The Fuck Buddy: Healthy or Harmful?

November 23, 2010

In these modern times, fuck buddies have come to serve a spectacular void in the space between one night stands and long term relationships. Really it all depends on how you use them, and use them we do. We use them to get off, use them to take our minds off someone else, use them to pass the time: they're pretty handy when it comes to quick fixes. FB relationships can go on for years with varying levels of frequencies, and yet few seem to evolve into anything more (which in most cases is exactly the point). However, they do tend to reach a breaking point of some kind. Whether it's disinterest from one party or too much interest from another party, they really aren't that different from actual dating.

The tricky part is knowing how to navigate the often blurred lines of fuck buddyship and make sure you come away from it unscathed. Here are some of the more common signifiers of both healthy and harmful fuck buddy situations:


  • You can text him and he can call you without any worry of rejection. You may not be available some nights but at least he'll know there'll be a raincheck.
  • You both know exactly what you've signed up for. Whether that's just sex or sex with intent to cuddle, both of you know what's about to go down when you get the call.
  • Your feelings are kept in check al all times, and even though he may send flirtatious text messages the day after, you know that's it's simply a way of saying we're still on for next month's session.
  • In this fuck buddy situation, you're both getting what you need and you leave each other mutually satisfied.
  • You both know when the fucking has run it's course and more importantly, you let your buddy know that you've met someone and can't fool around anymore.
  • Finally, a solid fuck buddy relationship is one that can be picked up at any moment no matter the time that's passed in between.


  • You rush right over when you get a 3 AM text to come over and fuck, and he doesn't respond when you ask him the do the same. At a decent hour no less.
  • You try to make the fuck buddy session more than it is by trying to include something date-like to the night, like dinner or a movie or giving him your grandfather's pocket watch.
  • You start to develop feelings for your buddy. Or vice versa and you continue on as if he doesn't.
  • Your buddy gets off, but you do not.
  • You get jealous if you see him out with another guy.
  • You use the fuck buddy relationship as crutch to avoid building meaningful relationships.
  • You leave a date to have sex with your FB.

As with any relationship, there tends to be a lot of gray, which is why it's important to set expectations up early and make sure you're satisfied with what you're getting from your fuck buddy. At the end of the day, any relationship is about reciprocated respect.

Got any other tips on telling the difference between healthy and harmful? Chime in below.

Tags: Relationships, Sex, Fuck Buddy
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
View all posts by RobHeartsDH


very well put and finally an analysis of this type of activity without being judgemental


About your point: "You get jealous if you see him out with another guy."

I think that should be first on the harmful list as I assume the first is worst.

Can such a relationship be healthy? Absolutely. That said, like most things in life they can be healthy, but only when experienced in the proper way. Barebacking can be healthy, done in the right context, for example.

I agree completely with Rob's rules. I've had several long-term fuck buddies over the years, granted, usually in places to which I travel frequently on business, rather than in my home city, but still. There is a boy, for example, in HI with whom I've shared many, many a fine time for almost 8 years. He no longer lives on the island to which I travel most often, so I don't get to see him anymore, but we could and would clearly pick up right where we left off if we happened to be in the same place at the same time.

The 'feelings' things does sometimes become an issue. It can certainly be difficult to keep from crossing that line, depending on one's place in life as the relationship is unfolding, say of one person happens to be single and the other isn't. At least I have found it so, especially when the guy is amazingly sexy, a great lay, and the type you'd prefer to date, if at all possible.

Still, as long as both parties are clear that the relationship has a level beyond which it will not rise, both are clear that at some point it may end, and both guys remain clear on these points, in their way, FB relationships can be quite satisfying and healthy.

At least that is what THIS Daddy thinks.

guess you've got it all right!

I'd love to have a FB but living where I do (a conservative republican city in South Orange County, California) makes it pretty difficult. Laguna Beach, just up the street so to speak, used to be gay, but in the last 10 years I think the majority of gays have moved. Used to be that I could go to the baths and get 'taken care of' but those are few and far between nowadays.
Anyone in South Orange County want to 'sign up' and take care of 'business' ona NSA basis?

