Sex differences in approaching friends with benefits relationships

Justin J. Lehmiller, Laura E. Vanderdrift, Janice R. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


This research explored differences in how men and women approach friends with benefits (FWB) relationships. Specifically, this study examined sex differences in reasons for beginning such involvements, commitment to the friendship versus sexual aspects of the relationship, and partners'; anticipated hopes for the future. To do so, an Internet sample of individuals currently involved in FWB relationships was recruited. Results indicated many overall similarities in terms of how the sexes approach FWB relationships, but several important differences emerged. For example, sex was a more common motivation for men to begin such relationships, whereas emotional connection was a more common motivation for women. In addition, men were more likely to hope that the relationship stays the same over time, whereas women expressed more desire for change into either a full-fledged romance or a basic friendship. Unexpectedly, both men and women were more committed to the friendship than to the sexual aspect of the relationship. Although some additional similarities appeared, the findings were largely consistent with the notion that traditional gender role expectations and the sexual double standard may influence how men and women approach FWB relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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