back to article 'Friends with Benefits' sex does no psych harm - profs

Boffins in Minnesota have a message for young adults: sleeping around is OK. Your prospects in terms of psychological health should you indulge in casual flings are every bit as good as they would be if you bizarrely chose to waste your wild-oats years in one or more doleful and ultimately doomed monogamous relationships. …


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  1. David Hicks

    Who would have guessed

    That the majority behaviour for the last several decades does not leave you an emotional wasteland?

    Oh, that's right, me and everyone else 'normal'. I guess that rules Americans out though. They do appear to need to be told these things once in a while.

    1. Adam Williamson 1

      Several decades?

      Um, several decades? Try the last...well...ever.

  2. Marvin the Martian
    Dead Vulture

    Inevitable title

    You seem to mix up "friends with benefits" and "sleeping around".

    The first implies a more-or-less longstanding agreement between two people to quasi-regularly hit the sack together, the second may be one night stands and all such and can happen even in committed relations (or so I heard).

    1. Franklin

      Re: Inevitable Title

      "The first implies a more-or-less longstanding agreement between two people..."

      Perhaps that should read "The first implies a more-or-less longstanding agreement between two or more people..."

      Hell, for that matter, even long-standing romantic relationships can happen between more than two people.

  3. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    It is a federal crime to say:

    CONDOM in a US-funded sex education class.

    Good luck trying to get healthy youth in America.

  4. Jimmy Floyd
    Paris Hilton

    Missing out

    I reckon the only people who will feel "empty and dead inside" will be those who waited many years for The One only to find out that he / she was crap in bed, which even without comparisons will lead to the question "Is That It?" and the regret of aforementioned sexual policy.

    1. Steven Knox

      It is?

      I know it wasn't in 1990, 'cause I was in a US-funded sex ed class at that time, and they said all sorts of things, including "condom", "diaphragm", "IUD", "nonoxynol-9", et al.

      I've tried doing some research, but all I can find is contradictory assertions by advocacy groups -- half of which imply that the US funds ONLY abstinence-only classes; the other half implying that the US funds ONLY contraception-based sex education classes. That leads me to believe that it's more a state/local decision and these groups are selecting data to make this molehill look like a mountain.

      However, as I've said, I haven't found any primary evidence. Can you provide primary evidence for your claim?

      1. Ammaross Danan
        Paris Hilton

        Re: It is?

        "I've tried doing some research, but all I can find is contradictory assertions by advocacy groups -- half of which imply that the US funds ONLY abstinence-only classes; the other half implying that the US funds ONLY contraception-based sex education classes."

        The US Gov-funded sexual health programs are required to be abstinence-only based. It does not mean they can not mention contraceptions, they just can not "advocate" their use. "Advocate" is, of course, loosely translated anywhere from "mentioning it at all" to the more reasonable "You should always use a [insert-contraception-of-choice-here] in all sexual encounters" lecture. They can simply mention the existence of--and the purported (supposedly reported) effectiveness of--the various contraceptive options.

        A case-and-point of "advocacy" rulings was the termination of a local school teacher for handing out pro-gay/lesbian information during a sexual health class.

        -Paris, because we all know what would be in her "sexual health" curriculum.

        Might I suggest Victorian regulations in a "melting-pot" of a country is just bollocks?

  5. Hermes Conran

    Picking up sailors at the docks....

    Anything you want to tell us about your navy days Lewis?

  6. Stephane Mabille
    Paris Hilton


    So exactly how long did it take for those boffin to realise that a fulfilling confident sexual life is not more traumatising than years of brainwashing, bible bashing, frustrations,... well done!

    Paris 'cause she got loads of (best) friends and benefits....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      never mind "how long"

      The question is "how much". I'll bet this was another grant-funded research opportunity that I missed...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe true....

    ...but not on this "evidence". You'd have to study people (not just a one off quiz) throughout their adult life to see what effects having multiple sexual partners has. You'd also need to take into account other factors of course. Doesn't make for such a snappy headline though does it?

    Another great bit of "science" then :-)

  8. Joe 3


    Why didn't you tell me this 15 years ago?

  9. Hugh_Pym

    So let me get this straight

    They asked some twenty year olds if 'no commitment' sex had any downside and they said no. No shit Sherlock, ask them again when they are sixty and maybe had a chance to review their life choices.

    Mind you I'm not saying they are wrong.

    P.S. Anyone looking for an smelly short ugly old bloke as 'friend with benefits'?

    1. jake Silver badge

      I'm not 60 (yet), but ...

      Well, I'm 50ish, had my share[1] of casual sex in my teens and 20s, and one long-term "friends with benefits" mid-20s thru' mid-30s, one child resulted. I'm still a friend of hers, and the kid calls me "daddy", has her second degree, and is married. I'm in regular contact with both of them. All three of us are sane, IMO.

      Today, I'm happily married to a woman I met in my late 30s, and intend to stay that way. The ONLY regret I have about my past is that I never adopted my daughter (I am listed on the birth certificate, but the mom didn't want me to be "official" at the time ... today, she regrets it, too).

      Sex is a thing humans do. Once the hormones start doing their job, it's inevitable. Trying to suppress it is pointless ... And probably contra-indicated, when you consider that rebelliousness is also a normal state of adolescence. I am NOT advocating youngsters fucking like bunnies, but I suspect that ramping up on realistic, non-judgemental sex-ed, and proper access to contraception, would be a good idea on a long-term basis.

