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Friends with Benefits

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"You're the best listener that I've ever met…
You're my best friend
Best friend with benefits"
Alanis Morissette, "Head over Feet"

Alice and Bob enjoy getting together for sex. Wild, rampant, unrestrained bed-shaking, so-loud-it-annoys-the-neighbors Idealized Sex. With this much enthusiasm going on, you can just tell that they're perfect soulmates, bonded for life.

Except they aren't.

As it turns out, their interest in each other doesn't go outside the bedroom. Maybe their personalities clash, or perhaps neither of them wants a long-term relationship, or one or both are Aromantic. When they're not doing the horizontal mambo, they could be Just Friends, indifferent, or even confrontational. If they're on good terms, they might do their best to help each other find true love. But until that happens, they'll get together to knock boots every Saturday, just for fun.

Some people draw a distinction between "Friends with Benefits" and "Fuck Buddies". In this view, fuck buddies are couplings with no emotional relationship, just great sex ("Kink Buddy" is a related term if their activities are BDSM/fetish-related). Friends with benefits, by contrast, are actually friends outside the bedroom, doing things together and providing emotional support just like platonic friends would.

In fiction, such relationships are a convenient starting point for romantic angst. Even though this kind of friendship in real life can last a lifetime and they might continue to fool around despite marriages or long-term relationships, per the Rule of Drama or just human nature, fiction or stories real and otherwise would have you believe the setup isn't at all sustainable, as one or the other will eventually decide they want a romantic relationship after all. This results in either a Relationship Upgrade (possibly signified by I Got You a Drawer) or a breakup.

Often happens in a relationship with a Hooker with a Heart of Gold or an Ethical Slut.

Contrast with its inversion, Chastity Couple. Both are subtropes of Romance and Sexuality Separation. Also see Everybody Has Lots of Sex, Will They or Won't They? (when it's made ambiguous whether they're more than friends or not), Just Friends, and Unresolved Sexual Tension. Compare with Stupid Sexy Friend, when one is trying (often in vain) to suppress sexual thoughts about a friend.

The term has been around for a while, but it was repopularized in the nineties by the Alanis Morissette song "Head Over Feet".


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Hello, Melancholic!, Chika refers to her relationship with Sakiko as this by outright using the term "fuck buddies" in a conversation with Minato.
  • The (very explicit) Yuri manga Maka-Maka (2003) is about two women who insist they're just this—though it's blatantly obvious to the reader that they're way beyond just friends.
  • Akkan Baby focuses on two extremely naive friends who had zero idea of the potential consequences of what they were doing. Pregnancy ensues.
  • Japan and Greece from Hetalia: Axis Powers, who wind up having sex mainly because Japan ranked last place in a sex frequency poll and Greece (in first place on the same poll) decides to teach him how to enjoy doing it more. Though there are hints that Greece harbors genuine romantic feelings for his friend and it hasn't escaped shippers' attention that Japan doesn't seem to be the kind of person who'd sleep with someone on a whim alone.
  • In ...Virgin Love, Kaoru and Daigo have what is supposed to be an anonymous one-night stand, but then meet again at work. Kaoru doesn't want a relationship but thinks the sex is too good to give up so he and Daigo become sex friends instead. Daigo quickly falls for Kaoru.
  • Lupin III: Lupin's on-again/off-again relationship with Fujiko blends this with Dating Catwoman. Because they alternate between being partners, rivals, and even enemies (on occasion), it's likely the closest they'll ever come to anything resembling a stable relationship — which Fujiko lampshades in The Castle of Cagliostro:
    Fujiko: [to Clarisse] We're friends, yes. We've been enemies, too. On occasion, we've even been lovers.
  • In Kyō, Koi o Hajimemasu, the male lead Kyota doesn't have a girlfriend, but he gets together with his senpai, Yuki, for sex. He stops once he's officially in a relationship with Tsubaki.
  • Dragon Pink: Pias is an elven sorceress, who has to absorb mana through sex to sustain her power. So she sleeps with Bobo, usually whenever their travelling party stops at an inn. It's understood that their arrangement is strictly business; not that Bobo's complaining. Eventually subverted by chapter 11 of the manga version, when Pias learns that she's pregnant with Bobo's childnote . They take the news well and retire as a couple, by chapter 24, after she gives birth to their son.
  • Buchi and Taishou's relationship from Mekko Rarekko is this. Whenever they have sex, it's usually Taishou who's benefiting from it. They see themselves as Just Friends, but even though they have yet to admit it, they are secretly in love with each other.
  • In Beastars Haru the rabbit and Louis occasionally bang in the gardening clubhouse. She would like to be more than friends, he decidedly does not.
  • In Bloom Into You, Rei Koito (the main character's older sister) and her boyfriend Hiro had apparently been "doing it" for some time before their relationship officially began. She doesn't want to admit that to other people, though, and mentions that she confessed to him in order to take the ambiguity out of their relationship.
  • Scum's Wish:
    • The manga revolves around Hanabi and Mugi, two teenagers who are each in unrequited love with a teacher. They begin a physical relationship to comfort each other, although they stop short of sex. Naturally, it ends up getting complicated.
    • Hanabi and Sanae also begin fooling around eventually; Sanae has feelings for Hanabi and is willing to take anything she can get from her and is also well aware that Hanabi is afraid that refusing will end their friendship.
  • Sexfriend is a hardcore hentai in which Good Bad Girl Mina seduces her virgin friend Takabe purely for fun. They start engaging in fiery sex as often as they can, yet still keep their relationship casual, even though Takabe realizes he wants more than just Mina's body.
  • Convenient Semi-Friend: It's right there in the title. All of Ruka's relationships are built around making out with sefure, the Japanese term for friends with benefits. The literal translation is "sex friend", but Ruka stresses that she's never actually gone as far as having sex. Mostly it's just heavy petting. When she tried to explain what a sefure is to the naive Suuna, she stammered out the term "semi-friend" to avoid damaging her wholesome aura.
  • The hentai anime Sex Friend Osananajimi begins with two former Childhood Friends reconnecting after a high school reunion at a coffee shop, and reminiscing about their youth. Many years before, they made a pact that they would use each other to explore numerous pleasure techniques, while remaining Just Friends. However, as graduation approached, they made the decision to stop using each others bodies' for carnal pleasure, and keep in touch for as long as possible, and joke about being a booty call, but ended up going their separate ways and losing contact. In the present, they reveal that they both married and divorced spouse that left them for another person, though they didn't have kids, and after drinking their coffees they go to a love hotel. During the throes of passion, they agree that it was a mistake to not have admitted their romantic feelings long ago, and after they finish, they confess that they fell, and have been, in love with one another for years and at the end they decide to enter a relationship, with the implication that they will get married in the future.

