Knowing how to have an intimate friendship, or friends with benefits if you prefer the term, is a very complicated issue. Although it doesn't need to be, most people don't believe having an intimate friendship is even possible because of various societal norms that have been ingrained in the average person of a dating age. Thankfully, there are ways to figure out if an intimate friendship is right for you and your intimate friend.
- Boundaries. Establishing boundaries is important. Friends with benefits don't need to be entirely devoid of emotion. Two people can still care about each other while they sleep together and most of the time, feelings are going to arise because of the intimacy. Many intimate friendships fall apart at this point because both people may want something different. Establishing these boundaries early on can help. In the event that things do get messy, being in an open, polyamorous relationship or just not getting serious can be ways to keep the intimacy coming without having to stay up late at night writing poetry.
- Have things in common. This may seem like it doesn't matter (it's just sex, after all), but you'd be surprised. While not having anything in common may keep you from developing stronger-than-friendship feelings, it will also prevent you from actually being a friend with the person to begin with. Find something you both have in common and base your friendship around that, but try to keep the sex separate.
- Don't force it. This is advice for any relationship, intimate or otherwise. Trying to force a relationship to be an intimate friendship or trying to convince someone who is hesitant won't work. The development of an intimate friendship needs to be organic.
- Keep an open dialog. Never bottle up any feelings and make sure to always talk about everything you can. Hiding things from each other can lead to jealousy, mixed signals and other problems that will doom the intimate friendship. Keep an open line of dialog above everything else and you will be just fine.