It saves on the wear and tear of the heart, that has to be worth something.

Keeping “feelings in check” doesn't sound healthy to me. Sex is intimate. Sure, you can act like it isn't, but if you don't feel something for the man you're fucking, that's fucked up in my book.

Absolutely true. If you just want a fuck buddy without feeling something, then try your local bath house. In any type of relationship, fuck buddies included, there are always feelings involved. Sometimes a fuck buddy relationship can evolve into something more.

The key as always is to distinguish between sex and love. Straight and gay folks both split on this distinction. But as a gay man who regularly engages in FWB sex (and who is also in a 24-year relationship), sex and love can be different arenas. The times when I've had to break at FWB relationship is when the other guy confuses that distinction and thinks that excellent sex equates with love. Again, for some people love and sex are separable realms. For those folks for which this reality isn't recognizable, monogamy is their life path.

There isn't any obvious split between gay and straight men. There are plenty of straight bars full of straights that act just like the gay bars do for sure. Whats funny is that people think they can get to actually know someone through chat services and then be ready to talk sweet right away without knowing you at all for real.

My experience is that these FB relationships get to be very "mechanical" and, eventually, very uninteresting.

Proud to say never had a FB and never will.My self respect is more important.

I think your article was very good, and right on point. I've had some fuck buddies over the years and have had a lot of fun with them-- without every being tempted to fall in love. As for straight vs gay: I don't know if straight guys are like gay guys, but straight women certainly are NOT like gay guys. I can't imagine a straight woman who would want to be a man's fuck buddy-- which is why that relationship does not exist in Straightland.

Guess I've never had a true FB relationship & hadn't thought too much about ground rules that go along with it. Now that it's been clarifed, I realize I'm much more the FWB type of guy if I get into something casual. It seems the FWB scene allows spending time together socially as well as sexually...and the development of something more meaningful could be a viable option without breaking the "ground rules". Maybe I'm just a romantic at heart, but I am more likely to have sex with a guy I would like to date than with a guy that is simply sexually appealing. It doesn't have to turn into dating...but it usually needs to seem to be an option. I'm sure there are exceptions I'd make when the chemistry is right but the guy isn't available for more than play...I don't have hard and fast rules. Yeah, there's some contradiction there...but I guess it's about what I'd like the situation to be, while maintaining some flexibility.

Gee, kingkarl, aren't YOU high and mighty?*
If there's two things people are, it's sexual, and NOT monogamous by nature.
Oppressive heterosexual social mores (pronounced mor-ays) are cute, but prove time and time again to be impractical. You can be proud of trying to emulate straight people, but don't judge the rest of us who aren't afraid to acknowledge being sexual.

Again, this has come up, a topic that tries to define with a few words the thousands, or millions, of relationships like this that might be occurring as we read. Each relationship of ANY kind (friendship, business, family, marriage, dating) has it's limits depending on those involved, their wants and needs, and their personal experience.
Trying to set or follow some set list of boundaries is probably the reason half of them fail; trying to follow society's/parents'/friends' etc. expectations of you when we're all individuals, and each connection completely unique.

The glue that holds any good relationship together: communication. Only those involved can really decide what's best. If done honestly, NOT based on what they think others want, then can it happily work long term.

Nice posting. Personally speaking, I flip flop between f/b's and not. I have gone through periods where I abstain from having sex - and I go through ones where I am a total whore (usually in the bathhouse). Ultimately all of this either way is because I am way too busy to date and am afraid to have real sustaining intimacy with another human male. All and all I believe that F/B's are meant for people who are really unhappy in their relationships (aka - do not have intimate (hot, sloppy, communicative) sex, or just unhappy with themselves (emotional, physical, mental). I have had many wonderful f/b's, but have had to let go or been let go because it was getting to intimate for either one of us. I can't talk for anyone else, but for me, that gets tired. It would be nice to just focus on just one person for a while!

My husband and I have FWB guidelines...and we have been married for 8+years.

