Friends with benefits possible?

Originally Published: April 14, 2006 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: July 15, 2009
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Is it possible to be friends with benefits with a guy that I dated before and I thought I had very true feelings for? He says that he just wants to be friends, but we can still have sex if I want to. I want him to see me as more than a piece of ass! But, I am a very sexual person and I don't sleep around with random people. So, it seems like it might be a good idea, but I don't want to feel anything anymore if I continue to sleep with him. Do you think it's possible that he may eventually want me back?

Dear Reader,

A defining feature of a "friends with benefits" relationship is being able to have sexual encounters with someone without feeling emotionally or romantically attached, the way you would with a more committed partner.  It can be difficult to have a purely sexual relationship with someone you still have strong feelings for or wish to get back together with. Sex has been known to stir up feelings and emotions, especially when the feelings for your sexual partner are already there.

Taking time to look at both sides of this complex situation is a great idea. Before you make a decision, consider what you want from your relationship with this guy. Do you want a strictly sexual relationship with him? Do you want to eventually get back together with him and have a more intimate relationship? If you decide to pursue the "friends with benefits" route, what are your expectations? (That is, will you date/kiss/sleep with other people? Will he date/kiss/sleep with other people?) How will your relationship be impacted if your expectations are not met?  

Having sex with your ex doesn't necessarily mean he will eventually want you back. He may — or he may not. On the flip side, he may want to get back together even if you don't have sex with him. There is no guarantee that a specific action will lead to your desired outcome. 

You also mention that you are a very sexual person, which you've noted as a reason to explore the friends with benefits idea.  Have you thought about masturbation as an alternative? Perhaps you might consider purchasing a sex toy (if you don't have one already). Masturbation is a healthy and effective means to satisfy your sex drive, while at the same time a great way to get to know your body better — and perhaps learn a few tips to pass on to a future partner. Another alternative is to date someone other than your ex — by getting to know someone new you may be able to develop a sexual and/or emotional bond with a person who gives you what you are looking for, whether that is intimacy, pleasure, fun, or other experiences.

If you do choose to be friends with benefits, it's important to remember that even though your ex is a familiar partner, you safer sex is still an important issue, especially since you may not be his only sexual partner (or vice versa). Condoms help protect against pregnancy and most STIs.

Whatever you decide, with thoughtful consideration you can have your sexual needs met while protecting yourself both emotionally and physically. Take care,