Friends With Benefits: The Fail Safe Edition


Science saves the day by revealing the secret to a successful FWB relationship.

Written by: Laura C. Anderson

New studies are suggesting the infamous ‘Friends With Benefits’ situation-ship may actually be a conquerable feat. In fact, with the right mindset approaching the sticky course that is Fuck Buddies 101, there may be hope for you singles ready to mingle yet. Before we breach new ground let’s first revise the territory we’re all too familiar with; the miserable outcome that inevitably follows any FWB situation-ship.

I asked my single friend, Grace, to casually date four men simultaneously. Each relationship she initiated would highlight a handful of different types of FWB situation-ships we’ve all come to know and regret. These ‘chosen’ men were aware of the experiment at play and were more than willing to oblige in any research necessary “in the name of science,” as one of our lovely participants stated.

So picture this, Grace is a bouncy brunette with big green eyes and a dancer’s body. Her 28 year-old skin is perfectly smooth after years of Botox and her smile is pure white thanks to countless Crest Whitening Strips. After spending much of her adult life in Los Angeles she then moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where her edgy Western flare stands in stark contrast to the simpler Carolina prep associated with the South. In every way, she boasts confidence and begs to be stared at. She’s a bombshell and she knows it. Thus, making her the perfect control group for my own personal study.

Her first suitor was one of the bus boys she bartends alongside. His name is Henry and if there’s one trait worth mentioning about Henry it’s that Henry loves his freedom. Being that he’s nowhere near ready for a committed relationship, he’s the perfect contestant for the Our Love Will Surely Fail game. Am I being too pessimistic or is it pretty much fact that every work-related relationship we dabble in is prone to disastrous failure?


Grace’s second suitor was Marcus, a guy she swiped right on Tinder. Marcus is 36, divorced, ‘looking for fun,’ and thinks Gracie has “perfect tits.” Can you smell the pungent aroma of love blossoming in the air, too, or is that just my new Febreze plug-in? He agreed to a strictly platonic relationship where sex remained on the table, as presumed.



Believe it or not, the third suitor had some serious potential. Fred stood a solid chance at defying the FWB odds. He’s 31, been single for six years now, has a stable job and is legitimately looking for love. I think ABC’s The Bachelor may have skimmed a little too quickly over his application. To clarify, Fred would make the perfect poster-child for a game show love story.


Our fourth and final suitor was determined to find love. Cory was all about finding something real – something genuine. So much so that Cory agreed to a strictly sex, no strings attached relationship before Grace could finish asking the question. In fact, he was ready to drive back to his place that very moment to begin experimentation. 

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Although it’s hard to believe Grace didn’t find success through any of these promising situation-ships, she did come to a realization regarding the arrangement. Each relationship was doomed before it began once Grace realized none of the men were in a relationship mindset. I know what you’re thinking – why would they be, right? Each of these men is openly admitting they’re not looking for a relationship. Instead, they opt for enjoying the casualty of sex. Strangely, the golden ticket to getting that arrangement to last means he will, in fact, need to adopt the mindset of a committed man.

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Allow me to explain, According to research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior this month, there’s a science to navigating a prosperous FWB relationship. Researchers recruited 171 young adults who’d engaged in FWB within the last year. The couples participating were asked to rate statements that measured how committed each partner was to the other. The results revealed that partners who “acted” more like a couple – meaning they had “made clear sacrifices to protect their monogamous relationship – were most satisfied with the arrangement.

Just so we’re all on the same page here, this study is legitimately suggesting that the only way a faux relationship can actually work is if you treat it like the real thing. That means she knows the passcode on your phone and you have her girly shit all over your retired Bachelor pad. Too bad the whole point of no strings attached implies there’s no commitment or sacrifice tying you down. In conclusion, the study, which states:

“The results suggest that it is important for young adults to be aware of commitment as they enter these FWB relationships,” the study says. “The fact that satisfaction with sacrifice seems to play a vital role in FWB relationship adjustment suggests that young adults should be aware of the investments they have in these relationships,” is complete idiocy.

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Just like we all would, Grace dove head first into each situation-ship abiding by her own carnal desires knowing fully well the odds were stacked mightily against her.

She relished in the fantasy that she may be the exception to the rule and then was left defeated when Henry ditched Grace for the hot new hostess, Marcus had a porn-addiction and thought her name was Gail, Fred was more in love with himself than he’ll ever be with a woman, and Cory topped it all off with his unwillingness to get to know Grace outside the bedroom.

So what have we learned? A. There are actually reputable scientific studies suggesting we can make a FWB situation-ship work if we treat it like a committed relationship. B. The entire allure behind a FWB relationship is that it’s not a committed relationship. C. Most people won’t succeed at making FWB work. D. Most people will engage in them anyways. D. Sex is great until someone gets hurt. E. Spread love, not hate. F. Use protection.


Laura C. Anderson | @s0mebl0nde