How to Write "Friends with Benefits":

Total posts: [13]
1 TheMuse13th Jan 2013 04:17:32 PM , Relationship Status: Browsing the selection
I'm writing two characters who are close friends, they manage to strike up a deal and occasionally have sex with each other, but without any romantic commitment. Does anyone have any tips exactly how to show that they are Just Friends and don't have any romantic feelings for each other?
[up]I'm assuming you don't intend for a Relationship Upgrade. In that case, a complete lack of sexual jealousy is a good start — openly discussing sexual encounters with others without it affecting their own relationship. Although that still doesn't necessarily rule out a polyamorous romantic relationship, it's a start.

edited 13th Jan '13 4:37:34 PM by KillerClowns

3 RedneckRocker13th Jan 2013 05:25:25 PM from None Of Your Business
First Loyalty: Yourself
  • Perhaps mention that they've had this arrangement for a while (unless, of course, the story is the Secret Origin of their arrangement).
  • Maybe explain that they had tried to take things further, but it was difficult for the transition.

Just a couple suggestions.
Embroiled in slave rebellion, I escaped crucifixion simply by declaring 'I am Vito', everyone else apparently being called 'Spartacus'.
4 Wolf106613th Jan 2013 07:36:10 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Typin' strangely
Contrast with romantic relationships they have - have one in a romantic relationship, it breaks up and they resume FWB sex as they always do when they're both not in a romantic relationship.

Couple this with the no jealousy aspects mentioned above.

I had a similar idea for a couple of my characters in an earlier story - it finished up with them having a Relationship Upgrade to romantic partners
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
5 TheMuse14th Jan 2013 05:12:22 AM , Relationship Status: Browsing the selection
I was thinking about something perhaps kinda like:
  • The first time they have a sexual experience with each other they're kind of intoxicated, and whenever they have sex before then, they're at least kind of buzzed. They try having sex when they're completely sober and feel really umcomfortable about it.
Also, these two characters are very open and have No Sense of Personal Space so it's not emotional intimacy they're afraid of.

6 TheMuse14th Jan 2013 06:11:18 PM , Relationship Status: Browsing the selection
Does the prevous description^ sound realistic/believable?

edited 14th Jan '13 6:11:23 PM by TheMuse

7 Prime_of_Perfection15th Jan 2013 06:33:03 PM , Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
Where force fails, cunning prevails
For suggested reading which could help in portraying it, I'd read The Ethical Slut. Pretty intriguing read.
8 TheMuse16th Jan 2013 04:58:11 PM , Relationship Status: Browsing the selection
The book the trope is named after? I'll have to check it out.
9 Tiamatty17th Jan 2013 06:23:42 PM from Now on Twitter , Relationship Status: Brony
Just write them as friends. Make it clear that the sexual stuff is simply something they do for fun. Have them not talk about it often, not because it's private or uncomfortable, but because it just doesn't seem important.

Basically, aside from the occasional "Wanna bang?" type interaction, have the sexual stuff just not really come up.

Or maybe someone could ask if they're dating, or suggest they date, and they react with laughter. They say they'd make a terrible couple, and that it would feel really weird and wrong. And that they'll stick to just banging, thank you very much.
10 Wolf106617th Jan 2013 08:05:41 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Typin' strangely
[up]That seems very workable. There needs to be a plausible reason why they don't officially "go together".

That reason could very well be they realise that they would not work as life-time co-habiting partners. They would, however, care for each other very much (as friends do) trust each other, like each other (love each other as dear friends) but still not be "in love with" one another.

They would enjoy sex with one another when they have it - the earlier suggestion from the OP that it'd "feel wrong" when sober but OK when intoxicated does not ring true and seems to bring about Unfortunate Implications regarding them taking advantage of one another while "under the influence".

While sober, sex would not "feel wrong", but it'd be "just sex" with no connotation of "being a couple" attached to it.

"I'm horny, you're horny, we like and trust each other, let's do something about it." sort of stuff rather than "I'm drunk so I'll do something that I would feel wrong about when sober".

From my own experience of having fuck buddies, it's not something we were ashamed of or felt wrong about. It was nice fun sex with a trusted person (rather than some random stranger met at a pub whom you never see again).

On the plus side, when you're together you can hang out and chat or do other things you enjoy doing together (watching vids, arguing about religion, whatever) or you can fuck, no obligation to do anything in particular.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
11 TairaMai17th Jan 2013 09:49:14 PM from El Paso Tx , Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
rollin' on dubs
There are three ways "Friends with Benefits" can go:

  • Relationship Upgrade, they decide to take it to the next level

  • The messy breakup a la Chasing Amy: sex does complicate relationships and some people just can't get over sleeping with someone.

  • They remain close friends (and move on later): yes this does happen, just remember that sex alone is not enough to feed a romantic relationship. eventually they would move on to other people but remain friends.

The tricky part is writing and showing not telling the audience that, yes Virgina, they are just friends. People would ask the characters many, many times "Are you sure you're not involved?"/"When are you two going to get together?"

If they do try to get involved, remember the green eyed monster: they try to date only to have the partner question why Alice is still friends with her "ex" Bob.
12 RedneckRocker18th Jan 2013 05:47:09 AM from None Of Your Business
First Loyalty: Yourself
As much as I hate to quote Seth MacFarlane, I think a slightly changed quote from Brian Griffin fits:

"There are a lot of different types of love in the world, and the one we've got just feels right."

edited 18th Jan '13 5:47:35 AM by RedneckRocker

Embroiled in slave rebellion, I escaped crucifixion simply by declaring 'I am Vito', everyone else apparently being called 'Spartacus'.
Raven Wilder
Just spitballing here:

One of their parents or another elderly relative finds out they're sleeping together, and assumes they're dating. Concerned what the relative's reaction would be to their sex-without-romance deal, they pretend that they are in fact dating, but even just pretending to be a couple is awkward and showcases all the reasons they shouldn't be together. Eventually they "break up" and tell the relative that they're just friends now.

At which point the relative tells them they should try being friends with benefits. Cue the laugh track, freeze frame, and roll the credits.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.

Total posts: 13