Most of us have had a FWB (Friend With Benefits): a girl, who is also a friend, that you sleep with from time to time. No strings. No shopping for curtains on the weekends. No uncomfortable holiday dinners at her parents’ house. Just a friendship, with the occasional bumping of the uglies. No mess and no stress, right? Not according to a new study reported by the New York Times.
The research, published in the current issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior (I have back issues if anyone needs), was conducted at Michigan State University, where they surveyed 125 male and female students. They found 60 percent had at least one FWB.
The Times article says: “One-tenth of these relationships went on to become full-scale romances, the study found. About a third stopped the sex and remained friends, and one in four eventually broke it off — the sex and the friendship. The rest continued as friends-with-benefits relationships.” Removing all the “stat speak” from that paragraph, it boils down to 10% evolved into a traditional relationship, about 33% stopped the sex but continued as friends, 25% ended both the sex and the friendship, and 32% continued as FWB.
The study concluded, according to Dr. Timothy Levine, one of the study’s authors, “that people got into these relationships because they didn’t want commitment. It was perceived as a safe relationship, at least at first. But also that there was this growing fear that the one person would become more attracted than the other.” Leading to the same stresses and problems seen in traditional relationships. (But on the upside, still no curtain shopping.)