How To Secure And Maintain A 'Sex Buddy' Relationship

Love -- who needs it? According to Lifehacker reader Polly, a 'friends-with-benefits' arrangement leads to more fun, less heartache and better sex. But it can also be an unpredictable minefield that needs to be navigated with extreme caution. Rule #1: never fall in love . . .

Sex picture from Shutterstock

My name is Polly and I'm a big believer in the concept of sex buddies. Some people prefer the phrase 'f*ck buddy' while others go with 'friends-with-benefits'. Whatever you call it, it amounts to the same thing -- a trusted acquaintance with whom you engage in no-strings-attached sex.

Finding a willing and able sex buddy is only part of the challenge though. If you don't set proper boundaries it can actually be more volatile and unpredictable than a proper relationship (and this is coming from a fiery Italian).

I've therefore decided to share my experiences in the hope that it will help you to stay happy, healthy and sexually satisfied with the casual partner of your choice. I've also included the eight main rules that I've learnt along the way.

But first, let me give you some background information so you know where I'm coming from. (Excuse the pun.)

How I fell into it

I was involved in a very serious relationship straight out of high school which lasted for almost ten years. We moved into an apartment together, we matured as adults together and it was a very big, important chunk of my life.

When the relationship ended, I didn't want a new boyfriend straight away and I definitely wasn't ready to fall in love again. I needed time to heal and I also wanted to enjoy being single for a while.

But like the vast majority of us, I still had sexual needs which suddenly weren't being fulfilled. This is clearly unacceptable.

I stumbled into my first sex buddy relationship almost by accident: I walked into a bank and he was working there as a teller. Because of the setting, he had to be professional but there was this playful flirtation underneath that I decided to take and run with.

He gradually started to switch our talk from professional to personal and I found his confidence very attractive. But at the same time, he was still there to serve me as a customer so I felt in control and could steer the conversation in the directions I wanted.

We ended up exchanging numbers and we both knew from the beginning that we weren't looking for anything exclusive. Once I felt I could trust him, we started meeting up for sex every chance we could get. And it was great… for a while.

Learning the rules

Sex picture from Shutterstock

Because it was the very first time I'd done anything like this I didn't know the dos and don'ts. I eventually broke Rule Number 1: "never fall for your sex buddy."

By the time I became emotionally attached to him we were both involved in other casual relationships, which made things even more complicated. As you can imagine, it got quite messy. I've since learned that you can't really "upgrade" a f*ck buddy into a boyfriend -- if they were interested in something more they wouldn't be in this kind of relationship in the first place. It might happen in movies but it hardly ever happens in real life.

At the end of the day, you're better off just being buddies (hence the phrase "f*ck buddy"). Don't confuse the situation by acting like a romantic couple. Instead, treat them like a friend who you just happen to have sex with. This will make things much easier.

Which brings us to Rule Number 2: keep it simple. Don't obsess over what they're doing/thinking and refrain from constantly talking about your emotions. You'll just suck the fun out and turn it into a bad relationship. Instead, keep it light-hearted.

Rule Number 3 is "keep them separate". I personally would never invite my sex buddy to hang out with my friends or family -- that's too close to being a proper couple and can lead to annoying gossip and speculation. Likewise, you shouldn't talk too much about your social life with your sex buddy; it's better to keep some separation between the two. Basically, treat them like a colleague that you're really friendly with.

Rule Number 4 is "don't ask, don't tell". One of the advantages of friends-with-benefits is that the relationship isn't exclusive -- you're free to pursue and taste other fruits. However, we all have egos and insecurities, so it’s better to keep these outside conquests to yourself. In short, don't rub it under the other person's nose if you're having sex with someone else. Show some tact and etiquette.

Rule Number 5 is "my house, my rules." It's nice when your f*ck buddy invites you over for the night -- but you shouldn't expect it. If you assume you're staying and they ask you to leave things can turn sour very quickly. If you do stay the night, it should happen naturally. Don't make things awkward by turning it into an issue.

That said, the guy should definitely offer to walk or drive the girl home to ensure she got there safely. Likewise, if you ring up the girl for a booty call in the middle of the night, you should arrange a taxi for her. Little things like this will help to keep her happy and the arrangement will continue to flourish. The requests to meet up shouldn't all come from one person either -- you should both be putting in the effort to show you care. This falls under Rule Number 6: "respect your sex buddy". A little respect goes a long way!

Even after a sex buddy arrangement has been established, it can still be pretty awkward to just ring up and request sex (especially if the other person knocks you back for whatever reason). So when I feel like having sex, I'll usually invite him over "for drinks" or "a bite to eat". We both know what I'm really asking for but it takes the pressure off and makes it sound more casual. This is Rule Number 7: "learn and use double-speak!"