      Note that I realize that I am a "sample of one", and thus a testimonial, not a scientific survey ... but I'm far from alone. Contrary to what the VeryVocalMinority[tm] bible-thumpers would have you believe, not all Americans have hangups about sex and the consequences thereof.

      [1] Maybe more than my share, considering I was/am a computer/networking nerd ... It probably doesn't hurt that I was raised in a barn ;-)

  10. Anonymous Coward


    [Anyone looking for an smelly short ugly old bloke as 'friend with benefits'?]

    Probably only another smelly short ugly old bloke.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Sailors in Minnesota

    Minnesota seemed an unlikely place for picking up sailors, since it's almost in the dead centre of North America, but then I realised that it does have wet bits: it adjoins one of the Great Lakes. So there might be a sailor round there, though not a salty one.

    Paris? Well, she has exposed wet bits too.

  12. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Once more

    It becomes obvious that federal [insert topic here] policy is arse backward and reflects only the silly opinions of a few megalomaniacal busybodies and lacks real information and hard data. What next, will we learn that "gateway drugs" aren't real but "gateway suppliers" are? Stay tuned for the next episode of "No shit, Sherlock."

  13. Deadlock Victim
    Thumb Up

    Now *that*

    Is a great use for science!

  14. Anonymous Coward

    I don't care what anyone else says...

    ...but I think your articles are great Lewis!

    Keep up the good work!

  15. Steve Hodson

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    It's not like there's much else to do in MN anyway :p

  16. LesBaer45

    Where are all these Friends?

    With the benefits? Certainly I'm feeling left out of this phenomenon.

    No wait, would that be old ugly fat friends? Nevermind.

    Beer for....well.. the not so friendly ones.

  17. Chigaimasmaro

    The results are in from the MN mail-in!

    Amazing... absolutely amazing.. the full article states that the results are from a MAIL-IN questionnaire and it only happened over the course of one year. This take into account very little of the actual psychological profile of a person. This is a terrible horrendously done study. The release of this kind of information has a tremendous effect on people before of the use of the internet. This survey will be dug up and used as a bat against people how have more sense to realize that the actions you take DO have a psychological effect on you.

    They might not show up in a mail-in survey, but they will show up in how you act in the real world. What happened to science these days?

  18. Dazed and Confused


    > sexual activity outside of a marital relationship is likely to have harmful psychological consequences.

    Which mean that those setting the policy are jealous that "kids today" are having a better time than they had, and that they're not going to stand for it. Kids today should be made to suffer just like... and so on.

    Hey if "kids today" can managed to have a better time than I managed then good luck them, perhaps there is some progress in the world.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Cupid's Measles sounds contagious

    Oh wait. It is....sorry.

    One night stand? Lucky to have a half-hour stand anymore. Oh well. Anyone have the time?

  20. CADmonkey

    All this big talk...

    ....and I thought everyone here was a virgin.

    And what about the long-term effect of spending one's 'salad days' nurturing a 'conquesting' mentality at the expense of learning the tricks of how 2 people can spend their lives together without killing each other?

    Quantify that!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sleeping around

    Is only traumatizing if you do it at the circus and none of the clowns ask your permission.

  22. MadonnaC

    I, for one

    welcome our jailbait overlords

  23. LaeMi Qian Silver badge

    I've always found...

    ...the long-term committed relationships to be the damaging ones.

  24. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Interesting location for the survey

    In Minnesota. Where there is little else to do ten months out of the year. Where there are two seasons: winter and road construction. Although the fishing is good.

    Paris, the fishing is... oh, to hell with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      You know...

      I've found women in the Midwest to be quite frigid. You'd think there is nothing better to do during the eight months of winter but in reality it's so damn cold out no one goes out to meet people. We all kind of stay shacked up for the winter. Glad I moved to Florida...

  25. Fred Mbogo


    If only this social figure wasn't vilified in my country...

  26. Doug Lynn

    The New Morality is just the Old Immorality

    HI, its time for a wake up call, there is no new sin under the sun that hasn't gone on for thousands of years. Wake up you are shortening your life living in sin. I hope and pray you realilze this before its too late and you die. Accept Jesus Christ now!

    1. jake Silver badge

      @Doug Lynn

      Sin according to whose religion, Kemosabe?

      Do you follow all the laws in Leviticus & Deuteronomy? No? Then you are UNCLEAN, sinner!

      While I have your attention, which of the three gospels that mention Jesus's last words actually got it right?[1] How do you justify the fact that at least two of them are obviously in error?

      [1] That's Matthew 27:46, Luke 23:46 & John 19:30, if you didn't know, and I suspect you didn't. While you are at it, why can't the gospels agree on what the sign over Jesus's head said?

  27. Anonymous Coward


    > Do you follow all the laws in Leviticus & Deuteronomy? No? Then you are UNCLEAN, sinner!

    Absolutely right! That's the point. The whole concept is that the person has failed to meet the requirements of the law and the lamb takes the punishment for the wrong-doing.

    Sleeping around does no harm... and we can see that there's been no impact on the stability of the family, no increase in grief-causing, financially-devastating divorce, no increase in single-parent families (with its associated requirement for the main care-giver to work), youth depression cases etc since the 1950's, despite the introduction and widespread use of contraception which facilitates sexual choices based on whim, in the 1960's. Nope, nothing to note here!

    Did I mention that NuLab's survey said people want ID cards, 8/10 cats prefer whiskers and my anti-wrinkle cream takes off 10 years for the low, low price of...

    Ooh let's tell people what they want to hear and watch the grant-money flow in!

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