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Friends with Benefits - The Difference Between Men and Women

Updated on September 19, 2008

I've always liked the term "Friends with Benefits". It's one of those phrases like "Mile High Club" or MILF that everyone can appreciate.

We've all at the very least had a friend we would have enjoyed taking benefits with. This is a situation that infiltrates work place relationships, long term buddies, casual acquaintances, students, neighbors, and every other combo of friendly forces.

There is nothing wrong with healthy sexual urges. What consenting adults choose to do is nobody's business. Casual sex between two (or more) willing friends can be everything from safe and normal, to the beginning of something more.

Or it can be the end of the friendship. And everything else.

It's been my experience that in general women handle casual sex much differently than men do. The women I've been with, and the women I have as friends, have all been fairly poor at maintaining friendships with sex-benefits or at having any kind of casual sexual relationships. It's my opinion that women - straight, bi, or gay - tend to fall in love with their lovers. Even the majority of the promiscuous women I've known were actually looking for something permanent.

It's also been my experience with the men I've dated and the men I have as friends, that they are much better at separating love and sex.

Both men and women fall into situations involving Friends with Benefits; gay, straight or bi. I'm just saying in my frame of reference that the men I know seem to have a more realistic grasp of what is actually happening then the women do.

One reason for this is that women assess people from the instant they meet them. They think: is this someone I want to date, want to spend my life with, want to never see again, or want to just be friends with.

When a woman puts you in the friend zone, thought has gone into it and it is generally a fairly final decision. This is why friends with benefits is a difficult thing with many women. Odds are if she's open to sleeping with you, it means she hasn't eliminated you from the potential life mate zone. It means you haven't been banished into the Friend Zone for ever. Yet. I heard somewhere a woman has decided within the first 5 minutes of knowing you, if she's ever going to sleep with you.

On the other side of things, men tend not to assess every person they meet immediately. Men tend to be more relaxed about this. They don't categorize too quickly. They wait and see how things develop.

Women tend to decide quickly exactly what your fate is in their relationship world. Men tend to wait and see. Assuming everyone is being honest, this sheds light on some stereo types like that old joke: What does a lesbian bring on a first date? A moving van.

Straight couples are the ones that seem to have the most trouble in the Friends with Benefits arena.

I'm sure there are exceptions. Hell, I'm one of them. But this is the basic outline.


If you like this HUB please click the “Thumbs-Up” below just before the comments.


All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.


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  • profile image


    9 years ago

    This is exactly right. As a male you're 100% accurate about how we go about this situation. I wanted to see how things would pan out regarding going into a relationship after a fwb relationship and assess whether or not I would actually want to be with this person or just be friends with her.

    Whereas she wanted to take it a step further. Not realizing (and differentiating between emotions and lust) that she was developing feelings through sexual gratification. I was still unsure whether or not I would want to be something more because I was still waiting to see how things developed.

    One thing I would definitely like to point out: In all of my friends, with a fwb / fb relationship who ended up being something more, the guy who decides that they actually want to be with their female fuck buddy ended up being dumped at least a year or so after the initial time of being exclusive. They were always dumped by the female counterpart.

    In conclusion I've realized that some women, considerably those who have fwb / fb relationships don't have a good handle on their emotions and cannot discern between platonic sex and the lust for sex. They end up feeling the need to have some kind of emotional attachment to the individual they are having sex with. Most likely a biological adaptation of exclusivity with their male counterpart. Seeing how the women break it off after about a year also says something. If it takes 9 months to grow and foster a baby then the initial attachment women make most be a biological condition which keeps the male close while they incubate their newborn. In other-words men are just the handy-man slave who are also drawn into attachment with their female counter-parts in order to protect the woman until the time of birth.