Rule Number 8 is arguably the most important: "always be great in bed". You have to click sexually and have that immediate attraction; otherwise what's the point? But it's more than just good sex: a successful sex buddy relationship requires constant sexual tension and passion. You need to make my knees feel weak and orgasms are 100% mandatory.

Obviously, everyone is different and there will be all kinds of different rules that are unique to each relationship, but these are the main ones that it pays to be aware of.

Getting started (and knowing when to pull the plug)

One of the trickiest things about starting a sex buddy relationship is ensuring you're both on the same page. Obviously, you don't just walk up to a table, tap someone on the shoulder and say "okay, we're going to be f*ck buddies." Instead, you need to establish a rapport with someone you get along with and then work up to it.

It's essential to let them know as soon as possible that you’re not looking for commitment. You need to make that crystal-clear from the beginning or they might get confused about where the relationship is going.

Ending things is usually simpler: If you're doing it right and nobody gets emotionally invested, your sex-buddy relationship should die a natural death. You'll either get bored, find someone else or decide you want to move your life to a different level.

Have your own sex buddy advice? We're all ears (and other orifices) in the comments.

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Comments

    Further reading:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1632708/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1411238/?ref_=sr_1

    What the hell, her legs are closed in the stock photo!

      She could be the one on top

        She's got pretty big feet if that's the case,
        A sasquatch in the sack?

      The bloke's obviously broken one of the rules haha

    Cool article.. i did this for years; kind of miss the lifestyle; having a 'real' relationship is soo much more challenging.

    Wow. Just wow. This article would've been better titled: 'How to treat each other like objects for personal gratification'.

    What a horrid article. You know, instead of five rules for efficient self-deprecation and the deprecation of others, there is a much better way to live. It's not falling in to some whimsical attractive emotion - it's caring enough about another person to put aside your own 'needs' and 'desires', your life even, for their sake. In other words, pro-actively loving someone and giving them dignity instead of treating them like a tool for a quick top-up.

    I say this with the utmost sincerity, that it is incredibly sad that people do not understand that being willing to treat people this way, inevitably will cause others to treat them similarly. Not that they should. Both are wrong, yet it is the depressing result of such cavalier thinking.

    For those wondering - yes, I am questioning the author's lifestyle choice - and it's no wonder mental-health and emotional balance is so off these days.

    Sorry, but now I'm incredibly sad.

      Oh get off your sanctimonious high horse. This article isn't about one person taking advantage of another, it's about two adults entering into an arrangement with mutual benefits. Believe it or not, people can actually enjoy sexual relationships with others without getting emotionally involved and without anyone getting hurt as a result.

        Yes, you're right they can. And it's called treating one another like objects. That's just messed up. It's the difference between what makes people civilized and animals. The former says this is how you should always treat another human, and the latter delegates a person to the position of mere carnal responsiveness.

        The fact that you think preserving emotions is the issue here demonstrates the point of fact. Emotions are hardly relevant. The dignity and sanctity of another person and value as a person, not an object, is what is at stake.

          Been in it for 4 years - never treated "him" like an object, neither did he treat me like one - it was/is an adult decision, mutual respect, pleasure, no pain, lots of gain. I would like to think I am a normal human with some animalistic instincts. We care about each other as long as we are in the same room. Then what happens in Vegas remain in Vegas.

          curkas - if you can't handle having a relationship with someone that involves hanging out and having sex then that's your choice. However to say that doing so is 'without dignity' and 'treating each other like objects' suggests to me that you have little to no understanding about exactly what is involved in doing this.

          In short, if you don't understand something, please ask to be enlightened, try to find out what it is like yourself or keep your inexperienced opinions to yourself.

          (Why is it always the people who have never experienced something telling other people what it is like)?

            "Like"

          No, treating someone like an object and taking away their dignity would involve doing something without their consent (ie sexual assault). If both adults consent and are aware of what their relationship is then there's nothing objectifying about it. You sound very sheltered and naive about how human sexual relationships work.

      This just in, people lead different lifestyles and have different views on what they find acceptable to you.

        If treating/imagining other people as inhuman objects for personal gratification is an 'acceptable lifestyle choice', then please, I want no part of it.

        This just in: People are more than sex objects and treating them that way at the expense of myself losing out on my own sexual gratification is more than worth it if their dignity as a entire person, for all that they are remains intact.

          Someone sounds jelly.

            I do smell jelly :)

            Next article: How To Secure And Maintain A Jelly Wrestling League.

              Rule #1: You're going to need a lot more jelly than you thought. Stock up!

