friend with benefits

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Possibly first used by Alanis Morissette for her 1995 song “Head over Feet”, although in the original context it seems to refer to a committed rather than a casual relationship.


friend with benefits (plural friends with benefits)

  1. (idiomatic, slang, non-vulgar) A friend with whom one has a casual sexual relationship.
    • 2003, Alexander Hart, Time in Question:
      “I’m just saying that usually when you have a friend who’s a girl, it’s not just that she’s your friend. Either you’ve known her a long time, or she’s a friend with benefits.”
    • 2003, William Marsiglio, “Making Males Mindful of Their Sexual and Procreative Identities: Using Self-Narratives in Field Settings”, in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, volume 35, number 5:
      Gender norms influence how young men orient themselves to sexual partners and girlfriends, and men’s procreative consciousness is sometimes affected by how they define a potential or actual sex partner (e.g., casual or serious girlfriend, “friend with benefits”, hookup).
    • 2004, Cynthia Henry, Discovering Normal:
      “Can I be so bold as to ask if I can be a friend with benefits?”
    • 2005, Jennifer Klein, University of Pennsylvania:
      The College Relationship is the hook up that turns into a “a person to hang out with,” more or less, a friend with benefits. This is a person whose company you sincerely enjoy, and you choose to spend extra time both hanging out and hooking up with, but there is no spoken commitment involved.


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