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Cassiopeia

The term "friends with benefits"

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Anybody else hates this term?

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, it implies that

  • non-sexual friendships have no benefits
  • sex is something you get, not something you do together
  • the people involved take advantage of each other
  • that its a shallow, second rate, non-serious thing

In my opinion, it is just disrespectful? Sounds like something made up by frat boys...

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I can't really speak for the three last points, but indeed calling a sex friend a "friend with benefits" diminishes the other friendships which would have no benefit... And benefit is not supposed to be a synonym of sex... It's whatever you want it to be. Sex is not the only thing you can benefit from. The term "friends with benefits" as changed our understanding of both friendship and benefit in the same way that the term "netflix and chill" has changed the common understanding of the "chill" part.

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10 minutes ago, Ugh... said:

I can't really speak for the three last points, but indeed calling a sex friend a "friend with benefits" diminishes the other friendships which would have no benefit... And benefit is not supposed to be a synonym of sex... It's whatever you want it to be. Sex is not the only thing you can benefit from. The term "friends with benefits" as changed our understanding of both friendship and benefit in the same way that the term "netflix and chill" has changed the common understanding of the "chill" part.

^This

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Friends with benefits is almost as bad as more than friends or just friends.

 

(not the actual FWB part, just the phrase itself is super amatonormative)

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It's one of several terms (including Queer Platonic) which I don't really like. But appear stuck with.
Especially given the common assumption that "friend" implies non-sexual.

(Even our modern concept of "platonic friendship" might not be exactly what Plato had in mind.)

 

IME aros tend to view the term somewhat differently from allos. Both in terms of concentrating on the "friend" bit and not assuming that "benefits" must mean sexually.

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I also have a problem with "queerplatonic", and even more the way it's used now. In the asexual community, it's more and more used to mean a relationship defined by ambiguous feelings between platonic and romantic, which is an use I very strongly disapprove. If it's less romantic than average, it's still romantic even if it's expressed ambiguously, and definitely shouldn't take (and then erase in the same time) terms intended for non-romantic feelings. 

Actually, I have less issues with FWB as a word, although I find a bit sad that FWB are "supposed" to avoid real friendship. Although I can understand why, as friendship and sex can easily lead to falling in love for romantic persons, but I understand less why this rule should be strict.

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10 minutes ago, Rising Sun said:

I also have a problem with "queerplatonic", and even more the way it's used now. In the asexual community, it's more and more used to mean a relationship defined by ambiguous feelings between platonic and romantic, which is an use I very strongly disapprove.

Rather agree with you. Wonder if this is about making alloromantic (and demiromantic) aces feel more included.
 

A term I thought of was "non platonic", even "!platonic".

 

Actually, I have less issues with FWB as a word, although I find a bit sad that FWB are "supposed" to avoid real friendship. Although I can understand why, as friendship and sex can easily lead to falling in love for romantic persons, but I understand less why this rule should be strict.

I'm guessing because unwanted secondary romantic attraction can be a problem for allo (and demi) romantics. Especially if they have another partner.

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This is an interesting perspective. I'm not saying this is the term that should be used, but the existence of such a term helps romantic asexuals explain the difference between friendship and romance without sexual activity. 

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9 hours ago, Rising Sun said:

I also have a problem with "queerplatonic", and even more the way it's used now. In the asexual community, it's more and more used to mean a relationship defined by ambiguous feelings between platonic and romantic, which is an use I very strongly disapprove. If it's less romantic than average, it's still romantic even if it's expressed ambiguously, and definitely shouldn't take (and then erase in the same time) terms intended for non-romantic feelings. 

Actually, I have less issues with FWB as a word, although I find a bit sad that FWB are "supposed" to avoid real friendship. Although I can understand why, as friendship and sex can easily lead to falling in love for romantic persons, but I understand less why this rule should be strict.

I also don't like the way some alloromantics have been messing around with the meaning of QPR's. They're specifically for people in relationships that are #noromo. While this looks different in every qpr the common factor is the lack of romantic feelings.

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"Friends with benefits" does not bother me at all. It's been in popular usage for as long as I can remember and when I hear it I know exactly what someone is talking about. 

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On 23 June 2016 at 7:58 PM, Rising Sun said:

I also have a problem with "queerplatonic", and even more the way it's used now. In the asexual community, it's more and more used to mean a relationship defined by ambiguous feelings between platonic and romantic, which is an use I very strongly disapprove. If it's less romantic than average, it's still romantic even if it's expressed ambiguously, and definitely shouldn't take (and then erase in the same time) terms intended for non-romantic feelings. 

