While “friends with benefits” might carry the risk of suffering more emotional uncertainty than straight up monogamy, at least the sex is safer. A new study has found that F-buddies are more likely to use condoms during oral and penetrative sex, compared to couples in traditional relationships.
“When you are in a “friend-with-benefits” partnership, you will feel the need to take more precautions,” says sex therapist Susie Tuckwell.
Run by Harvard University, the findings are based on an online survey completed by 376 people, mostly in their mid–20s. Half of respondents had “friends-with-benefits” arrangements and half said they were in traditional romantic relationships. They found F-buddy arrangements were common with about half of college-aged students stating they had experience with this type of relationship.
But just because they wear condoms more frequently, doesn’t make them poster children for safe sex. The study found that people in a “friends-with-benefits” relationship had more sexual partners, were less like to be monogamous and didn’t always wear condoms. Someone should remind them the 80/20 rule (80 percent good, 20 percent bad) doesn’t apply to sexual liaisons.
“The longer you’re in a “friends-with-benefits” situation, the more risks you’ll take because you’ll feel like you’re in a real relationship and you know this person,” says sexologist Nikki Goldstein.
Researchers believe couples in traditional partnerships were less likely to use condoms because they were using other forms of contraception like the pill. But this still carries a lot of risk: the pill might prevent pregnancy, but it doesn’t stop STDs or STIs. Monogamous couples need to have a lot of a faith in each other, because if one partner strays, then both of them are screwed.
“Monogamous couples are assuming they are monogamous, they assume they are with people who are trustworthy and faithful. So they will feel safer to take risks,” says Tuckwell.
Even though the “benefits” part seems crucial to the whole arrangement, F-buddies also said they enjoyed less sexual satisfaction. But that isn’t surprising, considering researchers also found they were less likely to talk about their sexual desires and needs with their casual sexual partner. This leave us wondering what the whole point is?!
Monogamous couples, on the other hand, were able to talk more openly about sex, which isn’t surprising because of course you feel more comfortable discussing your favourite position with a BF, rather than a random. So while all the unattached people out there are having pretty safe sex, seems that they’re not entirely satisfied.