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Auntie SparkNotes: Is It Okay To Be FWB?

Auntie SparkNotes: Is It Okay To Be FWB?

Dear Auntie,

I'm a sophomore in high school and I've had one serious relationship and few very quick flings with some boys.

Whenever I have had a relationship with a guy, we have always been boyfriend-girlfriend. Always. Never had a one night stand or a uncommitted relationship. Well, recently one of my long-time guy friends has decide to ask me to be his friend with some limited benefits, i.e. making out, groping, but no HND, at least not in the near future. And I really want to say yes (he is awesome at all of that stuff, super cute and muscly, and hey, I deserve some fun after my last few failed relationships) but I also kind of want to say no. I'm worried that my friends, who are all guys (I don't work well with other girls after some backstabbing and clique issues a few years back) will find out and judge me for it even though they have had their share of non-committed relationships and friends-with-benefits things. I also feel like I am doing something wrong for not being committed. So I have three questions.

1. Is it okay to have friends with benefits in high school?
2. Is it okay to want to have one?
3. Should I worry if my friends will judge me?

Well, for starters, I'll tell you one thing right now: if wanting to make out like a wild beast with a muscle-bound hottie is wrong, I, for one, do not want to be right.

But fortunately—for you, and me, and the rest of the makeout-appreciating universe—it's not wrong. And more than that, it's nobody's business. Your sexuality, as always, is your own to enjoy. What you do with your body is your choice. And your value as a human being is not defined by when, why, and with whom you choose to get naked and freaky, or by whether said naked freakiness occurs within or without the confines of a monogamous relationship. (Really, you guys: no matter how many different ways you ask me this, I'll always say the same thing!)

Which means that yes, it's okay to hook up sans commitment, and yes, it's okay to want to. It's not wrong to enjoy sex, or sexy activities, purely on their own merit.

Whereas what would be wrong, really wrong, is wangling yourself into a relationship you don't actually want—and callously toying with the feelings of some sweet, emotional-connection-seeking person in the process—just because of some nebulous semi-notion that commitment is a necessary prerequisite to fooling around. Never do this, okay? It's awful and dishonest and mean.

And as for the storied friends-with-benefits arrangement, it really is fine—just so long as you think it is, and as long as you have both the desire to engage in a just-for-fun physical relationship as well as the maturity to handle its potential complications. It's entirely up to you... with the one caveat that you should not, under any circumstances, enter a FWB arrangement with a person for whom you have actual feelings and not just sexual chemistry. Some of the worst emotional damage you can inflict upon yourself is to find a person with whom you crave commitment, and then agree to be FWB in the hopes that it'll be a segue into (or even worse, a substitute for) the deep emotional connection you truly desire. If you want to be more than friends, then you'll never be satisfied by being friends with benefits. More likely, you'll just end up miserable, pining, and hating yourself in the bargain. So remember: those who want a relationship should accept no substitutes, and those who find themselves falling for their FWB should GTFO ASAP.

That said, if all you want is some mutually-agreeable groping with a well-muscled manfriend in whom you have zero romantic interest, and if this guy fits the bill, then... hey, go get him, tiger. Have fun! Be safe!

And whatever you do, please, do it because you want to—and do it confidently, proudly, and without a moment's concern for whether or not your friends will approve. Because if the guys you currently spend your time with are the sort of hypocritical buttbags who would judge you for enjoying the same sort of no-strings-attached hookup that they themselves have taken part in, you might as well find out now.

Y'know, so that you can stop spending time with them and get better friends.

Because whatever your position on friends with benefits, there's no benefit to being friends with judgey jerks.

Have you ever been friends with benefits? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at

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Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, relationships, dating, advice, fwb

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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