UT students, professor discuss ups, downs of friends with benefits

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Photo Credit: Ella Williams | Daily Texan Staff

UT students juggle difficult coursework and time-consuming organizations, often while working to maintain a social life. However, busy students still have time to be horny.

To manage personal relationships, busy schedules and soaring libidos, many students have worked a “friends with benefits” relationship into their life. While some UT students say they have had great success with FWB relationships, others say they have found it incompatible with their personalities.

Marketing sophomore Charlotte Toomey said FWB works for her because she is clear about her expectations and unattached from her emotions.

“If you start feeling something more or if they’re starting to feel something more, it might be time to have a talk and make sure you’re on the same page and if not, then just cut it off, ” Toomey said. “I’m also kind of emotionless, so that helps a lot.”

The ability to disconnect emotionally is key in FWB relationships, said Nancy Daley, a psychologist and UT professor of human sexuality. Daley said people susceptible to emotional rollercoasters should avoid FWB.

“There are people who are vulnerable to falling in love who should not (try FWB),” Daley said. “People prone to major emotional ups and downs should also avoid it, because that kind of relationship thrives on stability.”

College students say they often learn if FWB is right for them through trial and error.

Matilde Castro, a biochemistry and psychology senior, said while she values FWB because the sex is often better than in a hookup, she isn’t pursuing that type of relationship anymore because it tends to end poorly.

“The sex has usually been better in a friends with benefits situation, but it also usually ends in more pain,” Castro said. “I can’t do the devoid-of-feeling thing anymore.”

Other students say a FWB success may depend on how a “friend” is defined.

Grahm Gonzalez, a management information systems sophomore, said FWB works better when the “friends” part of the term is used loosely.

“The further away you are as friends, (the better). If you’re not involved in everyday life and you know them in passing, then great,” Gonzalez said. “(If not), one person might catch feelings and then you have to juggle that mess and it becomes awkward.”

Communication and maturity are key in a FWB relationship for those who want to avoid emotional messes, Toomey said. She said making assumptions about FWB is a surefire way to end it prematurely.

“Don’t go in with expectations of what it is going to be,” Toomey said. “Honestly, see it for what it is. You’re there to have a good time. Don’t try and make it something more. It’s a small time to make each other feel good and that’s it.”

Daily said that overall, those looking to enter a FWB relationship should consider their ability to control emotions, tendency to fall in love and current relationship with the person they’re considering being FWB with.

“FWB is a grown-up game to play,” Daley said. “You’ve got to be pretty clear about your ability to do it.”