Even when you're not in the market for romance you don't necessarily stop being available for sex. As Bipasha Basu pointed out correctly all those years ago, "Yeh jism pyaar karna nahi jaanta. Jaanta hai toh sirf bhookh, jism ki bhookh." Turning to a single, sexually available friend who knows exactly what you are and aren't looking for can seem like the perfect solution. You can be assured of semi-regular sex with a person you enjoy spending time with. Sounds like a perfect solution, provided things go as planned. But since it's in the nature of plans to throw curveballs at you, here's how you make sure you cover your bases as much as you can before you add carnal privileges to the friendship mix.
1. FWB ≠ NSA
Understand clearly what you're getting into. Friends with benefits is not the same as no-strings-attached sex, which is typically with a person whose role in your life is limited to sex. Maintaining a sexual relationship with a friend a decidedly trickier than managing your booty-call person. Proceed only once you've drilled this in your head.
2. Close friends are a no-no
You never know when you might be blindsided and things go completely awry. While good friends might seem like a comforting choice for sex-buddies, they're a lot more stressful to handle if the reality of your arrangement ends up being nothing like the fun-filled expectation.
3. Accept that your friendship might never be the same again
There is a very real possibility that one or both of you might not be able to revert to the pre-sex stage of your friendship. You might feel differently, or future partners might not be comfortable about having their significant others' sex buddies in close proximity. Do it with a friend you don't mind losing, if it comes to that.
4. Decide your expiration date and stick to it
Unless you have some semblance of a time-line for your friendly rendezvous, you're actually just in a relationship with fewer rules and without the name. Giving it a deadline will give you a reality check: it is a temporary arrangement and it's not more serious than it looks.
5. Keep it classy
If you have more than one friends with benefits arrangement, make sure they don't belong to the same social circle. It's unnecessarily complicated to sleep with people who are friends with each other. It could damage your own friendships as well as theirs.
6. Check your expectations
Remember, you don't owe each other anything. Don't get mad if they ignore your text asking them to come over. They could be on a date or just not interested in seeing you at that time. Don't expect to be treated differently from other friends.
7. Jealous? Exit immediately
If you start to feel the stirrings of jealousy or see it in your sex-buddy for any reason, end it immediately. Even if one person develops feelings that the other doesn't reciprocate, the friendship can be salvaged by acting immediately.
8. Don't do it with colleagues
Ask yourself, earnestly, not in jest, "What could possibly go wrong?" Then make a list. Stop when you hit a century. Then memorise the list and repeat it to yourself every time the thought crosses your mind.
9. Don't involve other friends and family
No inviting each other to family events and no showing up for group hang-outs together—that's what couples do. Your sex buddy shouldn't have any more access to your life than your other friends do. As far as possible, they shouldn't even know about your arrangement.
10. Don't use it as an emotional crutch
A friends with benefits equation should never be used to plug an emotional void. It's easy to confuse the comfort it provides with the feeling of "having someone" and "not being alone". You're going to feel massively bereft and vulnerable the day it ends. Don't stop looking for romance (if that's what you desire) because of it.