    Comic Books 
  • Shortly after One More Day, Spider-Man tried having this kind of relationship with Black Cat...It didn't last long.
  • Iron Man: This describes Tony Stark's relationship with most of the recurring characters he's slept with. Most prominently, She-Hulk, since the two of them are Avengers that are well known for "getting around".
  • Nightwing: Dick Grayson tends to have these types of relationship a lot.
  • Happens almost all the time in ElfQuest... because Everyone Is Bi.
  • This trope is the best definition of the relationship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in Harley's New 52 comic, though they've also been written as being in an open relationship. They are not dating but it is more than implied that their current relationship is sexual. Harley even has a dream where she married Bruce Wayne and Ivy was invited to the honeymoon. This trope applies to pretty much every work where Harley and Ivy appear together, to the point where it would be considered out of character if it didn't happen.
  • X-Men: Storm and Wolverine are shown to have this kind of friendship when they're not actively involved with someone else.

    Comic Strips 
  • Played for a gag in one Pearls Before Swine strip:
    Woman: [talking about her boyfriend] We're "friends with benefits".
    Pig: It's good to have affordable medical insurance.

    Fan Works 
  • In the RWBY fanfic at least it was here, Pyrrha and Jaune start a relationship like this. They're both in love with the other but unaware their feeling are mutual, so they figure it's better than nothing. Nora, who does know they're both in love with each other (but was forced to promise she wouldn't say anything) facepalms repeatedly at this.
  • Break Your Heart: Rainbow had this relationship with both Fluttershy and Gilda simultaneously while they were living in Cloudsdale.
  • A Brighter Dark: Corrin and Niles get this relationship literally the moment they meet, due to meeting in a tavern without previously knowing each other's identities, and when they do realize, decided that it was good enough to keep doing anyway. There doesn't appear to be any animosity between them, though there doesn't seem to be any emotional ties either, indicating it is likely just for pleasure.
  • Diaries of a Madman: Nav accrues a surprising number of these though not all of them work out well.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic Friendly Help, Ellaria Sand and Willas Tyrell are this: they are generally just friends, but when he thinks he could never be any good in bed with his injured leg, she spends a few nights with him to convince him otherwise. Willas, however, feels awkward and guilty about it, especially since Ellaria is the paramour of his good friend Oberyn (who is the one to suggest the scheme, actively encourages it, and is in an open relationship with Ellaria anyway).
  • In Green, Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle have this arrangement when the story begins. It gets complicated when, after helping talk Rarity through her relationship concerns, Pinkie realizes she's properly falling for Twilight.
  • Herding Cats uses the Homestuck troll slang term 'rails with pails' for sex between a pair of moirails (who are the equivalent of platonic soulmates, and would not normally have sexual relations). Pails are part of it because troll procreation involves buckets and for Rhymes on a Dime reasons.
  • iCarly fan fic iNever Knew and its sequel, iNever Knew This Would Be So Hard. While Freddie wants to be boyfriend and girlfriend, Carly wants to be friends with benefits, which they attempt, albeit by experimenting sexually but not sleeping together again. Carly is scared of a Relationship Upgrade because she's used to her and her brother wrecking their relationships and never speaking to the other person after they break up, so feels if they keep it casual, she can avoid hurting Freddie whilst still giving him what she believes he wants most. Freddie gets concerned that because Carly doesn't want to tell anyone, and that they haven't slept together again, that Carly thinks it's a mistake.
  • In the NSFW RWBY fanfic Love Hurts, Jaune and Weiss end up in such a relationship in Atlas. Or, they insist they're just friends with benefits, but considering the number of times they both turn down other options, it might be something more. The various other couples pretty much just treat them as boyfriend/girlfriend but don't really make an issue of it.
  • The Monkey D. Haru Series:
    • Tom's parents, Nico Robin and Franky, were originally this, but they eventually fell in love and got married.
    • As of the current storyline, Sirius Black and Marguerite.
  • In The New Man: An Adam Smasher SI, Adam propositions the head of his PR team, Chiri Tanaka, for casual but intense hook-ups. She agrees with extreme enthusiasm, and may be angling for something more given that she starts bringing up her family life whenever she gets a chance to speak to him. Adam, for his part, is not interested in anything deeper, but at the very least finds her cute (thanks to her having a classic Office Lady look that stands out against modern cyberpunk styles that he finds disagreeable) and bothers to remember her name.
  • New Tamaran: This is the general sex life among all heroes who are age-appropriate and not in a serious romantic relationship.
  • A Prize for Three Empires: Carol Danvers and Wolverine were partners during the former's CIA stint. They weren't a couple but friends who often slept with each other.
  • Shatterheart: Kurogane and R!Syaoran eventually become close friends and form an agreement to start having a sexual relationship. Kurogane does this to comfort Syaoran and initially believes that Syaoran understood that the relationship was temporary. It hits a snag when Syaoran starts to believe that Kurogane has feelings for him, which Kurogane tries to nip in the bud to no avail.
  • Shudo cross Modern Ash: The Trainer who Questions Humanity has this in play with Ash and his first three female companions Misty, May, and Dawn. All recognize that their relationship could develop into more, but the main issue to overcome would be Ash's inability to stay in one place for too long and their desire to eventually settle down. A second fic of the type, Shudo cross Modern Ash: The Professor Who Observes his Charges has this in play with Ash, Serena, and Verity.
  • From the same author, there's Orange Rose Gathering. Chapter 5 reveals that Chloe has harbored feelings for Ash that she's been in denial of. Ash tells her that it's up to her if she wants to pursue a relationship with him or not, while his harem is willing to let them be this trope, at least for the time being.
  • The amicable arrangement between Earth male Philip Holtack and Discworld vampire Sally von Humpeding in Slipping Between Worlds.
  • Tyrantly Ever After: In hopes of settling Fuka's shipping efforts once and for all, Valvatorez reveals that he and Fenrich have been "comrades who trust each other wholly, mentally and physically" for literal centuries. Fuka expresses doubt that their relationship is truly platonic; while it's clear to her how Fenrich feels, she can't tell whether Valvatorez is unaware of his feelings or not.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is the relationship between Jia-Chien and her ex-boyfriend in Eat Drink Man Woman. They get together regularly to chat and to knock heels, but otherwise prefer to see other people.
  • Also Tomas and Sabina in The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
  • In Jackie Brown, Louis and Melanie have this sort of relationship. However, Melanie is a bit of a slut, although she seems to like Louis- he's an old friend whom she hasn't seen in a long time. This all goes to shit when Louis shoots her for trying to take the half million for herself, plus being overly annoying, even for her.
  • In Vanilla Sky, the main character has a "Fuck Buddy" relationship with a model. The "buddy" in question takes things a little more seriously when she finds out the true nature of the relationship, it doesn't end well.
  • In the comedy No Strings Attached (2011), Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman star as a pair of these. You can really tell because (a) They're both getting redressed on the movie poster and (b) It actually says on the poster "Friendship has its benefits".
  • Friends with Benefits feature Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake as another such pair. They have this setup because they're too busy to go dating. Complications arise when Romance Ensues.
  • In the TV movie Stone Cold, Chief Jesse Stone and Abby have this kind of relationship until she's murdered by a serial killer.
  • Ted and Annie in Bridesmaids — she hates him but the sex is great. When she "dumps" him, he drives off with the line "you're no longer my number three!"
  • The musical Summer Holiday has a musical number based on this trope: "A Swingin' Affair". When Don and Barbara are contemplating their relationship (taking into account Don's commitment issues and goal to "find the right girl" to settle down with), they decide to keep it casual — or in the words of the lyrics, "Love won't make us an April Fool/Now we've both decided to play it cool". The song also details what they'll plan to do: go out on dates, kiss in the moonlight, etc., but with no romantic feelings attached ("We'll enjoy the magic but we won't fall in love"). However, the end of the song implies that the two of them are in denial ("...And we'll pretend we are not aware/This is more, so much more, than a swinging affair").
  • The Guardian (2006): Fisher, one of the Coast Guard rescue swimmer trainees starts to hook up with a school teacher named Emily. He tells her that he can do casual, but at the end, after he's finished training, he comes to her and says, "I can't do casual." Fortunately for him, she agrees.
  • In the The Student Nurses, Dr. Casper suggests that he and Phred become friends in this scene, it's revealed that Phred thinks that they should have this kind of relationship. NSFW
  • Given a horror spin in the (NSFW) short film Fuck Buddies, in what initially appears to be a quirky "mumblecore" indie rom-com about the relationship between two friends and room-mates becoming increasingly complicated by this trope starts getting darker when it gradually becomes clear that a seemingly malevolent supernatural force is manipulating them into doing so. Specifically, the ghost of their unborn future son trying to gain existence.

