Josh Sway
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/ How Not To Do Friends With Benefits

Sometimes, revealing your intentions hurts both sides.


You met a girl a few weeks ago and you’ve gone out a couple times.  She’s cute, and cool, and you have great sexual chemistry.  But you already know you’re not looking for a serious relationship.  Maybe you just started a new job, or you’re about to go back to college; the reason doesn’t mater, you just know you don’t want to exclusively date anyone right now.

But you get the sense this girl is pretty into you.  She hasn’t explicitly brought up a relationship, but you think she’s hinting at it, and you’re not sure what to do.  You’d like to keep seeing her as a "Friend With Benefits," and you don’t want to lead her on otherwise, but how exactly should you bring it up?

The short answer is: you don’t.  And this article is dedicated to the long answer.

The Women Who Want a Relationship

First things first.  In an earlier version of article, I was accused — by other guys, no less — of advocating that guys should "use women for sex."  This is nonsense for several reasons.  Yes, some women will only sleep with someone if they feel it can lead towards a long term relationship.  But these women usually make it very clear early on what their intentions are.  If they say, "I’m looking for something serious," you shouldn’t say, "I am too," sleep with them, and then run away the next day saying "NOT!"  You might as well twirl your evil cartoon mustache while you’re at it.

However, a lot of women are not looking for an exclusive relationship immediately.  In fact, I’d estimate that most women aren’t.  And these are the women, the ones who would otherwise be fine having sex in a casual dating or non-exclusive relationship, are the ones that will shut down on you if you’re explicit about wanting a "Friends With Benefits" situation.

What You Say, What She Hears

We wrote about how men volunteer way too much negative information in the past, and even gave the FWB situation as an example.

If you ever have preemptively told a girl you’re not interested in an exclusive relationship, did you say any of these things?

  • "You’re attractive enough for casual sex, but you are too fat for me to seriously consider dating."
  • "You’re not nearly as attractive as my last girlfriend, so you’re not good enough to be my current one."
  • "You’re great, but I’m just too self-involved right now to care about another human being."

Probably not.  So here’s some news for you: when you preemptively tell her you aren’t interested in a relationship, what she hears is some variation of the previous examples.  She hears a rejection.  This will hurt her, even if she’s not looking for anything serious herself!

Nobody likes to hear they aren’t good enough for something.  They especially don’t like to hear they they’re not good at something when they weren’t even soliciting feedback to begin with.  It’s kind of like: "Wow, am I so inadequate that you needed to tell me this before I even brought it up?  And I wasn’t even planning on bringing it up!"

It isn’t rocket science: most women need an emotional component involved to have truly desire and enjoy sex.  When you preemptively a woman they fall short of your criteria for a relationship, even if she didn’t want one anyway, it’s going to be really hard for her to pretend those emotional feelings are there.  Why would she invest those emotions in someone who has made it clear they aren’t investing those emotions into her?

The Worst Time to Talk About This is Before Sex

Okay, so she’s into you and you’re not quite into her the same way.  But you do care enough about her that you don’t want to have sex with her if she’s going to regret it later.

But here’s the thing: confirming this with her right before you have sex is the worst time to have this conversation. If you really feel the need to preemptively say, "hey, just so you know, I’m not looking for anything serious," then don’t do it right before sexual intercourse.

This is because she’s going to take it one of two ways.

1. I am only interested in you because your vagina is a handy receptacle for my penis.

Look, if you think she’s going to sleep with you and feel bad about it afterwards when she realizes you don’t want to be exclusive, this isn’t the way to spare her feelings.  The way to do that is to not sleep with her.  Sometimes you can’t have it both ways.  But you’re not doing her a favor by "being clear up front" when you’re already naked and about to have sex.

OR…

2. Since I’m way out of your league, it’s only to safe that to assume I’ll just want a FWB while you want a serious commitment, so I need to make sure you don’t fling yourself off a bridge when you realize this.

In other words…

If She’s Not Hurt, Then She’ll Be Offended

These are the legitimate potential FWB situations that you’re fucking up by telling her.  The ones where the girl is equally uninterested in a committed relationship, but where you took it upon yourself to assume otherwise.

That’s the thing: if she doesn’t want an exclusive relationship either, she’s not going to say, "that’s cool, me too."  She’ll wonder why you had to blatantly notify her of this information.  She’ll think things like:

  • "Why does this guy think I even want an exclusive relationship?  Does he think he’s some sort of gift to women or something?"
  • "Well, I’m not necessarily looking for a relationship either, but how is he sure so soon?  Does he really think I’m that flawed compared to him, and it took only a couple hours of hanging out to determine that?"

These not the thoughts you want a girl in a girl’s head if you want to have a non-exclusive sexual relationship with her.  If she doesn’t take it as some sort of rejection, then she’ll think you’re being presumptuous and egotistical.

How Are you So Sure, Anyway?

The girl isn’t the only one that would be wondering how you’re so sure so soon,  I’m wondering that as well.

If this is a girl you recently met, how well could you possibly know her?  A lot of guys think, "I don’t want a relationship, although I’d be open to it with a really exceptional girl."  Well, do you know she’s exceptional?  When it comes to her personality and values, does she fit your ideals?  Probably not, but you never know.  What started as a casual sexual relationship could very easily involve into a strong monogamous relationship.

Again, this isn’t likely, but why shut the door on that right away?  Just like you shouldn’t ask a girl to be your girlfriend after you’ve known her for a week, you shouldn’t propose an explicit FWB arrangement after a week either.  What’s the rush to label things?  You’re dating, you’re getting to know each other, and you’re enjoying each other physically and sexually in the process.  What’s wrong with that?

Don’t deprive yourself of the option to date someone seriously because you’re convinced after a few dates, that the only thing they can offer you is sex.

Lying is For Liars

You will meet women that will say these very deliberate things to you:

  • "I’m saving my virginity for marriage."
  • "I only have sex with a man I’m in an exclusive relationship with."
  • "I can’t handle having sex without feeling emotionally attached."

If they say these things, I am not advocating lying or ommitting the truth.  Doing so in these situations is what gets you called a "player" or "womanizer" or "user."  If they would only consent to sex under certain conditions, and you explicitly misrepresented those positions to get laid, and you’re basically a shithead.

So if you meet a woman who says those things, the correct response is to tell them you’re attracted to them but not looking for anything serious.  At that point they can accept the terms you’re proposing — non-exclusive sex with no guarantee of anything more — or you can both go on your own ways and find other people with whom you’re more sexually compatible.

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