Here’s the Scientific Way to Make a No Strings Attached Relationship Work

For when you just want to have sex without involving messy feelings.


(Photo: Getty)

Back in January, we gave you a pretty detailed guideline on how to maintain a no strings attached relationship, and hopefully it was very helpful and informative. 

Now, thanks to a list Justin Lehmiller, PhD, expertly put together for Playboy, we’re back with some more tips on how to make a friends-with-benefits scenario work, but this time everything is backed by hard science. And who here can argue with science?

Discuss expectations.
A 2011 study by Lehmiller asked people who had fuck buddies why they had initially started their NSA relationship, and what they hoped would happen in the future. While most people said they were in it for the sex, a large chunk of women said they in fact wanted to connect to their partner emotionally.

More importantly, 43 percent of women and 24 percent of men said they had high hopes that their fuck buddy would eventually become their significant other. And we all know that the chances of that happening are very slim, because we don’t live in a Hollywood movie. Sorry. 

That said, one of the golden rules to maintaining a healthy friends-with-benefits relationship is to make your intentions and expectations very clear from day one. It’s as simple as that. 

Set ground rules.
Rule #2 of having a friend with benefits is setting some ground rules, so that no one gets unintentionally hurt. I mean, if Betty thinks the relationship is exclusive, while Bobby thinks it’s fine to hop around from girl to girl then have sex with Betty every Saturday after lunch, someone is going to get their feelings hurt. Or gonorrhea. Or both.

One study revealed that 73 percent of college students don’t discuss relationship ground rules with their friend with benefits, and it’s common sense to know that this lack of rules and communication is a recipe for disaster.

In another study by Lehmiller, it was revealed that people who took time to set up relationship rules with their non-romantic partner were most likely to be friendly and still boinking a year later. So it’s definitely worth discussing some rules, such as if the relationship is exclusive, whether or not you’ll be seeing (sleeping with) other people, if you’ll be using condoms, etc. Trust us.

Prepare for your feelings to change.
You know that feeling when you promise yourself you won’t have dessert, but then after dinner you suddenly find yourself inhaling your second slice of cake? Something like that can also happen in no strings attached relationships, by means of shaking hands and solemnly swearing your relationship will be sex, only sex, and nothing but sex, so help you God…and then two weeks later one of you catches feelings. Yikes. 

Worst-case scenario, right there. 

Psychologists have found that we all just really suck at something called affective forecasting, which is when we predict how we’ll feel about something in the future. Apparently, we overestimate things and really believe everything will be peachy and go according to plan forever and always, when in reality, life rarely goes according to plan. Judging by divorce rates and such, it must be true.

So yeah, if either of you starts to feel differently at some point in the relationship, it’s best to talk about it with one another and get things straightened out. Is it time to end things? Or do you both feel the same way about each other? Talk it out, people.

In the end, all those points boil down to one true rule: you need to communicate. That’s also the one foolproof way to make you better at sex, too. So don’t take it lightly. 

H/T: Playboy