 I actually like the term queer platonic because it's so vague. The same way, when people use the queer as a label for their sexual or romantic orientations or gender, it leaves more room to interpretation. When I use it it probably will not cover the same thing others use it for, there is so little in common, we might have so different preferences and experiences, the key element is just the fact that neither of us conforms to amato/cis/heteronormativity or the combination of those. The same way, QPRs can be so different, depending on the people involved and their orientation and the dynamic between/among them. I have always liked that idea, as it's a lot less restrictive than most of the other concepts I know. But I do understand your frustration, it's kind of like the standard lgbtq+ cat fight, people trying to monopolise labels to secure their identities...that stuff is toxic.

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On 6/20/2016 at 6:27 PM, Ugh... said:

I can't really speak for the three last points, but indeed calling a sex friend a "friend with benefits" diminishes the other friendships which would have no benefit... And benefit is not supposed to be a synonym of sex... It's whatever you want it to be. Sex is not the only thing you can benefit from. The term "friends with benefits" as changed our understanding of both friendship and benefit in the same way that the term "netflix and chill" has changed the common understanding of the "chill" part.

((This isn't exactly contributing to this conversation, I know, but I think it might help make this point??)

My friends and I use the term "friends with benefits" as a joke, meaning that sometime in the future we'll share an apartment, I'll buy her healthcare, and she'll take me out to dinner.  

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18 minutes ago, iridescent-apatosaurus said:

My friends and I use the term "friends with benefits" as a joke, meaning that sometime in the future we'll share an apartment, I'll buy her healthcare, and she'll take me out to dinner. 

Now that's benefit! More people should use it this way :clapping: :D

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I agree it's a weird term. What do you think would be a better one for sexual partners who are not romantically involved?

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3 hours ago, Holmbo said:

I agree it's a weird term. What do you think would be a better one for sexual partners who are not romantically involved?

That depends on what kind of relationship you are having. Life partner? Date friend? That one flat mate who is also willing to binge watch awful horror movies with you? That fucker who ordered pineapple pizza for us again? Why exactly sex is so crucial in defining relationships? Like there are so many more things going on usually...

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1 hour ago, Cassiopeia said:

That depends on what kind of relationship you are having. Life partner? Date friend? That one flat mate who is also willing to binge watch awful horror movies with you? That fucker who ordered pineapple pizza for us again? Why exactly sex is so crucial in defining relationships? Like there are so many more things going on usually...

 

Sure there is. But since a relationship that includes sex is so widely considered a romantic one in todays society it would be good to have a term which clarifies when there is sex without romance. Just as we have labels for aromantic/romantic and asexual/sexual (and various versions of the in betweens) shouldn't there be labels for the absence or precense of romance and sex in a relationship?

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4 hours ago, Holmbo said:

 

Sure there is. But since a relationship that includes sex is so widely considered a romantic one in todays society it would be good to have a term which clarifies when there is sex without romance. Just as we have labels for aromantic/romantic and asexual/sexual (and various versions of the in betweens) shouldn't there be labels for the absence or precense of romance and sex in a relationship?

Sure, it's important to be able to discuss these things among us. I'd say something like 'sexually intimate friendship' or 'physically intimate friendship'. But with the general public I'd be a bit more cautious, because being allo aro does sound a bit...bad to people who aren't familiar with the concept. But maybe that is just my insecurity talking. If anyone has a better idea please share :D

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These are some valied points I havent put that much thought into fwb myself other than what Rising sun is saying about how FWB are supposed to be.. well "not real friendships" but more an expression about a person who had sex with more than once or maybe on regular base.

it bothers me more than the term that we have a norm saying sex is only something you do with people you dont really care about, and if you care about them then its romantic. its just so limited specially for many arosexuals who prefer sex with people they are friends with, and I dont understand why this opinion is so common even amoung some asexuals who otherwise say sex doesnt define a romantic relationship?

