So if you’re in more than one casual relationship, you definitely need to let your new FWB know, and, of course, use condoms every single time.

Talk about how it’s going to end. Assuming you’re not sexing off into the sunset together, it’s way better to talk about the end before it happens. What if they meet someone they want to be exclusive with? What if you do? And what happens if someone decides they’re just not into it anymore? It might be hard to visualize the end of something, but it'll potentially save a lot of heartache to acknowledge that it might not last forever early on. Let them know you plan to talk about it if you meet someone else, and that they should feel free to do the same. That way, you run less of a risk of losing the friendship when you stop having sex.


And, of course, make sure it's fun. For all the horrors of the current sociopolitical situation, one blessing is that we can have sex with whomever we want, whenever we want, should the circumstances permit, and that doesn’t have to be someone we’re in a long-term, committed relationship with. Sex can be a great way to destress, has more than a few amazing health and beauty benefits, and is a hell of a lot of fun. And the minute your friends-with-benefit situation stops being fun? Call it off. That, after all, is the true beauty of the casual arrangement.

 

[Source: By Krystin Arneson, Glamour Magazine, March 2019]
 

Friends With Benefits: What Does It Really Mean?

Rules of Being Friends With Benefits

Maintaining an FWB Relationship

Video Explanation: Friends With Benefits

Dating Advice: Truth About Friends With Benefits

Guide to Being Friends With Benefits

FWB: How Can You Tell If It's Not Working?

 

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