Today’s Bisexual Thoughts: FWB (Friend With Benefits)

02 Mar

One of the changes in male bisexuality that I’ve seen is a shift from guys looking to hook up to requiring a single source for this sex.  It makes sense in that if you have that one guy you know a great deal about and implicitly trust – not only with the secret but with your health as well – that works well for a lot of guys and especially those men who aren’t fans of casual/hook up sex.  I was thinking about when I first heard about this and I seem to remember a lot of women talking about their “friend…” but not about a boyfriend.  A few women took the time to explain this “friend” thing; they hang out, have much sex, but they’re not in a committed relationship.  “We’re just really good friends,” one woman said as she blushed.

Okay, I got it now!  Now, this isn’t quite like having an affair although one could reasonably assume that it falls into the guidelines of FWB – in short – all of the benefits of being in a relationship but none of the responsibilities a committed relationship calls for.  It is not just a down-low thing, not when single people opt to not be in a relationship with someone but, um, they still wanna get laid and meet other people in their search for The One.  Relationship purists kinda/sorta frown at this because it’s so out of the box, you know, you meet someone, you date/court them, you commit to a relationship, get engaged, and get married.  Fornication – that’s having sex without being married – is considered to be a sin (which is where the saying “living in sin” comes from) and casts and evil eye on those who cohabit like they’re married but they aren’t… but shacking up is acceptable because if nothing else, the two sinners are, at the least, living with each other.

What I’ve seen in recent years and in the world of M2M is that FWB is kinda mutating and is being treated by some as a committed relationship and one that also implies exclusivity.  It often makes me shake my head when I see the guy son the bi guy forum (in particular) go on at great length about finding a FWB while, at the same time, saying that they’d rather not be in a committed relationship either because they can’t or it’s just not on their list of things to do.  Some guys approach the concept of FWB like it’s NSA – no strings attached – and, um, no, NSA is a different animal altogether.  What many of them learn is that the emotional connection they’re trying to avoid does come into play at some point and things get a bit more serious and that’s about the same time when things can get a bit rocky because someone is trying to handle a FWB arrangement as if it’s a committed and exclusive relationship.

In some ways, it smacks of hypocrisy for a guy who says he won’t throw down with another guy without them being into each other – a purely emotional context – while, again, not being of a mind to commit to “officially” being boyfriends but things get to the point where exclusivity hits the table.  This is another of those instances where I think you can’t have it both ways; you can’t want, require, or demand exclusive access to someone without a commitment to that end any more than you want some being into involved but wanting to avoid any emotional entanglements.

I’ve seen guys get into the FWB thing and things go sideways, like the FWB starts making demands on their time, has hissy fits when getting together can’t be done on demand, and even getting highly upset to find out that homey is seeing other guys.  Some FWBs seem to assume that if this is what’s going on, then exclusivity is somehow implied so if “Harry” and “Hal” have become FWB, neither of them are allowed to see anyone else – the two of them are assumed to be effectively off the market.  When FWB is taken to this place, things can get rather, ah, uncomfortable because you’ve gone from engaging with a guy that you can hang out with and/or have sex with to having a boyfriend who kinda/sorta thinks you two are a committed couple.  Since this isn’t the case – and because neither guy has actually and verbally committed to exclusivity and all that comes with it – wow, the shit hits the fan in a very explosive and messy way.

One guy I know of who had a FWB go sideways was telling me that he’d gone away for a few days and upon his return home, he found a slew of messages on his answering machine (yeah, it was that long ago) from his FWB demanding to know where he was and that he’d better call him if he knew what was good for him.  He told me that he called the guy back and the guy proceeded to read him the riot act and beginning with him having the audacity to leave town without telling him or asking him if he wanted to come along.  The rant continued as the FWB demanded to know what homey was up to and, yup, who else he was fucking… and the guy I know said he lost his cool at this point and told the FWB that, first, what he does when they’re not together is none of his business and where he goes – as well as his reason for going – is equally none of his damned business.  Then he said he asked the FWB, “Since when do I have to answer to you?”

The FWB said, “When you started fucking me, that’s when!”

Uh oh…

You see, just as with NSA sex, FWB sidesteps traditional thinking in this, like, the notion that if we’re having sex, then we are an exclusive, monogamous item.  Remember, FWB is supposedly all of the benefits of a relationship but none of the responsibilities so, to that end exclusivity and monogamy is outside of that remit – but both of those things are well within the domain of a committed relationship.  There are times when I think that because some folks are trying to normalize bisexuality and its related activities, instead of FWB being an uncommitted kind of thing, it’s becoming very much a committed relationship kind of thing in the minds of some guys.  We’re conditioned to behave monogamously and especially when sex is involved and many people still hold true that without a relationship, no sex can or should happen, nope, not without full investment in each other.  The problem comes into view when two guys want to do each other – because it’s convenient and safe as well as it speaking to the depth of their friendship – but a full, invested commitment to each other is either unwanted or impractical.

I’ve heard of guys getting very pissy because their FWB didn’t call them for a given length of time; I’ve heard of them getting highly upset and even depressed to think that this absence is due to their FWB out there laying the pipe to someone else, finding them somehow less desirable, stuff like that when, in fact, the FWB didn’t call them because he had other things to do and, um, they’re not officially boyfriends so there’s no need to always be checking in with each other and, basically, trying to run each other’s lives in any way.  I know there are bi guys who, emotionally, are looking for Mr. Right – they want that committed relationship with another guy and to be their one and only and there’s nothing wrong with wanting this but it’s just my opinion that the FWB model, taken literally, can’t work in this area and it really doesn’t work for those guys who are in a relationship – married – and taking on a second committed relationship could cause more problems than they’re willing to deal with.  NSA is undesirable, a committed “he’s my boyfriend” relationship is impractical and unwarranted so, yeah, FWB is the answer…

Except you probably shouldn’t try to handle a FWB arrangement as if it’s a committed and monogamously exclusive relationship and I’ve been wondering why there are some guys who are trying to do just that and then wind up getting their bubble burst when the whole things falls apart.  Surely, emotions can come into play; it seems unlikely that you’re gonna keep having sex with this guy and not develop some, ah, deeper feelings other than just friendship; ya might not come right out and say that what you’re feeling is love but, okay, it’s pretty damned close enough for government work.  Some guys have some interesting expectations when it comes to FWB and those expectations are more in line with a committed relationship than they are a matter of convenience which, in my opinion, is what FWB started out as but seems to be mutating and, sadly, for some, in some pretty disheartening ways.

FWB is supposed to be more than NSA but less than a monogamous relationship; it’s supposed to be a convenience and something special between close friends… but methinks this is morphing into something else and right now I can’t say that it’s a good or bad thing as far as bisexuality goes… but I can see how problematic this can become.  My protegé shared with me that from time to time, the guys he’s FWB with gives him grief about him not always being available to him when they want him to be; they feel some kind of way when he tells them about other guys he’s been with because it’s important where health is concerned.  My protegé is open and forthcoming with those guys – and as he should be – but their reaction to this openness is met with emotions that are borne of monogamous behavior; they see it like they’re FWB and fucking (or whatever) so exclusivity is implied and mandated even though he’s told them in no uncertain terms that he’s not interested in having a committed, monogamous, and exclusive relationship with them.  Yes, they are good friends and, really, ya can’t be FWB without the F-part of the phrase being in play, right?

It just kinda surprises me that there are men who seem to “insist” that FWB becomes more than what it originally was and even more so when many of those same men also say that they couldn’t see themselves being in a committed relationship with another man…

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Posted by on 2 March 2018 in Today's Bisexual Thoughts


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