‘Friends with Benefits’ ‘can result in future awkwardness, ceased contact’

Washington: A researcher has conducted extensive research on issues surrounding intimacy, dating and “hooking up” among college-age Americans.

“Because the sexual context of ‘friends with benefits’ is largely undefined — as opposed to the boyfriend/girlfriend model, which in our culture has many norms, scripts and expectations — it can make it very difficult to deal with when or if feelings change, such as when one of the pair wants to end the sex but remain friends or wants to become more than friends,” said Rebecca Plante, an associate professor of sociology at Ithaca College.

“My research shows that perhaps the most frequent consequence is awkwardness, accompanied by strained or ceased contact and eventually either future hook ups or the resumption of a non-sexual friendship,” said Plante.

The reason why they didn’t call it dating or call themselves boyfriend/girlfriend, Plants said respondents talked about being too busy, that relationships take too much work, that they aren’t sure about the depth and extent of their feelings, or that they already have long-term relationships in other places.

“Friends with benefits is a way to explore some sexuality within a friendship, an existing framework of some care and knowledge of one another,” she noted.

“Despite the assumption — furthered by films— that the U.S. is a very sexually open culture, sexual intimacy is not well-discussed. Multiple media depict sex, but that doesn’t mean that individuals get any schooling in how to understand what they want sexually, romantically and intimately,” she added.


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