1. If one of us is out of town, we can both play with FWB.

2. If we are playing together, we can play with mutual friends.

3. If we are both at home, we are going to fall asleep in the same bed.

4. We introduce our FWB to each other. There may not be a spark in the partner so that makes a good barometer.

5. If FWB from before we met each other come up, we introduce our previous FWB.

Some of these folks have made for HOT sex sessions between the 3 of us. Some have failed the barometer and have been let go in love. Some have made for great friends without sex.

Nobody can have too many friends.

I said in an ad that a FB would do until I found an LTR. But it didn't work out. The best sex in a very long time,maybe in my life, came for me with feelings, that at the time of sex seemed to be reciprocated in his responses, but in fact weren't and I was projecting my hopes. It was a quick up followed by a quick down.I am better off for having had the experience rather than not having it, but I now know my feelings aren't separable.

This topic sparked more comments that seemed to me to be really meaningful to the contributors. FBs make great transitional relationships after a primary partner passes away or moves away. There is always the hope that one can of them could become the next primary person, while remembering the phenomenon of the shipboard romance, where the sparks fly on ship, but are maintained only with difficulty if at all after the ship docks. Indeed some of them can be reignited with the next cruise or other opportunity to get together. Moreover, the FB is safer and requires less energy to connect quickly and with satisfaction to both parties compared to a new "trick." From time to time we need to add new friends because of attrition. One suggestion is 3 new ones per year. It takes effort to find commonality that endures for both parties, but sometimes, it seems that you two hit it off and little or no effort is required to connect. Then the fun is in exploring new activities together, whether just in bed, e.g. by adding 3 ways, dildos, vibrators etc. or new positions in new places. Sometimes the relationship can expand, e.g. to sharing favorite DVD movies or meals together, sometimes both meals and movies together at home. When that expansion occurs, one possibility is jealousy, which is basically fear of loss. Instead, why not rejoice when the other party or partner finds something really enjoyable with another person? Get the details and live vicariously in fantasy for awhile, as though you were there. Keep up this thread, guys! Public and private replies welcome.

Though FB's can serve a very good purpose, and I think that, under control, they can be a very healthy thing whilst one is "single", nobody, however, seems to have mentioned the more deeper troubles having FB's can develop. There is a deeper psychological topic underlying the whole subject. Yes, as testosterone driven beings, we need sex or sexual release regularly, and FB's can help with this tremendously. But what about when the need for a FB transcends the physical and develops into a crutch for loneliness? To satisfy the need of feeling wanted? Dare I mention, the quest for validity? Where, then, does this chase end? Are, when we enter into a relationship, we able to control this desire? Does having an FB obscure the fine line of achieving validity and satisfaction with one's partner? Or does it feed the hunger and greed for more and more? Resulting in a myriad of men who cannot control their sexual desires and looking outside the relationship for satisfaction.

Has this already happened? Hiding under the completely trivialized name: "Open Relationships".

I have never been able to have a fuck buddy. They either start feeling or I do. I prefer those kind of guys and I am that kind of guy myself. I don't quite understand how people can have sex with someone else on a regular basis without developing feelings for them.

Someone I could have sex with without developing feelings for just doesn't sound that appealing and certainly doesn't sound sustainable.

I don't have a fuck buddy as I would prefer a long term relationship and an authentic way of relating to a significant other. I don't consider anyone who has a fuck buddy as relationship material as I see them as being involved with someone else. I don't want to stand in line when it comes to dating someone.

Rob, this is a great post. I'm not sure I would say it's ever particularly 'healthy' to separate sex and intimacy in a FB relationship, but understand that many gay men (including myself) do it nonetheless. I think the 'harmful' items you listed are also quite insightful, but rather than calling them 'harmful', like an earlier poster, I would simply say they are opportunities for you and your FB to clarify your feelings for each other and decide to either continue as Fuckbuddies or perhaps evolve to something else (or separate). Many valuable relationships that I have had in my life began as FB situations.

... just a quick one on the subject of not being able to have a FB relationship in straight world ... before I came out, I was "hiding" my gayness with somewhat promiscuous hetero sex life, and I've had several quite satisfying and successful FB relationships with women ...