  • In Dragon Bones, a freed slave who has decided to join Ward's ragtag group of adventurers starts such a relationship with the two adult males in the group, and tries to seduce Ward, too. He tells her that casual sex is not for him. It turns out she wasn't so friendly, after all, when she tries to get Ward killed for rejecting her. She didn't love him, but she can't deal with rejection. There is also Queen Tehedra's affair with Beckram - she is very fond of him, but not romantically in love. He is a ladies' man who likes her, but not more.
  • French Sci-Fi novel Malevil features Emmanuel and Birgitta. Emmanuel is a rancher and she was a German girl who would spend time in town and work for his uncle. After the uncle's death, she turns her eye on Emmanuel and makes their relationship very clear: recreational sex and nothing more. They have a happy affair for a while before she leaves for home and writes to announce her marriage. Emmanuel takes it harder than he should have and has to remind himself of what their relationship was.
  • The titular Fire and her childhood friend Archer from Kristin Cashore's Fire.
  • Spoofed in parody self-help book Oh the Humanity, in which all of the Unreliable Narrator's relationships like this supposedly end with the sexual component curtailed for fear of "damaging the friendship". The actual phrases they use?
    I never want to do that again. You have the muscle tone of gravy, but your caress has all the tenderness of a nail gun. I'd rather eat you — literally, cook and eat your flesh — than find myself in your arms again.
  • Spendwell and Thorn in Frostflower and Thorn. Played straight without romantic complications, as Spendwell comes to entertain feelings for Frostflower and Thorn plans to get him off it by arranging a match between him and another young lady. In fact, to even call them friends might be questionable if they hadn't shown obvious concern toward each others' welfare.
  • Ruby and Marshall in Lock and Key. It ends about halfway through the novel so that Ruby is cleared to fall in love with the novel's male lead, Nate.
  • Guardians of the Flame: Doria and Walter have been in a relationship like this for an unspecified period at the start of the series.
  • In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Candy Starr is a Hooker with a Heart of Gold, she is a friend of Randle McMurphy and shows sympathy towards the other interns. She and Randle are true friends and had sex multiple times but aren't a couple and have no problems with each other sleeping with different partners.
  • The Teresa Knight Trilogy: Teresa has lots of relationships like this, and often sees friends/acquaintances of hers who are also her casual sex partners.
  • A variation in The Bio of a Space Tyrant series by Piers Anthony. In "Mercenary", Hope forms a friendship with Juana, a Hispanic refugee like himself. Due to their Dark and Troubled Past both have issues with sex (Juana was raped by space pirates, and Hope is still mourning The Lost Lenore) but the military requires its soldiers to have mandatory sex at least once a week, usually in a military brothel called The Tail. As they both loathe the idea of having meaningless sex with an often disinterested stranger, they become "friends and sexual partners, but not lovers".
  • A lot of characters in the Heralds of Valdemar series see nothing wrong with an affectionate fling, including the titular Heralds. Their borderline-Ethical Slut ways are justified since they're all gods-verified Good People in a job so dangerous that dying young is a definite possibility and permanent bonds aren't wise.
  • The Change Room: Shar has arrangements like this with mulitiple other people. Most of them are, or started as, clients of hers, but she also feels genuine affection for them outside of this too.
  • One of the later Honor Harrington novels reveals that Havenite President Eloise Pritchart and her lifelong close friend and fellow member of the April Tribunal, Kevin Usher, used to blow off some steam in bed together during their revolutionary days. This ended when they moved on to truly romantic relationships with the loves of their lives, but they remained dear friends.
  • Spellster: Dylan and Authril start having sex during In Pain and Blood. Both deny they are lovers though, keeping it casual and having sex with other people too while they stay friendly. Also, this was common practice in the tower.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Against the Wall, Abby wants her and Brody to stay as Friends with Benefits. He wants a Relationship Upgrade. They negotiate an in-between stage.
  • In Becker, Dr. John Becker has this for one episode with one of Reggie's friends from her modeling days to help distract him from smoking cigarettes, which he has been trying to quit. Unfortunately, she ends up leaving town by the end of the episode and Becker lights up shortly after.
  • Dr. Brennan of Bones started the series uninterested in permanent relationships but ready to pursue sex with men she found suitably impressive.
  • Brad and Denise end up in this trope towards the end of season 2 of Boston Legal. Possibly lampshaded with Denise repeatedly claiming they are "only friends... with benefits." But the Friends With Benefits does lead to the two eventually getting married and having a kid.
  • At one point on Boy Meets World after Shawn and Angela break up they try to have no strings attached sex but Shawn gets too emotional about it and Angela calls it off before they can even get past the makeout foreplay.
  • Brave New World: Lenina and her friend Frannie seem to be like this, since the latter tries initiating sex with her, though she rejects it. Given the society's mores, it's probably most-even all-New Londoner friendships have this.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith and Xander were not exactly friends, about as close as they got was him revealing that Angel was alive, and all for killing him. Nonetheless, in Xander's character episode, he saves Faith from a group of vampires, then they do the deed, Faith later treating it as a casual fling. Then, when he tries to use their "connection" to talk to her about her accidental murder of the Deputy Mayor, this becomes a Moral Event Horizon crossing, as she refuses to listen, insists that guys only ever want one thing from her, pushes him onto the bed and starts forcing herself on him, and chokes him before Angel knocks her out.
  • In Castle, Esposito and Lainie apparently become this after their romantic relationship fizzles: Lainie mentions them having broken up but that they still get together for the odd "booty call".
  • Glen is this to Paige from Charmed. The two knew each other since kindergarten and had an on and off again relationship throughout high school, but have remained friends with benefits by the time of his introduction. Paige later develops feelings for him but is disappointed when she meets his fiancé.
  • Community: This was the arrangement between Jeff and Britta in season 2. They gave it up the second everyone else found out about it, because the Secret Relationship aspect was the only thing keeping it fun.
  • Dark Matter (2015): Two and Three in "Episode 5". After Two and One start hooking up in "Episode 7" onwards, Two insists that it's this, but One is clearly interested in more and Two's denial of emotional attachment rings hollow.
  • Dear White People: Sam and Gabe's relationship, although he'd like more.
