Looking for love? It's unlikely that you will find it with a friend with whom you have commitment-free sex, says a new study. The study, which appears in the current issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that 60 percent of 125 Michigan State University students surveyed had engaged in sexual activity with a friend. Only one-tenth of those individuals went on to have a committed romantic relationship with their partner. Professor Tim Levine and his former graduate student Melissa Bisson found that 30 percent of students remained friends with benefits, while 36 percent stayed friends but eventually stopped having sex. “So at least for the majority of the people, that (sex) actually didn’t hurt the friendship,” says Levine. But not everyone comes out of a FWB situation unscathed. Toni Coleman, a licensed psychotherapist and founder of Consum-mate.com, believes that a FWB relationship is full of potential pitfalls. “I think the biggest risk [for FWB's] is getting their heart broken and ending up feeling very bitter and angry and resentful toward the other person, even though the other person really took them at face value that this is all that they wanted,” says Coleman. “Just the whole concept of friends with benefits is a real tricky idea, because if he really wants what you want or if she really wants what you want, why aren’t you dating?” Many people share the belief that FWB relationships are too risky, and opt to protect the friendship by avoiding sex with friends. Keith Alberstadt, who wasn’t involved in the study, is a stand-up comic based in New York. He’s on the road a lot and has several female friends. Yet he’s always avoided a FWB relationship. “I've had a few opportunities to get into a friends with benefits relationship with a handful of girls, but in all cases decided against it because I anticipated it possibly hurting our friendship,” Alberstadt said. Women who want romance and hope it will follow after the sex “could be killing any chance of a romantic relationship,” says Coleman. That’s because sex without love might be perceived poorly by your friend, even though he’s doing it, too. While you’re hoping the sex brings the two of you closer and leads to love, your FWB “might not be able to move past the fact that you were friends with benefits first,” she says. Even if you don’t want romance with your FWB, that relationship could sidetrack you from finding love with someone else, warns Coleman. “This is a friend with benefits; there is some kind of an emotional connection. You’re getting close to this person probably on a number of different levels, and so you’re not really open to dating or starting another relationship.” Overall, a friends with benefits relationship is not a good idea, says Coleman. “I think if I were to offer percentages, I would say most of the time it’s probably not a good idea, the reason being that it is sex without love, which can cause a lot of pain to at least one of the people in the relationship,” she said.
|Related article: How to turn your friend with benefits into something more.|