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Friends WITHOUT Benefits

Yes, read it again. Not with. But. Without. I’ve always wondered why the colloquial: Friends With Benefits linguistically and objectively made sense.

The term just implodes because of two very logical assertions: (1) That pure friendship (platonic) isn’t ever sexual and (2) That true benefit is not something that perpetuates ultimate fulfillment.

Therefore, Friends With Benefits should really be called Friends Without Benefits. I break down three “FWB” movies to explain exactly why this euphemism just doesn’t hold up.


In the witty romantic comedy, Harry tells Sally resoundingly, “What I’m saying is- and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form- is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”

Not to say that friendships without sex cannot exist but it is impossible to completely filter the sexual tension between two heterosexual people.

In a university, they surveyed 88 pairs of “just friends” and found out notably, that men more than women were attracted to their friend and if given the opportunity to sleep with their friend, would. Even both were not intentionally attracted to each other, biological and social dispositions take such a deep current within opposite-sex relationships. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/men-and-women-cant-be-just-friends/

That current can get even more hurly when both friends are in relationships. The most recent research that nods the possibility of pure platonic friendships still concedes to the notion of the possibility of romantic potential still pervading in men-women friendships.

So an FWB just lights the fire of whatever romantic potential tinder that might lie between two friends.

Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”

– Harry, When Harry Met Sally


The whole posit of friends with benefits is casual sex and no commitment- with also the implication of emotional camaraderie (the “buddy” in f**k buddy). An FWB is a leeway for a player who wants physical gratification without the responsibility or the illusion of an emotional connection without, again, the obligation for emotional support.

One Day

In One Day, Emma and Dex almost have a one-night stand, but decide to be friends instead. Unlike Harry and Sally whose attraction to each other is unspoken, Dex and Emma are upfront about it and even dally about the idea of romance at several points during their decade of friendship. But ultimately, their “FWB,” is a romantic limbo that is without ongoing sex and without further invested emotional intimacy. It is a delay from both parties deciding to commit to each other.


Friends with Kids takes the whole idea of FWB to a new extreme. Not only do I not want to sleep with my friend, I want to raise a child with them, without any recognition for something romantic, even if I undeniably have strong emotional and physical attraction to this person whom I am “just friends” with.

The FWB should be called without benefit, if the benefit is considered not long-term. FWB does not have sustaining power or continuously progresses into something long-term and does not continuously perpetuate benefit. Sooner or later, a party might have certain priorities and the FWB is just costly. If the benefit is not substantial or not lasting, why call it a benefit at all. Even if sex is out of equation, the “friends” in FWB without real emotional intimacy is moot as well.

Friends with Kids

I know her position on just about everything, and I am on board. I am on board with everything about her, so you tell me, Ben. What better woman could I have picked to be the mother of my child?”



Friends with Benefits, is better called Friends without Benefits. Friends with Friend benefits, Sex partners with Sex benefits, and Relationships with Relationship benefits. Simple. Sure…. it may open the door to something, but do you want to have an FWB forever? If the answer is no, then a FWB is likely to cause more mayhem than benefit. Hook up and only hookup. Talk and only talk. Commit and only commit. You and everyone else will benefit.

Author Profile

Sarah Suhaimi practices 명음 by day and the art of dark chocolate bar swindling by night. She is currently working closely with a local Pittsburgh non-profit that serves sex-trafficked victims, Living in Liberty, as a volunteer and grant proposal writer. She founded the Southeast Asian Student Alliance (SEASA) at her university, and, as well, the "Offer Islam Campaign." Her works vary from prose to poetry to articles. Her published works include, ‘The Home of an Immigrant’s Daughter’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2012 Dublin Biennial, Dublin, Ireland and ‘Hidden Beauty Reveals Itself (Intellect Vs Instinct)’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2011 Florence Biennale VIII, Florence, Italy.

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