  • In Defying Gravity, astronaut Nadia Schilling is in a "friends with benefits" relationship with a fellow astronaut. She even uses the term on several occasions.
  • On Farscape Aeryn suggests she and John have one of these. Because he's in love with her, he turns her down. It should be noted that this verges upon being a Hat for the Peacekeepers, as their SOP requires that sex remain strictly recreational or procreative (when assigned). This is their default relationship state.
  • Walter and Isabela start off as this on The Finder though a Relationship Upgrade is on the cards.
  • Friends:
    • Monica and Richard attempt this after their breakup, but while he takes the new situation to the letter, Monica starts falling back in love. It culminates with her preparing a sexy surprise in his bedroom just as he arrives home with another woman he'd been set up with. Awkwardness ensues, and eventually Monica figures out it can't work.
    • Chandler also had this deal with a woman he dated. Despite being thrilled initially, he broke it off when he realized he couldn't handle just sex and wanted a real relationship.
    • Later on Monica and Chandler try for no-strings-attached sex in London. Considering how well their previous attempts to invoke this trope have gone down, you can imagine how well that went. At first it's just sex in London, then only while on London time, then just "goofing around", then...ok, safe to say it ends with them Happily Married. There's a reason the two of them are the poster couple for Sex Equals Love.
    • Interestingly, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc wanted this for Phoebe and Joey with no intent to turn it into a relationship later on, but the executives backed out.
  • In Friends with Benefits, the series starts off with Ben and Sara as such friends who ask each other for relationship advice after each session.
  • Brittany and Santana were this in the early seasons of Glee when Santana was struggling to know whether she was into males or females (or both) and ditzy Brittany just went along with it.
  • Chase and Cameron on House. Eventually leads to Sex Equals Love.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Barney and Robin have this sort of thing going for a while. Then Lily holds them prisoner until they decide on being either friends or boyfriend/girlfriend. They eventually choose the Relationship Upgrade.
    • Ted and Robin had this type of relationship in "Benefits", as part of the writers' continuing efforts to have them hook up at least once a season. In a neat little twist, despite a few worrying implications of Sex Equals Love, neither of them ends up being hurt by the arrangement: Barney is.
    • When Lilly's dad and Marshall's mom hook up they refer to it as Family with Benefits. Squick.
  • Lip Service: Lexy has this relationship with Bea, a fellow nurse at the hospital.
  • What Dyson and Bo try to have in Lost Girl, but they both develop feelings for each other.
  • Deconstructed in Masters of Sex. Virginia wants to just be this with Ethan, but this being The '50s such a relationship is practically a foreign concept. They have a violent breakup once Ethan gets through his head that she was never in love with him (literally: she ends up with a bloody nose), and though they make up later, they don't resume the relationship.
  • Sonny and Gina on Miami Vice, for a little while.
  • Kyle and Jade tried this on Neighbours, though Jade was already in love with Kyle by this point.
  • Night and Day's Tom Brake and Della Wells became this towards the end of the series – this before learning that, biologically speaking, they are cousins!
  • Nicky and Morello were this in Orange Is the New Black. Morello, who (probably) was participating mostly because it was the way to have her needs fulfilled while in prison, later cut the benefits, but the two remained friends.
  • Roswell, New Mexico: Max and Cam apparently had an established pattern of semi-regular hookups before the start of the series, but they downgrade it to platonic friendship during the course of season 1.
  • Schitt's Creek: After David and Stevie's highly unexpected, at least by her, stoned hookup, they decide to try being friends with benefits. It doesn't work, as he gets jealous of a man who shows interest in her, and she eventually develops feelings he can't return. They eventually settle into being Amicable Exes.
  • On Scrubs, J.D. and Elliot attempt a "sex buddies" *FANFARE* type of relationship, but it doesn't work out.
  • Ricky and Adrian from The Secret Life of the American Teenager had this kind of relationship on and off for nearly two seasons before finally calling it off for good.
  • Jerry and Elaine try to do this on Seinfeld, "The Deal". They propose a set of ground rules by which they can have both "this" (with a gesture at the space between them as they sit companionably on the couch) and "that" (pointing towards the bedroom). They soon find that it doesn't work out without having "this, that, and the other"—i.e., a full romantic relationship. George tells Jerry An Aesop message about how "it can't be done—" and that people have tried to do it throughout history, to no avail. Naturally, he's proven right.
  • In Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw gets into a detailed discussion on the distinction between Friends with Benefits and Fuck Buddies.
  • Sex/Life: Sasha is in a relationship with Brad like this when the series starts, which Billie finds out by walking in to find him in Sasha's apartment (to her dismay, as she has a resurgent attraction for him).
  • The Sex Lives of College Girls: Bela has a relationship like this with Eric initially, sleeping with him but also other guys. When she sees him with another girl, Bela gets jealous though and realizes she'd rather really date him, which Eric agrees to.
  • She's Gotta Have It: Nola has relationships like this with Jamie, Mars, Greer and Opal, insisting that she doesn't want anything more (even when they do). It's difficult to sustain at times.
  • Shoestring: Eddie and his landlady, Erica Bayliss.
  • Nate and his friend in Six Feet Under, lampshaded by his sister ("So you're like, what, Fuck Buddies?"). They eventually get a Relationship Upgrade.
  • In Smallville, season nine, Chloe Sullivan seems to be content to have nothing except their "favourite indoor activity" with Oliver Queen. They're married by the finale.
  • On True Blood, several of the main characters are shown casually hooking up throughout the series; sometimes there's angst over whether or not the relationship should upgrade, sometimes there isn't.
  • Twenties: Lorraine and Hattie had no commitment, but slept together sometimes, with an amiable relationship.
  • Damon and Rose agree to enter this sort of relationship in the second season of The Vampire Diaries, with Rose describing it as being his "special friend".
  • White Collar:
    • Neal and Alex had this type of relationship on and off, though it was heavily hinted that Alex had deeper feelings for him, even though he was in love with Kate. Neal himself mentioned Alex as one of his exes that Rebecca took traits from to create the perfect persona that Neal would fall for.
    • Neal and Sarah also tried this after the events of season 3. It didn't stay that way long.
  • In Wonderfalls, Mahandra believes this is what she and Aaron are engaging in; Aaron wants more. Mahandra does too, but she's in denial.

