Friends with benefits? Gendered performances in women's casual sexual relationships

Breanne Fahs, Adrielle Munger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although some research has examined "friends with benefits" relationships (FWBRs), women's subjective accounts of FWBRs remains notably understudied. Utilizing attachment theory, scripting theory, and social constructionist theories of gender, this study drew upon qualitative interviews with a community sample of 20 women (mean age = 34, SD = 13.35) from diverse ages, races, and sexual identity backgrounds to illuminate five themes in women's FWBR narratives: (a) regulation and suppression of emotions, (b) performance and idealization of detachment and emotionlessness, (c) lack of clear communication combined with "other-defined" experiences, (d) replication of racist and sexist scripts, and (e) transitional qualities of the relationship. Implications for the power differentials present in FWBRs, and tensions between subverting and further entrenching relationship scripts, are explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-203
Number of pages16
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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