"It is the most like a real relationship – it was most likely to lead to a real relationship," said Ms. "You respect your friend with benefits." Respect aside, secrecy pervades FWB unions, so as not to "ruin group dynamics" – set tongues wagging, that is.While some FWBs evolve into romantic relationships that can eventually be disclosed, others end when one partner finds someone else.Researchers from the University of Ottawa have gleaned plenty about the shadowy rules of engagement in casual relationships – no, it's not okay to sleep over after a booty call – after extensive interviews with 18- to 24-year-old students.They also conducted online focus groups with 900 respondents under age 30.The first misconception the researchers clarify is that intercourse isn't always involved in casual sex: Studies have shown that prevalence rates drop to 15 per cent when actual intercourse is involved, shooting up to 75 per cent when "sexual activity" is the descriptor.Surveys conducted over the past decade suggest friends with benefits (FWB) – pals who develop sexual relationships – are extremely widespread.The new terminology is a far cry from the dainty monikers used by scientists in the 1960s – "permissiveness without affection" and "premarital coitus." "Young adults appear to be developing broader conceptualizations of what constitutes a relationship," wrote lead author Jocelyn Wentland, a Ph D student in experimental psychology at the University of Ottawa's Human Sexuality Research Laboratory.
Wentland – and no doubt many a fleeing fling – point out, "There's that implicit, tacit agreement: 'We both knew what this was when we got into it.'" So why do so many twentysomethings take casual over committed?Friends with benefits, no strings attached, part-time boyfriends, one-night stands, flings, hook-ups, booty calls, last calls.The murky vernacular of campus dating has mystified parents for years, but a new survey might offer some translation."Sex" buddies are commonly mistaken for FWBs but are actually the reverse, beginning as one-night stands that evolve into something akin to friendship as partners meet more frequently and get properly acquainted.Still, monogamy is not expected and partners go their own way once the appeal has weakened.