I'm Cancelling the Phrase 'Friends With Benefits'

Why do we reserve emotional closeness during sex with people we are dating? The dreaded act of  “catching feels” likens feelings towards a non-exclusive partner to an illness. Aloofness and emotional distance during casual sex is bizarrely equated with strength and control. Why are there so many listicles detailing acts of basic human decency justified with the statement that “it was more than just a hook-up”? If a person goes down on someone and then proceeds to make them scrambled eggs in the morning, can they safely assume that this is a sign that they will enter into an exclusive, long-term relationship? No. 

Modern dating culture outlines three types of relationships

Relationship.

Relationships are between people of any gender, orientation, and can involve two or more parties involved. Theories about relationships span over multiple disciplines, but a key component of them is emotional closeness and trust.

Hooking-up.

Hooking-up can be between friends or strangers, and implies that one or both parties involved are free to engage sexually with each other. Hooking-up is usually a one, or two time thing, but if it becomes a pattern it becomes a…

Friends With Benefits.

Friends with benefits is easily one of the most problematic phrases in the English language. If these so-called “benefits” elevate the friends into the higher terrain, would this make regular friendship, “friends with disadvantages”? FWB is similar to hooking up, but it implies a pattern of sexual activity. There are multiple articles suggesting that FWB either leads to one person “catching feels” and being rejected by the other, or blossoming into a relationship. FWB can have all the characteristics of a relationships, but those involved are often cautioned against being romantic or having intense emotional conversations that could lead to the dreaded diagnosis of feelings.

Friends, I am proposing a new term: it’s called SWSRP. SWSRP stands for “Sex With Strong Romantic Pals”. It’s clearly a work in progress, but SWSRP involves two close friends who have sex with each other, engage in intense conversations, and are rather romantic with one another. And yet, they are not dating. 

We do not have to reserve emotional and romantic closeness for those who are in a relationship. Instead, breaking open strict categories of emotional and sexual regulations will allow people to be more honest and vulnerable in their relationships, dating or otherwise.