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Friends With Benefits: The Valentine’s Day Dilemma

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. If you have a steady sweetheart or just a hopeless crush, you know the drill already. But let’s say you’re in a less conventional romantic situation – you have a “friend with benefits” (a.k.a. a fuck buddy) deal worked out. For some people this is an ideal between-relationships arrangement, a no strings, no commitments, friendly you-scratch-my-itch-and-I’ll-scratch-yours type agreement. It works out so well because you get the sex and some of the companionship of a relationship (the “benefits”) without the stress and drama. That is, until V-Day, the most romantic day of the year, rolls around, and things can get awkward. What’s the correct Valentine’s etiquette for friends with benefits?

Of course, how you deal with Valentine’s depends on how you feel about your fuck buddy. Do you want to take things to the next level and develop a closer relationship with them? In that case, the answer is easy: make a “date” to get together for a “session” on February 14 and the rest should care of itself. If you want to go out on a limb, you could even suggest dinner and a movie (or just pizza and a DVD) instead of the standard roll in the hay. Once you’ve got them on the couch, turn up the heat and let them know how you feel. The only problem is that if they don’t feel the same way, you’ve probably just blown the deal, since one of the unspoken rules of friends with benefits is that you can’t develop an emotional attachment to the other person. But at the worst, this means you might have to find another friend to fool around with.

If, on the other hand, you’re happy with the arrangement as it is and just want to keep things status quo, here are a few suggestions. First of all, don’t just ignore the fact that Valentine’s Day is coming. Pretending it’s not happening is a great way to set yourself up for weirdness and tension between you and your sex buddy. Be proactive, make a plan, and let your friend know either directly or indirectly where you stand.

Perhaps the best way to sidestep the issue is to make a “date” to get together with your partner in crime right before V-Day. Valentine’s falls on a Monday this year, so the weekend is a perfect time. It’s the same strategy you use when you have a friend or relative that you don’t want to spend time with on a particular holiday, like Christmas or Thanksgiving. You get the obligation out of the way ahead of time; in theory, they’ll feel like you’ve thrown them enough of a bone that they won’t feel so bad when you blow them off on the more important date. And seeing your fuck buddy before February 14 assures that any accumulating sexual urges get satisfied in a neutral, nonromantic way.

If your fuck buddy starts hinting that he or she would like to spend Valentine’s Day with you, a simple “Sorry, I’m busy,” should be sufficient to end the discussion. Most friends with benefits have a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreement that allows both participants to have space to carry on their own personal lives. They don’t have to know that your plans for the evening may consist of nothing more than microwave popcorn or a six-pack and HBO. If you do happen to have a date with an actual romantic prospect on Valentine’s, your fuck buddy doesn’t need to know about it – just like your Valentine doesn’t need to know you have a current fuck buddy.

Another tactic you might try is to use humor to defuse the fireworks of Valentine’s. Instead of flowers or candy, get your fuck buddy a gag gift that emphasizes the sexual rather than potentially romantic aspect of your relationship. A box of condoms or bottle of lube is always an excellent choice. Or you might get her a vibrator, dildo, or other sex toys, for “when you’re not around.” For him, maybe a blow up doll, a Fleshlight, or a fake pussy. If you include a card, make sure to say how much you enjoy your arrangement the way things are, and you’re glad you don’t have to be all serious for Valentine’s Day.

The bottom line is that it’s important to let your fuck buddy know that you appreciate him or her, that the two of you have a good thing going on, and you don’t want to mess it up. On Valentine’s Day, people are looking for validation of their relationships with others, so it’s good to give your friend with benefits some props and acknowledgement for being there for you in your time of need. But at the same time, let them know that you don’t want to ruin your special arrangement by letting things get too heavy. With any luck, you’ll both be on the same page and you can blithely dodge Cupid’s arrows for another February.

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