  • The 1995 Alanis Morissette song "Head over Feet" is the Trope Namer.
  • The Sparks' "All You Ever Think About Is Sex":
    In a world of lovers
    we don't love each other much
    Fact is we're too busy
    to love each other much
  • "Get Mine Get Yours" by Christina Aguilera is about a relationship like this.
    I want your body, not your heart
  • "Friends and Lovers" by Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson.
    So I'll be your friend
    And I'll be your lover
    'Cause, I know in our hearts we agree
    We don't have to be one or the other
    Oh, no
    We could be both to each other
    • Also see the country version.
  • "In The Dark" by JoJo is about this type of situation.
    • Jojo is wary of growing feelings for her bed buddy, though.
      Try to stay desensitized / Keep my feelings out of mind
    • Take The Canyon also has this element to it
      Sometimes I need to paint, you can be my canvas/Sometimes I want to escape, even though it’s selfish
      As the clock strikes twelve I’ll be freaking you out/Make us both forget what we were worried about
      If I waited for you, I'd just be waiting alone/So when the clock strikes two, I'll be on my way home
  • "Urgent" by Foreigner. The speaker seems to want a Relationship Upgrade, even though he tells himself he just wants sex.
  • One common interpretation of Todd Rundgren's "Hello It's Me" is that it's about this.
  • Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" is interpreted as being about this.
    • "Looking For A Good Time" is also thought to be about this as well.
  • In K.T Oslin's "I'll Always Come Back", she either dated or had a brief fling or a one night stand with her bed buddy:
    Well there's a wooden wonder from a way down under
    They call a boomerang, if you handle it right, it'll come back
    But you must have had one when you were a boy
    'Cause you've got the touch that turns me into a toy
    And like a boomerang, I'll come back
    • Also implied in her song "Live Close By, Visit Often": she really likes a guy but doesn't want to get married or live together, as that hasn't worked for her in the past. Hence they can still be friends and lovers but live seperately.
  • "Round and Round" by RATT.
  • "Starring Role" by Marina Diamandis is narrated by someone who's sick of only being there for sex.
  • "Call Me" by Le Click is totally about this, with reason B above. The woman recognizes a personality conflict that is destroying their existing relationship despite the great sex (too many ups and downs with you), and suggests switching to friends with benefits (call me when you need someone) (i will be there for you), knowing the guy wants more. In the version with the rap, the guy agrees to this, even though he still thinks she's the one, because he's gotten permission to return after his attempt with the next girl fails, and he thinks maybe he'll get her next time.
  • Olajide William "KSI" Olatunji has a song that is literally called "Friends With Benefits".
  • "Sexual" by Amber seems to be about something like this: a girl is Platonic Life-Partners with a guy and wants more, but he seems uncertain about it, much to her dismay. She still seems to be trying to win him over, as one line says "you'll see how much you value my friendship, but I want you addicted to my perfume."

