After a stressful day, all Laila Robinson* wants is a massage. Reluctant to call her ex-boyfriend, she dials her guy friend Xavier Monroe*. Her friend comes to her rescue, as he always does.
The chemistry that has been flowing fiercely between the two all semester has finally reached its peak. It isn’t long before the two find themselves naked and in each other’s arms.
That’s it: no dinner, no movie, no clothes, no strings attached. The “friends with benefits” epidemic has been a popular topic, and while the relationship is not new, lately it seems to be a trend occurring among college students. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, more people may fall prey to the wooing of a friend.
“I think the relationship is more geared towards students not wanting to commit, but wanting someone available to them before they find Mr. or Mrs. Right,” says Florida A&M Sociology Professor Cynthia Cook.
Robinson and Monroe are just two students who experienced friends with benefits relationships on FAMU’s campus.
“It was something that just sort of happened. I wasn’t prepared for it, but I don’t regret it either,” said Robinson, 22, an elementary education student.
Monroe, 21, a junior accounting student, thinks otherwise. “Well to be honest, the thought has always been in the back of my mind. I just did not know how she would react, most girls want real relationships,” said Monroe.
Many college students believe a “friends with benefits,” relationship includes an unspoken agreement to have sex occasionally without being in a committed relationship.
Jeremy Brooks, 19, a third-year business administration student, believes that the phenomenon is increasing.
“I believe a friend with benefit relationship is straight,” said Brooks.” But in order for it to go smoothly both people involved have to understand the relationship is nothing more than casual sex. It is no need for emotional feelings.”
UrbanDictionary.com defines friends with benefits as a relationship between two friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally
involved and having no form of commitment.
Sociologist Paula England of Stanford University has surveyed more than 17,000 students from 20 colleges and universities. Her data showcased that by senior year, 72 percent of both sexes will experience at least one hookup.
The survey revealed that men and women who seek this relationship do it for pleasure. Young adults told researchers they are not interested in a full-blown relationship because it takes too much work to commit.
Like other relationships, the casual friend sex is exposed to everyday pitfalls. It can even destroy friendships and future relationships with a new partner.
“If your new boyfriend finds out you had a friend with benefits relationship with one of your homeboys in your past, and you guys are still friends, your boyfriend may not like that and he can always throw it back in your face,” said Ariel Boone, 21, a third-year healthcare student from Clearwater, Fla.
The obvious problem that friends face in this relationship is someone eventually gets “too attached,” according to Aiyana Lucas, 20, a third-year history student from Tampa, said she is a prime example.
“I tried one of these relationships and it does not work. I’m a woman. I started to catch feelings for him and I wanted more.”
* The characters within the story names have been changed to protect their identity.