Dr. Darcy Discusses Friends-With-Benefits

Ask a Mental Health Professional the Difficult Questions

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’ve had a very good friend for a couple of years. We both ended relationships in the spring and have been hanging out a lot more ever since. Last night we were at a bar and she asked me if I’d be into a friends-with-benefits (FWB) situation. I should mention that she’s incredibly gorgeous and has hooked up with most of her friends, so this would not be a new experience for her. I’m only hesitating because I’d like to safeguard our friendship.

– Fair Weather Friends?

Dear Fair,

You’re hesitating because you know better. Let me ask you something: Do you know anyone who has successfully participated in a FWB relationship and ended it with the friendship intact? Neither have I. And I’d venture to say that between my clients, my columns and my blog, I’ve heard of more people who’ve tried it than most
Humans are not as emotionally evolved as we’d like to think we are. FWB presupposes that we can have sex without developing feelings. Forming an attachment after sex is something that women, in particular, are hardwired to do. If such an attachment does not form, that’s the exception – not the rule.

You say that you want to safeguard the relationship—but if you really wanted to, you wouldn’t even entertain this idea. There are a gazillion women who you can hook up with; why do it with a friend? Because you know her, trust her and like her? Then why not consider a relationship with her? Or, because she does this with all her friends and you don’t want to look like the one girl who can’t handle it?

Grow up. There’s no benefit to having sex with a friend you don’t respect enough to have as a partner. 


Dr. Darcy Smith is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her practice, Alternatives Counseling, specializes in LGBT issues and is located in New York City. Dr. Darcy’s clinical style is very direct, goal-oriented and pragmatic. For years, the media has been drawn to her unique personality. She has provided expert commentary for networks including E! Entertainment and has worked with television producers throughout the nation. Her blog, AskDrDarcy.com, provides free advice to members of the LGBT community. Email questions to questions@askdrdarcy.com or call 212-604-0144. *This column is not a consultation with a mental health professional and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such consultation. Anyone with issues or concerns should seek the advice of her own therapist or counselor.

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