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Gautama Dharmasutra, a Hindu moral text, explicitly forbids this trope. It equates sex with a female friend to incest and bestiality.
  • The Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have also condemned all extramarital sex traditionally.


    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate III: If not romanced, Lae'zel might have sex with one of the male party members. Gale wanted to talk instead, and Wyll was mediocre, but Astarion gave her a good time and she intends to ask again in the future.
  • In Borderlands 2, one of the loading screen tips notes "Shields are like friends. The best ones come with additional benefits."
  • Dragon Age:
    • Morrigan and Zevran both view a relationship with the Warden in Dragon Age: Origins to be this at first, though in both cases it evolves into something deeper if you pursue it. In Morrigan's case, it might actually be a subversion: she says that she wants this type of relationship but if you look like you might be inclined to fool around with someone else, she disapproves.
    • One option with Isabela in Dragon Age II is to not mention love at all and just keep on having sex. If neither of them is romanced, Isabela and Fenris seem to develop this kind of relationship.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Inquisitor's romance with Iron Bull, Dorian, and Sera starts out as this. Unsurprisingly, it evolves beyond this if you decide to continue pursuing a relationship. You can also ask Leliana if this was what happened between her and Justinia, she will go into an angry tirade at the cliche.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series' backstory, the Lost Orphaned Royalty and future Queen of Morrowind, Barenziah, had such a relationship with the Nord stableboy, Straw, who helped her to escape from her foster family. Straw wanted it to be more, but Barenziah had no interest.
  • HuniePop: Several of the human suitors (Aiko, Jessie and Lola, specifically), plus unlockables Kyu and Venus, and Secret Character Celeste all view the player character as this.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: Starting at five hearts, the protagonist can flirt with Rex by suggesting that "[his] friendship... has benefits." Since he's a flirtatious guy, he doesn't mind the offer.
    "You don't have to like someone to hook up with them. I kind of like being the one everyone comes to if they just wanna have a good time."
  • The female Shepard's relationship with Garrus in Mass Effect 2 at the beginning fits this to a T. Initially, there is nothing romantic whatsoever about their get-together: Shepard just offers to sleep with Garrus in the middle of a conversation and Garrus replies "Well, why the hell not?". The dialogue that ensues is initially all about reconciling the fact that it's an Interspecies Romance but the focus rapidly and subtly shifts to Garrus revealing how lost and lonely he really is, how he's filled to the brim with self-doubt and how Shepard is the only person in the galaxy who can give him even a moment's solace. At which point it stops being this trope.
  • Combined with Puns in the Portal 2 achievements. There's an achievement called "Friends List With Benefits" for hugging three people on your Steam friends list. Although hugging is the closest thing ATLAS and P-Body get to romance or sex, at one point GLaDOS asks the bots if they know what could happen as a result of hugging...and makes it sound for a moment like it could result in STDs.
  • The Sims series:
    • In The Sims 3, Sims who are close friends may still have the ability to WooHoo, without getting into a romantic relation and such Sims will react slightly differently after the act is done than those in a romantic relationship would.
    • In The Sims 4, the relationship status of WooHoo Partner was added in July 2022, which is a platonic relationship that has access to WooHoo. This status was designed to compliment the addition of sexual orientation to the game, where it is possible to make a Sim whose sexual attraction is not the same as their romantic attraction, making WooHoo Partner the status needed to perform the act with the relevant gender(s).
  • This sums up the relationship between Telia and the Wanderer in Visions & Voices, at least in the Back Story. Their in-game relationship follows the standard Belligerent Sexual Tension pattern, except for the minor detail that they're already screwing like rabbits before love and romance even become an issue.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, it is possible to romance Keira Metz. It never gets serious, but you do get one of those The Witcher sex scenes. Oh, and guess what the achievement name for doing this is?

