Friends With Benefits…And the Costs Involved

I love the TV sitcom “The Golden Girls.” The show features the lives and friendship between four older ladies living together. In one episode, one of the ladies, Blanche, is disappointed because one of her boyfriends cancels their date at the last minute. So she calls one of her male friends Mel Buschman. He is the one she occasionally hangs out with when one of her dates falls through. The two friends decide to start dating. Things are good, until they have a disagreement after one of their dates. They have that ‘talk’ about their relationship. In short, they agree that they are better off being friends as before. Mel then invites her over to his place for the night to watch their favorite movie and a night of passion. Before she leaves to meet Mel, Blanche tells her friends she realizes that a relationship is more than just cheap thrills and casual sex, and that she’s glad this is not a relationship!

Like Blanche, many of us have a friend like Mel Buschman. We call them ‘friends with benefits.” It’s that special male or female friend we have as ‘backup’ when one of our dates cancels at the last minute, we are in a relationship that’s ok but not meeting all of our needs, or we haven’t had ‘any’ in a while and and looking for some (in the words of Marvin Gaye) some ‘sexual healing.’ Or you may be the friend providing the benefits.   According to MadameNoire, if you’re getting those sporadic texts late at night asking to come over for occasional sex, or you’re always the person consoling the other over their relationship drama, then you are a friend with benefits. The goal is occasional sex with out demand for a relationship. But…things can get complicated and you do not always get what you signed up for.

First, emotions eventually start developing. Nobody expects that, but because we are humans with real feelings, it happens! Sexual intercourse produces a “connection,” a soul tie, whether we want to or not. During sex, both parties release a hormone called oxytocin. When this hormone is released by females, oxytocin brings produces a bonding effect, a feeling of connection with the man. This is where the feelings come in. The friend giving the benefits wants to change the “terms of agreement.” He or she has developed deeper feelings for you and now wants more than just sex. Unfortunately, you may not feel the same way toward him or her. Most men are able to engage in the sex act without their emotions. However, there are a few instances where he may begin to develop feelings for her, or ‘get sprung’ as some may say. It’s totally different for a female because when she includes her emotions, she is pretty much hooked. Women are emotional beings, in my opinion. From personal experience, it’s enough to deal with disappointment from meeting a guy you like, go out with him a few times and then suddenly not hear from him again. But I imagine it can be much harder dealing with him not calling after having sex with him. You have to deal with the pain that comes from feeling used, knowing that he only wanted sex. Although men and women deal with this, I believe it’s much harder for women and it takes time to move past that ordeal. Any drama or bitterness with a friend with benefits can ultimately end the friendship.

Another drawback to having a friend with benefits is feelings of jealousy. Even though you are not committed to each other, you may develop feelings of jealousy when you see the other person with another one of his or hers friends with benefits. This poses another question to consider. Can you be sure that your friend with benefits is honest about who he or she is sexually involved with? If he or she has other sexual partners you put yourself at risk for a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Experts in sexually transmitted diseases say they’ve become increasingly concerned about the trend toward having what they call “sexual involvement in nonromantic contexts” — the technical term for hookups or “friends with benefits” — because they’re especially likely to spread sexually transmitted diseases. That’s something to really think about!

Friends with benefits are not like the health benefits you enjoy through your employer. With health benefits you get what you pay for (although that may be up for political debate.) If you are involved with a friend with benefits, you are probably giving more than what you really want in return. The costs are more than expensive—it can cost your friendship, a relationship, or even your life. The love benefits you truly want comes only through a relationship where the love of you life is committed wholeheartedly to you and your well being. Those benefits are long term and far more rewarding!


Kristi Goines is a freelance writer and blogger in Atlanta, Georgia. She worked at CNN as a videojournalist and production assistant, and is a Southern belle from Louisiana who loves seafood. You can follow Kristi Goines on Facebook (, and twitter (@mskdmples76).

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