Friends with benefits prevalent among youth

Nedda Pourahmady

During his sophomore year of high school, Andrew King had his eye on the “easy” girl of the school. He liked the girl, but not enough to date her. In the end, he ended up using her for sex.

King, sophomore communication studies major, said they were friends with benefits because at the time, he felt it was the cool thing to do.

Additionally, he said it was nice having no strings attached while receiving “perks” at the same time.

However, King said he now feels that being friends with benefits simply to use someone for sexual purposes is both mean and insensitive.

“Being friends with benefits seems immature,” King said. “I wouldn’t do it now unless there was a really good reason.”

Mike McNichol, freshman integrated life sciences major, said he thinks the whole concept of being friends with benefits is wrong.

“That stuff is only meant for marriage and serious commitments, not casual relationships,” McNichol said. “Friends aren’t supposed to act in that way.”

Laurie Wagner, part-time human sexuality instructor, said being friends with benefits gets rid of some of the structure in a relationship.

“Those students who might be averse to participating in traditional relationships might resort to being friends with benefits,” Wagner said.

Additionally, she said those who take part in this type of relationship may really value commitment.

“They may be saving the full aspect of a relationship for someone they really care about,” Wagner said. “It’s a way of meeting their sexual needs without being with the wrong person.”

When he was just starting college, junior education major Dan Schroeter said he didn’t want to be tied down by just one person. Recently, he said he has a girlfriend whom he is committed to.

He also said he thought being friends with benefits was stupid because it ends up causing problems for both people involved.

However, Schroeter said he once saw some advantages in the whole concept.

“You get more time with your friends, and you can do different things with different people,” Schroeter said. “But people’s feelings get hurt, you start to get confused about yourself, and you really never get to be close with one person.”

Amy Lynn Nupp, senior general studies major, said she was once friends with benefits simply because it was “one of those heat of the moment type things.”

However, she said a disadvantage to this kind of relationship is that one person may try and become attached, especially if they don’t understand that it’s not going to go anywhere.

Nupp said she thinks many people feel as if they have to have someone else, but are hesitant to follow through with a relationship.

“I think a lot of people have fear of commitment,” Nupp said. “They think if they put a label on it, then it has to stay that way.”

Wagner said many young people resort to being friends with benefits because they don’t have to worry about any of the hassles associated with traditional relationships.

Additionally, she said the media has portrayed this concept.

“We’re seeing explicit depictions of sexuality that aren’t present in traditional romantic relationships,” Wagner said. “Older generations would probably find the whole concept rather strange, and even a little disturbing.”

She also said she believes being friends with benefits is a phase people go through, and that it won’t prevent them from committing in the future.

Overall, Wagner said it’s important to be very open and honest when involved in a friends with benefits relationship.

“Be very clear with the person about what the expectations are,” she said. “Express your feelings earlier then later on — it might save yourself from heartache.”

Contact student life reporter Nedda Pourahmady at [email protected].