    Visual Novels 
  • Two in Being A DIK, both involving the MC:
    • The MC used to be in such a relationship with Zoey some time before the story as revealed in the Episode 3 flashback and the interlude, having lost his virginity to her, and the two of them viewing sex as just another fun activity to enjoy together. Both of them seem to have realised their feelings for each other at the time she left for San Diego, and the two of them dealt with it in different ways; as revealed in the interlude, Zoey cut off contact with him believing that it would help him get over her, only to realise that she still had feelings for him, a major factor leading to her returning home in the end of Episode 8 and meeting him in Episode 9. This turns out to have been subverted completely in Episode 10: the MC confesses that she had been his First Love, and Zoey has a Love Epiphany at the end of the Thanksgiving party, which causes her to run into the woods to cry.
    • The MC can also have such a relationship with Sage after she finds out about Chad cheating on her. This arrangement will end, no matter what, in Episode 8, where the player can either end things with her or have a Relationship Upgrade.
  • The Labyrinth of Grisaia: Yuuji Kazami used to have sex with Asako Kusakabe regularly. Yuuji fell in love with Asako but she declined him, due to her imminent death. Afterwards, Yuuji and JB have this relationship to cope with Asako's death, but it only makes them both miserable.
  • In the A-3 fandisk of Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!, at the beginning of Stacy's route you can choose whether Yamato is currently in a relationship. If you decide that he is, he's been sleeping with Chika for a few years with the understanding that as soon as one of them finds someone they really love they'll break it off. Yamato is already incredibly bored with the relationship and zones out even in the middle of sex while Chika actually fell in love with him at some point. Buuut it's not her route, so she gets her heart broken.
  • The eroge Visual Novel Sex Friend Osananajimi ("Childhood Friends With Benefits"), revolves around Childhood Friends Akihara Shiho and Senou Yukihisa deciding to use each other for physical pleasure and experimentation, while remaining Just Friends. Although there are signs that there may be romantic feelings, they decide that it's better to break up this relationship and go their separate ways after graduation. Years later, after bumping into each other at a high school reunion, they go to a nearby coffee shop, where they reveal that in the intertwining years they both married spouses that left them for someone else, though they were both grateful they didn't have kids, which would've complicated things. Following their reunion at the coffee shop, they visit a love hotel, where they admit that it was a mistake to not have confessed their true feelings for each other long ago, and they decide to go into a relationship, which they imply will end up in marriage.
  • Shiny Days:
    • In one ending, Makoto begins sleeping with Ai. He assumes she knew that the relationship was just about sex while she assumed they were dating. She has no real ending, largely as a result of constantly being screwed over by Otome and Karen.
    • During one possible branching Makoto ends up sleeping with Youko, Sekai's mother, without realizing that she's about twice his age. When talking to Setsuna's mother later without knowing who she is either he can say that the relationship is just about sex and that he has no idea why she suddenly came onto him after he walked into her restaurant. This branch can lead to an ending with Mai, her friend Manami or even a four-way ending involving Mai, Youko, and Setsuna.