    After reading this article I've understood much more about the mentality of humans. Especially women. A variety of women have a wide assortment of emotions and for some reason, some women (well I guess younger women, I'm not sure how it is for older folks) don't know how to read into their emotions well. They are always in an emotional disbalance and chaos. Some women rely on instinct, others rely on logic. But in the end their imbalance makes their world that much harder to discern on their own. Men have an easier time distinguishing and figuring out where we lie on the emotional plane because often times we only exhibit emotions of violence and anger or complacence. If it weren't for this chemical make up women would be able to approach situations on a much more logical level. (Hence: woman-logic)

    Men also have a weird chemical make-up. The majority of us tend become clingy after a given period of time. And we don't view sex as a necessary means for attachment. Our emotional attachment comes from the desire to be selfish and claiming an object as ours and no one elses.(Although, freedom of thought doesn't allow this to be an attainable feat.) In a sexual relationship; as a woman becomes less attached, the male becomes more-so. I feel as though this is more a product of social conditioning, rather than a biological or ancestral trait. Men are less likely to be hit on by women but in society some women are always on a set pedestal where men are being showered by complements and the occasional chance of being hit on. (I don't mean the women who are supermodels, this applies to pretty much every woman.) Therefore, a woman choosing a mate is much easier therefore they have no need to feel attached to a counterpart whom they've discovered to be a good mating companion.

    This thought is a work in progress but it sheds light on aspects regarding sexual gratification over the long term plane.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    You're right about Women getting attached. I just got out of a friends with benefits relationship with this guy I met a month ago, the reason it ended was because I wanted to be more and he obviously disagreed and we just stopped talking because I was "jumping to things too quickly". It's very depressing to see him everyday especially when he looks at me and appears to have no feelings for me and I think about him constantly. Sometimes, it just sucks to be a girl. He took my virginity theres another reason for attachment. How will I get over him? What can I do?

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    This thread is a little old but I'm going to post anyway. So I'm at the end of my FWB fling and I have to honestly say, it was the first and last time I will ever toy with mind play from HELL lol! I've always been the relationship type of female and after having been in a long term relationship with this one guy that didn't end so well after 4 years of commitment. I got sick and once I was well he decided it was all too much for him and broke up with me. In the middle of that pain I made it a point to try something different. I thought if I kept myself in the friend zone and just had sex with no strings attached I'd keep myself from taking things too seriously or getting hurt. No expectations, no strings, no attachments and if things got too emotional I could just stop. Geesh was I ever wrong. I met this guy, who was an awesome candidate. Extremely fun, attractive, outgoing, all about being a perfect distraction to my heartache. We ended up making an agreement we'd just go with the flow, no expectations and no plans on having a commitment, after a while things got really strange. He was the one stressing no commitment, yet he was the one saying "I love you" and "You’re my girl" and calling me, taking me out, more than a normal FWB friendship would be. He started saying things that seemed like maybe he wanted something more. My only mistake was falling for it. I have an eight year old and so does he, so when he started suggesting we do things together but without any affection in front of the kids and the understanding that we were just friends so not to confuse them, I thought he was starting to move forward. He always stressed like I said, you know I love you, but I don't want a commitment and I always just was like okay, but eventually as time progressed and we started doing family functions together and started spending almost every night together I started to obviously grow an attachment and feelings for him. It seemed to be mutual. The final straw was I ended up with a situation that wasn't easy for either of us to handle. After the "situation" handled itself (could be a sign lol) things got really weird with us. His texts and plans and phone calls stopped and all of the sudden I was not a top priority. He lost all interest in me and recently gave me a speech about how the attraction just isn't there anymore and how the "benefits" had to end sometime. Now we are just "friends" and have been since I've miscarried. It's been almost 2 months since we have done anything at all, but he keeps asking me to spend the night from time to time. We don't have sex, we really just hang out, and I have a great time and enjoy his company, but really how long with that last? Now I just see the friendship kind of fading away as well, which is hard for me because I was still in the FWB zone when he put me in the friend zone and moved on. I'm becoming a 2nd class friend which is really hard to accept because I thought this guy had potential and I would have never allowed myself to grow feelings for him if I wouldn't have followed what seemed like a genuine lead in the first place. So I should move on, I really should just stop altogether and say I can't do this, problem is he makes it hard, because he really isn't a complete douche bag. He's never mean, he's always there if I do need someone to vent to. He's helped me out of a sticky situation, I mean the dudes a genuinely cool guy to be around. My problem is, I can't help but feel rejection every time we do catch a game or have a beer, because I'm still very attracted to him, and he's not to me anymore. So I kind of feel like old chewing gum. Like you keep chewing it because you’re bored and it keeps you occupied, eventually you’re going to spit it out. It's not a matter of if; it's more a matter of when. And to be honest, that was a little harder to deal with than getting over the heartache of the guy that started all this in the first place, my ex. See with my ex, he was clearly a douche, in the end he made it clear, it was very hard but in the end I felt like I deserve better. With this one, I'm so confused, because I got rejected before I even got started and I'm left wondering "geese what the hell’s wrong with me?”LoL So in conclusion of this long ass rant, I guess what I'm trying to say is no matter how hard you try in the end FWB's most likely always end up with someone getting hurt