          This is about the opposite of what you're suggesting, it's about being mature and respectful enough to have a relationship with someone that is mutually beneficial. It's possible to have sex with someone without being in love with them. You're reading in a whole "treat people as objects for sex" aspect here which says more about you than this article.

          This is a mutual understanding between two people. They don't just walk in the room and demand sex. They let each other know that they are in the mood for some, and if the other person happens to feel the same, they'll join in. No one is being forced to do anything. No one is being taken advantage of or being manipulated. Having sex is a natural thing, and if two people want to have sex, then by all means they should be able to.

          What I'm understanding from your point of view, is that having casual sex automatically labels these people as "sex objects". People are more than the one thing that the participate in. For example, just because I ride a train to work everyday doesn't mean I'm a train enthusiast. The only people that are labeling people who participate in casual sex are people with your beliefs and mindset. Like Blackstep said, people lead different lifestyles, and their lifestyle is in no way affecting how you lead your life, so you can be a bigger person and respect that other people can make decisions for themselves.

          Hey in case you didn't realise, you're entirely free to have no part of it - no one ever said you had to have part of it. Make your own decisions, for yourself, but what's with all this ridiculous preaching? Can you not even comprehend that not everyone shares your opinion?

          How is it treating people like objects if one of the rules is to respect your partner? How about that one of the rules is to ensure you pleasure your partner (again, respect)?

          I think everyone here has made it clear that you're on your own on this one. No one is telling you that you have to partake in this activity; keep your absurd self-righteousness to yourself from now on, thanks, and let others enjoy their lives.

          Somehow I strongly suspect the involvement of religion in the motive of your posts >

          Two mature adults doing something concentual and in mutual agreement is too much for you to handle?

          You're acting like one partner is a victim here. Makes me wonder if your comments have ulterior motives.

          I think someone needs to get laid...

          Or is this a case of "onward Christian soldiers"?

      Whether you personally agree or disagree with the concept of friends with benefits, maybe you should consider something: Maybe your lifestyle is actually not what everyone wants?

      Maybe you should stop trying to push your beliefs on other people.

      This might amaze you, but just wait... There are people out there... Just like me and you.. And these people can be both male and female... And guess what?

      They can both have different values than what you have, and that doesn't make them bad people.

      I'm in a long term relationship that I hope lasts for the rest of my life, but if it ended tomorrow I certainly couldn't be stuffed screwing around with real relationships for a while, but I sure as hell wouldn't become a nun just to satisfy curkas desire for all humans to be monogamous and married.

      Hahaha oh wow, are you really this dense? That is amazing, bravo. You're wrong but thank you for sharing you high-horse I'm better than you attitude to people who don't care. I have had several casual buddies and we're all still friends, share Christmas together, birthdays and now some of us are in relationships we all still out together because we're adults.

      You just must've never been able to have one so yo're jealous and lashing out at other due to your envy.

      boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooring

      curkas, youre young and very immature.
      You will grow and learn.

      This article! WOW, its not that im uncomfortable with articles like this one or indeed articles from other sites talking about exactly the same thing, its just this one! The way this article reads, its all shaped and informed by the authors own experiences to fight emotional urges or down play another attempt at exhibiting their own. Sure you might find somebody looking for exactly the same thing from the arrangement but the odds on that are slim. The reality is that somebody more than likely going to be the loser. The research has been done on this stuff, the more sexual relationships maintains the more likely they are to have low self esteem, mental health issues, and drug and alcohol problems . Plenty of research has been published to support this view point. For example this one from NZ, http://goo.gl/ABfqGr

        Firstly, yes this is an opinion piece about someone's experiences and advice - it is not a guide put out by a government body. Anybody who is stupid enough to take this all literally and apply the experiences without seeing if it is suitable for them should probably not be risking the chance of reproducing.

        Secondly - did you even read that paper? I did:

        (Regarding increased numbers of sexual partners): "no consistent associations were found with later anxiety or depression at any age."

        It also says:

        "The results showed that, taking into account prior disorder status, increasing number of sex partners was associated with a striking increase in later substance dependence disorders, especially for women."

        You do understand that association does not equal causality? ie the substance abuse could be the cause of the increased number of sex partners. They do go on to discuss this and other possible causes but I guess you just prefer to link to something that most people won't look at but will assume backs your argument up.

      Obviously youve never been put through the bul some of us others have been through. I recommend you dont judge untill youve been theough what makes us people want this rather than complicating things with love.