As a bisexual male, I'm pretty much all about having fuck buds for my mansex and I enjoy them immensely. We all seem to have a good time. I'd disagree with one point on the Harmful side: "Your buddy gets off, but you do not."
As a total top, yes I get off and that's somewhat the point of the piece it seems. I used to be a lot more concerned when my Bottom buds didn't get off, but it has always been by their choice. Some have explained to me that for them it's all about servicing their Top. Others have said they get off later, jerking off to the memory of the sex we shared together. Fuck buds are great !!

Be sure that the fuck buddy syndrome is not inspired by liquor or chemical assistance

Good post Rob.
Having a FB would be great and it does solve a lot of issues, if!! you are both clear on the direction. From a health point of view I stick to one guy and am clear about the status of my health and the check up's I have. Feelings do get blurred and need to be resolved sooner rather than later.

I realized whats more important when bossy straight roommate experienced a diabetic low sugar emergency at the cinema after seeing Harry Potter today and there was only me to think about getting a candy bar at a store across the street when he started to vibrate and sweat. I have had many moments in life where I realized that best friends are closer and mean a lot more than fuck buddies who have buddy lists and show up only when everyone is feeling great.

i think as long as both parties agree, the fuck buddy situation should not be harmful.........but..that's not always the case....the danger is that it becomes a vice and a repetitive behavior....we need to be clear and not hipocritical about these situations...i see so many of friends jumping into one fuck buddy to another and then....? shallow and empty emotions come many of them see them crying all the time...i rather to have a solid relationship with my hand until that person comes me...fuck buddy relationships don't work...

article well written and ketp at a high level...but go deep and dive and see what you find about that...

at the end..if it makes the person happy...well...keep your fuck buddy...i fired ( around 5-10) long time ago...did not work...
happy holidays!!!

A partner may fall in love with the fuck buddy and then the foundation of what it was all about from the beginning becomes apparent.

I've only had one FuckBud and it was fantastic!

I was in a 32-year relationship with a partner who traveled quite a bit. I made rules for myself while we were together: I never had sex with anyone else while we were in the same city; I never saw anyone more than once or twice, etc. So while he was alive I never had a FB. My partner passed away about 18 months ago. So last summer, although I was certainly not interested in a relationship, I sure did need sex -- and I wanted the kind that would help me find myself again as a single sexual being.

Along comes this hunter -- on DaddyHunt, no less -- who wanted to explore with me. The first night we were together, it was apparent to each of us that we were the most sexually compatible person the other had ever been with. We discussed this. We also discussed the fact that we were not interested in anything leading to a LTR. In fact, he didn't want to share many personal details with me. So we decided to just be for each other the guys we were in my room -- no last names even, we didn't know what the other one did for a living, nothing -- just our spectacular sex which would go on for hours at a time.

It turns out that he was only in Los Angeles, my home, for the summer studying and, come fall, he went back home. I did develop feelings for him and, I know he did for me as well. But they were FB feelings -- not romantic, but protective in a way. I didn't need sex with anyone else while he was around and, truth be told, haven't found anyone since he left to fill I love the idea of FBs. I hope to develop more. And maybe someday my sex partner will once again be someone with whom I share loving feelings. Until then -- more sex buds, please!

I had 2 of em and i took out my frustrations on em and they loved it. One died one got HIV. They were men in their 40s who had been through relationships and it was just based on connection. It was fun for both of us then it ended.

I have had several fuck buddies... and currently have 3 that i rotate between. I have been in several dysfunctional relationships because they become too possessive and will not allow the FWB to just be friends.

I would rather be single and have a fuck buddy or two than be in a miserable relationship that is destine to fail.


Over the years, during times when I was single, I think I have had three fuck buddies. My best one was with an older man who was in his late fifties, when I temporarily lived out by Washington DC. He was physically active and fit, and we both belonged to the same fitness center. Hot times . . .

I think while you're single, fuck buddies with clear expectations can be a good thing if you're considering doing that.