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I've been in a FWB relationship for 5 yrs. We get together atleast once a week. If not, I start freaking out on the inside. 5 yrs.! Come on!! Is he scared of commitment or what? I love him, he is my friend, reguardless. I wonder when is he just going to disappear for good. Yes, it is a complicated situation. I don't want a 24/7 relationship, but I do want more security. Just knowing that he's there, that he's not going anywhere. Because there are no commitments I'm scared that if he decides that he's done with this, he'll just leave without atleast calling to say, Hey, it's been fun. Gives a whole new meaning to the status "It's complicated"

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I dated a guy for a couple of months and he

    ended up leaving me bc I wouldn't go all the way with him. I don't know I guess I just saw him as a friend. He never really officially broke up with me, he just stopped calling. It took me a while to figure it out. Anyways I'm single and he has a gf of 3 yrs. He still flirts with me and texts me to come over to his place. I'm an idiot so I always say yes. We make out, touch,finger and have oral sex. But what I don't get is that he won't go all the way and have sex with me. I'm always confused and upset bc of this. I know for sure he wants to bc he initiates the whole ordeal but just never does. We get along fine and have decent conversations. I often catch him staring at me at work and making small talk. So I dunno whether or not we are friends with benefits.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I have an FWB, and its a very complicated situation. Not somethinbg that I ever planned to do it just happened after being in a relationship for 14 years, and he married and recently divorced, we cared for each other planned in a relationship and realized that neither of us was ready,but realized we were very sexually compatible and decided after a lot of thought and talking to continue as FWB..he recently suggested that it be long term, as in over 10 years, which indicates to me that he is stepping outside the boundry of FWB, because FWB don't make plans together they just roll with it.

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    Do you all think,Any Good Girl will get easily agree for this.

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    Yes 'forever' is a relationship. My FWB and I argued about it and she described it as a relationship when we fought. I am a man and I wanted to be more serious with her - she didn't. If a FWB last many years like mine then you are obviously very sexually compatible and in each others comfort zone. I had not much desire to go out and find other girlfriends (apart from two she made me leave because she was jealous - I did not feel it for them like the FWB) and now I am paying the price for it... that is the many wasted years that I can't get back, now the hurt of her having a proper relationship with someone else, and having to go out and date again which I am not enjoying. And losing the close friendship with her:(

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago from NY


    Thanks for the comment. I hope you do post some stories of your own, please feel free to link them here. It's always great to get more perspectives especially those based in experience. :)

  • SummerSteward profile image


    11 years ago from Duluth MN

    I thought Rays comment was ironic

    "It's the women that can only make these arrangements work. If she has it clear she only wants sex and nothing more, most if not all men will stay forever."

    Doesn't staying "forever" constitute a relationship? Interesting hub Veronica.. makes me wanna post a few stories of my own. :)

  • Mortgagestar1 profile image


    11 years ago from Weirton,West Virginia

    Men are biologically driven via testostorone and their brains are wired to think of sex much more often than women. The primal predisposition of the harem from the survival of the species is still genetically programmed,. Men simply do not view polygamy as emotional infedelity.