      Did u read, prudence it is a deal between two is not like we are laying to sleep with others.
      I was married and invested my self sould and body to aman who didnt apreciate me , got sick and consumed by the poisonus relationship of course he left after golddiging all he could, ALL I CAN SAY IS THANK YOU GOD FOR MY SEX BUDDY .
      We invest on each others time, we txt talk all the time , we have cute nicknames , what we dont have is any drama no strings it is the best feeling...
      Is not only sex for us is also having the company and been able to talk to eachother when we meet. And of course good sex toms and tons of it. Very good therapy.
      You should try it sometime prudence.

    Disagree with not being able to upgrade from f*ck buddy to boyfriend/girlfriend. My gf and I started out as playmates and we're now looking at moving in together. If you're both after the same thing the upgrade can work beautifully.

    "I’ve since learned that you can’t really “upgrade” a f*ck buddy into a boyfriend."

    Like my girlfriend of six years.

    I don't know about your morality but I find it hard to present myself completely righteous at all when it's happened. I mean there are at least moral grey areas here and I'd hate to insinuate this but it seems a tad self-righteous to be so blase about sex. I mean is it better if it means something or if it means nothing? Isn't it just a marketing ploy for articles when they present sexual gratification as a basic human right? Isn't it easy to say or promote whatever you want when you absolve yourself of any kind of responsibility for it? Just because we are free to do whatever we want, does that mean we let go of all restraint and remove humanity from our relationships? Do we treat people like a snack?

    Keep in mind these are personal feelings about myself in this situation, not passing judgement. I guess I don't find human beings so interchangeable and I guess I can't.

      Have you ever had a friend who you only really liked in one context? Like you enjoy playing golf with them but aside from that you don't really enjoy any of the same things or have that much in common. You don't stop playing golf with them or treat them like they're not a 'real' friend, you just only really get together when you both feel like playing golf.
      Just like how I've got great friends I only play video games with online, I've got great friends who I only have sex with*. It's not that they're interchangeable vaginas or anything, it's just that the friendship doesn't really go that much deeper than being horny, into the same stuff, STD free and enjoying each others company. It's not the most satisfying thing in the world, honestly by this point in my life I'd hoped to be married and settled down, but sex is fun and if I'm going to be single I might as well be enjoying it.

      *Well it's not only sex, but that's pretty much all that brings us together.

      Last edited 13/09/13 5:18 pm

    The advice in this seems to be 'don't accidentally fall in love or care about them.'.. Seems like terrible advice.

    Even if it is inconvienient or awkward, why would you take the feelings you say you felt when flirting with them, but not the ones signalling maybe you were actually a good fit?

    If you're naturally only sex buddies, then that's fine... But if something else naturally develops.. I think doing so and not 'going with it' wherever any relationship leads by imposing artificial limitations makes anyone (man or woman) who does so pretty much a whore, as opposed to someone lacking physical affection seeking some, or exploring a new relationship (whatever level it may end up at).

    Last edited 13/09/13 2:31 pm

    Or you could not make up stupid rules. Those are precisely the sort of games I'm avoiding in relationships. Make a friend, have sex with them and continue to treat them like a friend. Deal with everything else on the fly just like any other friendship. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, the relationship almost always changes over time, just like any other friendship.
    If you find yourself having to say 'don't fall in love' every night or 'don't get jealous' then all these sorts of rules do is bottle up those feelings and cause stress. Just admit that maybe you'd like it if things were exclusive but still not a traditional relationship.
    If you've got the next day off work and think going out for breakfast the next morning as friends might be pleasant, a rule saying no staying past 3AM that you both only agreed to because you weren't sure how to make it all work isn't going to change that.

    It's not casual sex if there's a massive rulebook. For me the entire point is that I can say exactly what I mean without dancing around with all these games. If you can say 'I'm pretty stressed, you want to come over and help me bang it out?' but afterwards you can't say 'I really feel like watching a movie, want to go see something?' you're doing it wrong.

    In the last days there will be those who call evil good and good evil.
    One more article like this and I'm outahere!

      Going to quote an earlier commenter: "This just in, people lead different lifestyles and have different views on what they find acceptable to you."

        More news at 11?

      Oh no, the religious nut is going to leave!

      Please Lifehacker. . . one more article like this.

    Sex Buddy = Luxury Wank

    Hilariously outdated morality arguments aside, I'm not sure this qualifies as a Life Hack...

    Especially as you could just wank.

    I think it just depends on the luck to find such a man or woman as the story reveals, personally I myself met a man through this dating site in Australia called MeetOutside http://www.meetoutside.com, having known of it through a friend, and was looking for a serious relationship and dates, but then one conversation led to another and it seemed well lets just have something of this sort and this led to almost three months of casual encounters but as I had in my mind that this is just for fun so moved on when I met someone I wanted to be with for long term.

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