Okay, so you have it bad for your friend. Social norms and so-called dating “rules” would say keep it under wraps. But I’m going to play devil’s advocate and tell you it’s totally possible to get frisky with your friends without a crash-and-burn scenario. Also, there’s nothing wrong with casual sex.
So, You Want to Try FWB (Friends With Benefits)?
Whether you engage in a hot one-night stand or ongoing FWB dynamic, here’s how to fuck your friends – without making it weird.
Think It Through…
…but don’t overthink it. There’s nothing wrong with falling for a friend. But it’s a good idea to assess whether you and your friend vibe before you put yourself in a vulnerable position. If you click and have chemistry, it’s probably OK to dip your toe into the potential mating pool.
That said, you don’t have to play out every possible “what if” situation before you do. If you give the thought of getting down too much brain space, it will most definitely suck the fun out of sex. An easy way to approach things is to imagine yourself in your friend's shoes and gauge how your words and actions will feel.
Communicate with Care
Okay, so you’ve decided you want to sleep with a friend. Pay close attention, because how you proceed is important. Sure, sometimes, it just happens. You can always deal with the aftermath later. Still, it’s preferable to have a conversation before things get hot and heavy. If you find yourself in a situation where the conversation wanders to a place it feels unforced to speak up, by all means, go for it.
Whatever you do, do not spring a full disclosure on your friend when they least expect it. Nobody likes to be blindsided. This means, do it in private and take a deep breath before you say or hit send on anything. First and foremost, you are friends. And presumably, you care about this person. So be clear and intentional with your words. Some awkwardness is to be expected, but if you speak from the heart, it shouldn’t go sideways.
Don’t Send Inappropriate Stuff Without Consent
It’s 2021 and this should go without saying, but don’t send NSFW stuff without consent. I recently had two friends send unsolicited sexual content that made me very uncomfortable.
The first offender, a friend of 20+ years, felt it was OK to send a video of him jerking off. When I called out the consent violation, he responded, “I thought we were friends.” Oh, sure. Who doesn’t send their close friends unsolicited material of them masturbating?
A few weeks later, I woke up to a message from another friend: “Good morning dear. Your pic gave me some horny inspiration. Just masturbated and it felt so good hun. Thank you for being you.”
Send stuff like this and you’ve made things irrevocably weird and rendered yourself forever unfuckable. Full stop.
Consent and Safer-Sex Discussions Still Apply
As with any sexual encounter, it’s important to have consent and safer-sex discussions before you swap spit and bodily fluids. You may know your friend super-duper well, but that doesn’t mean you know how they operate between the sheets.
Get the conversation about STI status and testing, safer-sex protocols, pregnancy-prevention options (if applicable), and consent and boundaries out of the way so you can enjoy sex with peace of mind.
It’s OK to Change Your Mind
Friendly reminder: consent can be revoked or renegotiated at any time. A lot of people don’t understand that you can be in the middle of an act with somebody – even a friend – and can put a full-stop on it, at any time. Even if you’ve said, “Yes, I want to do this,” it’s OK to change your mind.
I’ve had a few instances where sex with a friend seemed like a good idea in my head but didn’t translate as I imagined to bed. In my younger years, I would’ve fucked them to spare their feelings. But guess what? It almost always resulted in after-the-fact weirdness. If things don’t feel right, it’s better to cut and run than ruin a friendship over not-so-great sex.
Be Super Clear with Expectations
If you want to fuck a friend without a big commitment, it’s important to be clear about boundaries and expectations. Like, if you want a no-strings-attached (NSA) dynamic, spell that out.
Several months ago, I went on a date with a casual acquaintance. He’s a chef and offered to make me dinner. The idea of eating something made by, IDK, anyone but me was enticing, so I invited him over. The possibility of fucking wasn’t top of mind, but it certainly wasn’t off the table. We talked at length about my desires, boundaries, and dating style. Basically, I need a lot of space. I should’ve known when he stayed for several hours that things were getting weird.
Here’s the thing: If you’ve been at my place for seven hours and I’m into you, we’re probably going to fuck. After a wonky make-out session, I finally asked him to leave. It didn’t stop him from immediately texting me that he wanted to see me the following night. Hello, dealbreaker. Aside from some polite chitchat, we haven’t spoken since.
You Don’t Owe Anyone "Closure"
Okay, so maybe you went on a date with or fucked a friend and it wasn’t all that. It happens.
This may be an unpopular take, but you don’t owe anyone, friend or not, closure after a first date or an isolated fuck. Here’s the ugly truth – most people seek closure to fill a selfish void.
Don’t be a dick. But if the sexual stars don’t align, it’s not your job to deliver a post-coitus recap package wrapped in a pretty bow. It’s OK to say, thanks, no thanks, and move right along.
The FWB Bottom Line
Go ahead. Shoot your shot.If you’ve made it this far and are still hot and bothered, go ahead and shoot your shot. You can do it – I believe in you. Unless you and your friend are on two entirely different pages, you don’t have much to lose. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, right?
Besides, I’ve had many friendships survive such confessionals. It’s NBD unless you make it a big deal. When they’re done with thought and care, they can be flattering, even if lust isn’t reciprocated. But when it is? OHMYGOD, the sex can be fireworks. So, go ahead, and step outside the script of what sex and dating are supposed to look like, and explore what feels good to you. And if that includes fucking your friends, DO IT. Just don’t make it weird.
Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. Over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Thrillist.
She adopted a pseudonym and was AVN’s (Adult Video Network) first female porn reviewer – while penning children’s books at the same time. More recently, she is the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle with her rescue dog, Mimi. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says