    We simply view as sex as an inherited physiological need and men are more motivated by images where women are more cognitively motivated by romances and or the allure of money & or power. This too is primal for women as a male will be a protector and giver.

    The modern age of electronic communication and selective match ups and our disposable societal lifestyle is quite different from a generation ago. The MILF and Cougar movement is in full swing from public advertisements to media idols.

    To each their own & a great topic and intriquing HUB!

  • profile image

    11 years ago

    I can't support the idea of FWB relationship. I just saw that movie "500 Days of Summer" and all I could make of the FWB relationship(or whatever you want to call it--apparently it's not fashionable to try to put labels on relationships now) was that the Summer character was essentially being excused for being emotionally unavailable and selfish by laying out "rules" beforehand. And of course Tom was hurt. Besides that, the idea of sex without romantic feelings seems so empty and sad to me as the two go hand in hand so well--the best sex you'll ever have will be with someone you deeply love.

    Humans have always been monogamous. Whether this is a biological pattern or a socially created one, to think that we can so easily throw our traditional mating patterns aside without some confusion during the process is a mistaken notion.

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    I really liked the part in which you talked about women having first impression 'assessments' and the fact that she is open to sleeping with a man means that he isn't quite in the friend zone yet. Very insightful and rarely pointed out as to why women are more susceptible to getting attached.

  • profile image


    12 years ago

    I am currently in a friends with benefits thing where i have developed very strong feelings for my friend. I know that he doesn't feel the same way so now I'm in the terrible position of not wanting to lose him as a friend but needing to stop the benefits part and get over him without him knowing how I feel or he will run for the trees!

    Basically a very bad idea to begin with and one I will never go into again - its not worth it!

  • profile image


    12 years ago

    I agree with much of what you say. "Friends with Benefits" is a term that denotes friendship first and sex as a convenience or secondary element to why you are friends in the first place. It takes maturity on both sides for this type of arrangement to work and an upfront understanding that it is what it is and nothing more than that. My experiences with (both personal and on the outside looking in) is that someone changes the rules of the arrangement and doesn't tell the other. This is where feelings get hurt and friendships end in disaster. Communication is vital to this type of relationship even more so than a traditional one. After all, are we expected to be f**k friends forever, and if so, what are we supposed to call that?

  • profile image


    12 years ago

    No matter whether I have a bf or a friend with benefits, I eventually end up dreaming of greener grass in another situation. I'm happy but not entirely fulfilled. People change and their desires and expectations wax and wane. Wanting someone for sex is selfish. Do selfish relationships result in happiness and stability - no. Fun and excitement - yes. Then you pay with pain.

  • profile image


    12 years ago

    I totally disagree with this. I have found that I have tried to have a fun time with a guy where there was no strings attached and we where both on the agreement that this would not turn into a relationship. And both times I did this it was the guy that bugged out and was afraid it would lead to something more. I think guys have this idea that just because a women is sleeping with you or having sexual relations that she will fall for you but that is not always the case.

  • profile image


    12 years ago

    I think you are very right on most points. remember that even a friends with benefits arrangement is just that. its dynamic, and flexible yet so predictable. that gets old. may as well just operate on the basis of attraction, whatever happens happens. if he/she is your friend, leave sex out of it. that way, you will for sure have friendship when all is said and done.

  • profile image


    13 years ago

    I don't agree with you completely, but love to read your hub ;)

  • profile image


    13 years ago

    So, guys need good first impression. Nice analogy.

  • profile image


    13 years ago

    It's the women that can only make these arrangements work. If she has it clear she only wants sex and nothing more, most if not all men will stay forever.

  • manoharv2001 profile image


    13 years ago from Bangalore - 560097, Karnataka, India

    i had bad experiences

  • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

    Ashok Rajagopalan 

    13 years ago from Chennai

    I have always hated that term, but I like your hub! :)

  • vaidy19 profile image


    13 years ago from Chennai, India

    Very insightful. You have handled a large complicated theme with a great deal of care and detachment. And, your keen sense of observation gives one something to think about even if one does not straightaway agree with you.

  • profile image


    14 years ago

    well said!


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