ASK THE SEX­OL­O­GIST... “Should I be a ‘friend with ben­e­fits’?”

Sunday Herald Sun - Body and Soul - - B+S ADVICE - WITH DR GABRIELLE MOR­RIS­SEY

ques­tion: A male friend re­cently asked me if I wanted to be his “friend with ben­e­fits”. I’m not against ca­sual sex, but I haven’t had much of it – I’m a re­la­tion­ship girl. He is a good friend and I trust him. He says hav­ing that kind of agree­ment can help me get into a re­la­tion­ship with some­one else be­cause I won’t feel like a “des­per­ate sin­gle”. I don’t know – am I be­ing conned into easy sex or is this trend a real thing? an­swer: There is much de­bate about the “friends-with-ben­e­fits” trend as there is no right or wrong – it’s a mat­ter of per­sonal val­ues. Only you can de­cide whether the ar­range­ment is right for you.

It is a real trend, though, and a new Deakin Univer­sity study showed women found the ar­range­ment just as en­joy­able as men. And while many as­sume it is the do­main of univer­sity stu­dents and the very young, the study found the ar­range­ment was also pop­u­lar with peo­ple who had re­cently left long-term re­la­tion­ships or mar­riages.

The ben­e­fits don’t just cen­tre on sex­ual plea­sure. The study found peo­ple gained emo­tional and phys­i­cal in­ti­macy, when they were not ready to move on to a new re­la­tion­ship.

The men in the study found the ar­range­ment gave them con­fi­dence to pur­sue ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships. But that may not be the case for you. Do you want a ca­sual-sex ar­range­ment with a friend while you look for a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship else­where? Will you be hon­est about your ar­range­ment with a new part­ner? Will you stay friends with your sex buddy once you meet some­one? Could you han­dle that? Will you be­come ro­man­ti­cally at­tached to your sex buddy? These are all ques­tions you need to an­swer be­fore you go ahead.

Many find it dif­fi­cult to re­main un­at­tached to some­one they are hav­ing reg­u­lar, ex­clu­sive sex with. The ar­range­ment may not be against your val­ues, but you may not be able to han­dle it psy­cho­log­i­cally. In that case, you would be risk­ing your friend­ship.

Ei­ther way, things won’t stay as they are, so it’s up to you to de­cide what kind of change you want.

bodyand­soul.com.au + Can a ca­sual re­la­tion­ship turn into some­thing more? Read Gabrielle Mor­ris­sey’s ad­vice at bodyand­soul.com.au

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