    Web Comics 
  • Stan and Brandi in Penny and Aggie are this trope on and off for over a year until their failed attempt at a Relationship Upgrade (apparently prompted, however, by Stan accidentally kissing his Friendly Enemy Penny and wishing to avoid the ramifications). Subsequently, Stan and Lisa become friends with benefits.
  • Sven and Faye from the webcomic Questionable Content have a thing like this for a while.
    • It's implied in a guest strip that their intimate moments involve intense amounts of hostility. Which makes it better.
    • Though it's obvious Faye thinks of it as more than just random sex: when Sven sleeps with another girl, she gets all heartbroken and stops seeing him at all. Sven seems to have become very attached, though he seems to be telling himself it's just the sex.
  • Candi had a few characters trying this out, but it eventually gets too complicated.
  • In this comic, Desirae of Alone in a Crowd suggests this to her niece Sara and her best friend Marty much to their mutual annoyance.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Noah tells Elliot that he and Melissa "provide comfort and pleasure to each other" while Melissa is still in love with Justin.
    • Elliot and Nanase's early relationship wasn't exactly romantic.
      Nanase: Besides, you and I know this relationship was little more than two good friends giving each other privileges.
      Elliot: I never liked to think about it that way.
      Nanase: But that's what it was. Name one romantic thing we ever did together.
      Elliot: Does making out in the car outside the movie theater count?
      Nanase: No.
  • Most notably, Miriam and Steven, post-breakup, in Out There. A few other pairings have taken place (or are implied to have taken place) as a part of the back story: Sherry and Steven, Miriam and Wally, and possibly even Miriam and Sherry; there is also a reference to a Friends With Benefits relationship between Miriam and a character named Carlos in one of the flashback stories in the third Out There book.
  • An ambiguous case between the succubi Fuchsia and Baby Blue in Sinfest. They both regularly tempt men with gay-for-pay shows, and they clearly have a friendship with each other beyond what they do for their jobs, but it's very different from Fuchsia's chaste but romantic relationship with Crimnee.
  • Erik in Roommates agreed to such a relationship with Mag but the guy doesn't even know what the expression means (cue Face Palm even from his celibate friend). In spin-off webcomic Girls Next Door the OC Cheryl broke out in a monologue about the trope itself spontaneously... probably she wanted to say something to the boys present.
  • Ally and Lisa of Sunstone started out as this after several months of interaction on the net. It lasted for all of three days before deeper feelings for each other started making themselves known.
  • Ron and Alex in The Eye of Ramalach, which at one point scares off a girl that Ron's friend had been trying to set him up with. And there's yet another girl that Ron kind of likes but has trouble asking out.
  • Vampire Cheerleaders: Suki has this type of arrangement with Leonard, which gets lampshaded several times, during the "Adventures in Space... and Time?!" arc.
    • Katie flat-out calls her Leonard's "v.w.b." and in the same strip, Suki addresses him as "frell buddy"note .
    • Suki alludes to it again, when Katie tries threatening her, by reminding her that she knows where her weak spot is. Except it backfires, when Suki smirks and replies: "Leonard does too. It's right down h-"
    • Shortly after escaping the reptilian vessel, they end up in Lemuria, where she bangs him while they're at the hot springs.
  • In Ménage à 3 (where Everybody Has Lots of Sex), this is a fairly common situation.
    • Zii and Amber get into a specific friends-with-benefits relationship after Zii calls Amber in desperate need of stress relief. When Amber then gets into a possibly-more-serious relationship with Ray (in Sticky Dilly Buns), she cools things with Zii, who starts getting punch-the-wall frustrated as a result.
    • Matt and Kiley refer to their rather passionate sexual relationship as a process of mutual therapy between friends; Kiley wants to think of herself as a cool, objective therapist, and Matt doesn't see himself as a one-woman man. However, it then becomes clear to readers that they are potentially becoming a couple, with strong hints of real mutual affection. Matt and Kiley, however, develop a bad case of shared Selective Obliviousness, leading to disaster; Kiley breaks up with Matt over some stupidity on his part, leaving him with the unhappy realization that he had feelings for her, and her in a set of messy and confused "therapeutic" interactions with other women, despite her own heterosexual preferences.
    • Zii's attempt to use Matt as a friend with benefits then and thus becomes a bit of an emotional disaster.
    • Peggy calls on Gary for stress relief. Surprisingly, although she's using him as an outlet for her pegging fetish despite his (initial) discomfort with that, their subsequent conversation is not only friendly but unusually thoughtful and constructive (by the standards of this comic, at least). They develop a pegging-with-benefits relationship that remains highly amicable. So although the eventual Relationship Upgrade takes some effort, it feels entirely plausible.
  • Pixie Trix Comix, a sequel to Ménage à 3 (above), also features a number of relationships that look more like friendships-with-benefits than deep romances; examples would include Aaron's fling with Nikki and any sexual relationship involving Sharon that ascends to the level even of friendship. However, a specific example might be Aaron's relationship with Tess. To begin with, she clearly finds him irritating much of the time, but he makes himself useful, and she starts to use him as a source of ideas and amusing company. Then, faced with a possible committed relationship with Dora, she decides that she wants a last heterosexual fling, and Aaron is nearby...
  • In the backstory of Girl Genius, Lucrezia and Klaus — until she marries his best friend and tries to conquer the world anyway.
  • In A Storm's Lullaby, Thistle falls in love with Tempest Shadow, but although the two of them share several kisses together Tempest still rejects her for feeling she doesn't deserve Thistle for everything she did in the past. Shortly after they arrive at Thistle's cottage though, Tempest tells her she would like for them to be "friends with benefits", saying she enjoys Thistle's affection but relationships are too complicated for her.
  • Copper eyes: Darcy's jealousy of Blaise is not entirely unfounded, as he is in a sexual relationship with Roman.

    Web Original 
  • Zeke and Lizzie of Seeking Truth. Played for drama since Zeke only admits his love for her after she's murdered.
  • In The Wulf Archives, Wulf has a few serious lovers, but the other women in his life are this trope, who like him and make no demands on him beyond an open invitation to their beds when he comes around.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Fry and Amy were briefly this on Futurama; oddly enough, they found out they liked it better without the "benefits" part.
  • Strangely enough, Star vs. the Forces of Evil gives us a G-rated version of this trope, with Marco and Kelly becoming "breakup buddies" that engage in kissing and other intimate behavior in order to cope with lingering feelings for other people in their life: the former had undergone a Belated Love Epiphany for his best friend Star after his girlfriend dumped him, while the latter is trying to permanently end an awkward Relationship Revolving Door with her ex-boyfriend Tad.
  • In the Undergrads episode "Roommates", Nitz starts to feel attracted to his friend Jessie after he walks in on her and her towel falls off, giving him an eyeful of everything. Rocko suggests this as a solution, but Nitz denies it. It's hinted throughout the series and confirmed in the final episode that Jessie liked Nitz the entire time, so Rocko was probably right.
    Rocko: Friends can do it.

Alternative Title(s): Friend With Benefits