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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Column: FWB

You all have friends. And if you don’t, I’ll be your friend. You might have girl friends or boy friends. You might have tall friends, short friends, blonde friends, smelly friends, smart friends or best friends.

You might also have a friend that gives you special things. Things like sex anytime, anywhere. Isn’t that what friends are for? Well, that’s what a friend with benefits is for.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term FWB, UrbanDictionary.com defines it as “two friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally involved.”

Believe it or not, these exist. But can you really just be friends with someone you’re having sex with?

The answer, my friends, is complicated and deserves much more than the next few hundred words. But I’ll do my best to leave you satisfied – in bed.

I had some friends back in high school. Shocking, I know. Two of my closest ones were guys. They were also best friends. I thought they were cute so I hooked up with both of them. Don’t worry, not at the same time. We had a little love triangle, but none of us seemed to care. Actually, we thought it was hilarious. And to this day, we still laugh about it.

But there’s something I left out. You see, during our freshman years of college, I started liking one of them. But he was miles away and began dating someone else. I pretended to be happy for him. That only lasted for so long. I eventually got over it and we remained friends, minus the benefits.

It’s hard to be a FWB. You can’t develop feelings for the person. You can’t be jealous if he or she starts seeing other people. You can’t flirt with your FWB in public settings. You can’t act like their boyfriend or girlfriend.

For some reason, though, they happen. And they’re fun – until someone gets hurt.

Some of my friends shared their FWB experiences with me. One of them told me she secretly wonders if her FWB hooks up with other girls. They live on opposite ends of the state and do the nasty when they’re together.

Being miles away from the person may help alleviate some awkward public encounters. It sure doesn’t help with the jealousy issue, though.

Another friend I spoke to thinks having an FWB “stinks.” She ended up liking the guy and got shot down. Hopefully, this friend will be able to find someone that can give her the benefits without the heartache.

Now for a guy’s take on FWB. My friend, whom I shall name Captain Rad, has some rules he’d like to share.

1. Never have a sleep over – wham bam thank you, ma’am.

2. No dates.

3. No invitations to formal occasions.

For this guy, it’s all about the sex. No ifs, ands or buts about it. So ladies, if you’re down, I can try to get you his number. No promises.

It’s hard to say if a FWB relationship can really work. Perhaps it can on a short-term basis. After a while, though, things can get messy, and your FWB becomes just a friend or possibly your E(nemy)WB.

Or you could get lucky, fall madly in love with each other and live happily ever after. Fat chance.

So as you can see, the FWB conundrum is not black and white. There are shades of grey. But if you can make it work with your FWB, then power to you. I’d love to know your secret, and I’m sure the rest of the world would like to know, too.

ERICA BETNUN is not ready to end her relationship with Davis. If you’re in the same boat, e-mail her at elbetnun@ucdavis.edu.


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