---

for fwb I do think its very normative language, (yesterday I made a joke with friends about how im in such a fwb with my friends since we always get cake)

but I think it comes out of sexshame. I have used fuckbuddies but its a very radical word that will make grandma spill her tea. 

sexual friendships or just sexfriends or friends I have sex with, should be the neutral term. but again our culture still shame on sex that is outside of relationships to the point that just saying sex and friendship itself becomes radical somehow. I guess thats why friends with benefits been popular because you can say it without really saying it and everyone knows what you mean but its still not dirrectly said. so in a way it sound "more polite" the same way as "making love" sound better than f***ing. I also think ist not always nessesarry to define your relationship on the sex factore. thats why I it makes sense that sexual queer platonics are just called queer platonics, or romantic-sexual relationships are just called romantic relationships (for most parts)

 

its not always relevent and somethimes you can simple go with "this is my friend" and people dont need to know that you are having sex.

but its also important to have word for sexual friendships because 1. its something many people want so its good to be able to express, specially because sex is thought of as non-sexual unless you say otherwise.

 

and also I think its important to kinda smash the idea that it must be romantic. as mention earlier if you have sex with one of your friends alot of people asume that mean you are having a romantic relationship, so its also good to kinda say "no we are friends and have sex".

 

 

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I'd consider fuckbuddies a degrading word as well.  I don't know about you guys, but I just can't bring myself to refer to someone I respect and consider my friend as that. Especially that aros face a lot of negative stereotypes, and I don't really fancy sounding like a frat boy or a "heartless robot"...

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on the one hand, I do find the phrase to be kind of a rude and dismissive one. but it's so common that I'm used to it. I appreciate that its meaning is very clear. Of course, it practice, I doubt I would ever use it when I'm in such a relationship. If friends can have sex, then there's no need to make it some kind of special label. It's almost like it's a term for young folk to use. sometimes I feel like movies and pop culture is geared around being consumed by younger generations. 

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I think you guys are over-thinking it. Friends with benefits is a tongue-n-cheek term. "With Benefits" is a euphemism for sex. Basically, a friend you have sex with. It's not to diminish other friendships, it is to be tasteful about describing a particular friendship situation. 

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@Spectrul Sânge Rece yeah the term is a euphemism, I think the people posting here understand that the idea behind the euphemism is that the other person is a friend, but with "the benefit" of also being someone you can have sex with.  It kind of becomes "friend with an unfortunate sexual inclination" when you're not too interested yourself, or "friend" when sex isn't something you consider a particular benefit that this person shares with you over your other friends.

 

Being mindful of the language we use and the origin of those words helps us as a community understand the ideas and concepts that we base our relationships on, not just the romantic but also the familial and platonic. If it seems unimportant to you, that's fine; it was important enough to other people that this thread has received quite a few responses.

 

I guess what I'm getting at is that even though we all understand the use of this term, we are trying to discuss the idea behind it. Namely, that sex with a friend has a benefit that distinguishes them or gives them a privileged advantage over your other friends. and, I think, we're interested in looking at other terms that could take the place of FWB that doesn't have the underpinning of "sex is not usually done with friends"?

 

 

More on topic, I once expressed to a friend that the amount of physical contact we shared might qualify our relationship as being FWB, and we laughed. It's not a label I think we would have applied to our relationship, but it was funny to think that there are people that would. FWB, to me, highlights the sexual nature of the actions in that relationship, almost as if "sex" is the main part of it. It's a term that makes the "friendship" part feel almost reduced to "friendly person who allows physical contact", and elevates sex to the status of a "benefit". I'm not surprised with so many aces in this community that many of us would be wary of the term.

 

Of course, if another person wants to use it to refer to their relationship and their counterpart agrees, I think it's a fitting term. I just don't think it fits with how I'd conceptualize my own relationships with my connotations attached to the term.

 

My posts are always so long! T_T

 

TLDR; Language is important because it makes us aware of the ideas underlying them. Personally, friends with benefits feels too primarily sexual. However, people using the term consensually should be respected.

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I don't think that a fwb even has to technically be a friend. in the um, hanging out a lot and get to know eachother meaning I mean. unless you count turning each other on as getting to know each other lol. 

 

actually, I knew a guy who said, he liked to have sex with people as a means to get to know them.

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While I take issue with some connotations of FWB, I find the term pretty useful in relating the allosexual/aromantic experience to people I know won't misconstrue it. 

 

What I'm curious about is if anyone has actual experience with this term. Has it actually helped someone here describe their relationship with a person? If anybody has experience with the real, tangible effects of "friends with benefits," as used in such a scenario I'd be happy to know more. Did you use the term, or did  other friends assign it? Did the "friend with benefits" agree to the title?

 

 If anyone here has real tangible experience with the dynamics of FWB, please share.

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