Friends with benefits for whom?

An astute parent will already be familiar with the term “friend with benefits.” Being friends with benefits means sharing either a short- or long-term “agreement” to be physically intimate but to withhold any deeper social or emotional connection or commitment. The tamest version would be a “cuddle buddy”: that person you go to when you’re in the mood for affection, but you don’t want to have to go on a date with them later that weekend. You smile, you spoon, everyone goes home happy.

A friend with benefits can also be someone (a warm body) used for physical pleasure or sexual release – by mutual agreement, mind you – but with the additional agreement that, “We’re just friends. We don’t go on dates, we’re not exclusive. We are friends who are there to do favors for each other, the way friends do, but I wouldn’t tell you any more about my hopes and dreams than I would the guy I study with in homeroom.”

Sound weird? Or does it does it sound ideal? Sexual release is pleasant, and if we can just agree on its terms, why not both enjoy it? You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.

If you can’t spot the major pitfalls yourself, let me just point out that “in a study of 6,500 sexually active adolescents, sexually active teenage girls were more than three times more likely to be depressed, and nearly three times as likely to have had a suicide attempt, than girls who were not sexually active.”*