6 Easy Steps for Fucking Your Friends Without Fucking Up the Friendship

Having sex with your friends is a polarizing activity. Some queers love it; some swear it’s the death kiss for any platonic relationship. I personally am extremely pro fucking your pals, but I think it’s a good idea to go into the situation with a clear game plan. I am not a big fan of getting drunk and just seeing what happens (in any aspect of my life, to be honest, but especially this one!) and I think planning, even just the tiniest bit, can really be the difference between joy and multiple orgasms and doom and dyke drama. To be very clear: this article is specifically about fucking your friends in a onetime event or limited-engagement few times, and then remaining platonic friends with them. I’m not offering advice about how to turn your crush into a relationship, how to carry out a longterm friends-with-benefits situation that magically never combusts, or how to trick your friend into being your girlfriend. I am simply offering a road map for anyone who has ever wanted to fuck a friend and then continue a healthy friendship with that person afterwards that may or may not include fucking again from time to time.

While having sex with your friends is certainly not for everyone (I always joke that it’s best if you have a Mars in Aries and an air placement moon, and of course I’m kidding but also, if that’s what your chart looks like and you’ve considered fucking your pals, you might be really great at it!) it can be an extremely satisfying experience. I spoke with more than 30 queer humans while writing this piece and here are some of the reasons why they enjoy having sex with their pals:

“Look, my friends are mostly hotties. I don’t do that on purpose, but it turns out that when I like someone’s personality enough to be friends with them, I usually end up thinking they’re damn attractive.”

“Sex is a fun experience, and society has taught us to put too much meaning behind it. Fuck your friends, it is fun.”

“I’m comfortable with my friends and don’t feel weird being vulnerable with them!”

“It’s a good way to experiment with a lot of different people.”

“I love expressing my physical, sexual, sensual, kinky, filthy, slutty, romantic ++ self with my friends as an extension of my ME-ness and care for them.”

“Sex is not holy and it’s so boring to let only couples have it. I learn so much from my friends in all areas of my life, sex is no exception.”

“I think it’s a space that allows a bit more experimentation than with other hookups, like you can try out interesting things together.”

“I feel safe.”

“I take great comfort in knowing that a friend has my back and will throw me on it.”

“Lower stakes. Deeper friendships. Variety. Less pressure on one relationship to be totally sexually satisfying. 10/10 would recommend.”

Again, I really want to stress that sleeping with your friends is not for everyone, and if you don’t want to do this it’s totally fine. Some reasons people I spoke to listed for not wanting to fuck their pals included: not feeling comfortable about being that vulnerable and intimate with a friend (versus a partner), not enjoying enforcing boundaries after the fact, worrying that they’d be bad in bed, worrying their friend would be bad in bed, the possibility of developing romantic feelings, and a general disinterest. You should not feel any shame about this. Everyone is different. If you never ever ever want to fuck your friends, mazel tov!

The rest of this article, however, is for those of you who do.

So you want to have sex with your pals? Let’s talk about your game plan.

1. Get clear about your hopes and dreams

This is the part you should do first by yourself. Think about why you’d like to have sex with your friend(s), both in general and in specific. Is this something you’re hoping to make a part of your life because you want to remove the assumption that sex is an activity that can only occur between romantic partners? Are you just really horny? Do you have a specific friend you’re attracted to and would like to introduce a new layer to your friendship? Did a friend express desire to sleep with you and now it’s on your mind? Everyone has their own way of handling fucking their friends, and if you’re clear about what you hope the experience will look like on your end, it’s way easier to check in with the friend you would like to sleep with and make sure you are both on the same page. This can also help you sort out any confusing feelings in advance – maybe you actually don’t want to sleep with the pal who suggested it and you’d rather think of a gentle way to say no, or maybe you think you’d like to start sleeping with your friends but you’re a little nervous about it so you’re going to brainstorm some friends who you think would be particularly enthusiastic or willing to experiment and get weird with you! – which will help you discuss things with other humans with more clarity and confidence.

2. Ask your pal if they wanna have sex with you, as friends

There are two routes you can take here: direct or indirect. No one will be surprised to hear that I like the direct way best, but since so many of the people I chatted with for this article suggested the indirect way and beseeched me to include that as an option, I will.

The Direct Approach

Being direct does not have to be a huge grand gesture, and it does not have to be scary. I love direct communication, so to me, this is actually the easier of the two. If you are feeling a particularly flirty vibe with a friend, you can ask if they’d like to take the flirtation to another level, or if you want to introduce a flirty vibe you can simply bring up the possibility of sleeping with friends as a general idea and then see how your pal feels about acting on the specifics. Here are some direct ways to ask your friend if they want to sleep with you.

Via Text

“Bring it up over text first, and after lots of reciprocal flirting,” one person suggested. “I flirt with all my friends… and the sex usually happens after the flirting has gradually been reciprocated and intensified over time.”

Post-Party

Sometimes you go to a party and there seems to be a spark with one of your pals that just isn’t usually there. Or maybe you’re extra horny at a party and so are your friends and everyone just sort of pairs off, or maybe even ends up in an orgy. Who is to say! One person described a scenario where a friend was leaving a party because she got a booty call from her ex. “She was like, ‘do you want to come with me and have a threesome?’ and I was like, ‘sure,’ so we left together.”

Slide Into The DMs

If you flirt a lot on social media, sliding into your friends’ DMs is completely appropriate to test the waters of a hookup, as long as you’re respectful in the same way you would be with a stranger or a potential date. Here’s a suggested sample DM from a generous interviewee: “Hey! We flirt a lot and I think you’re a cutie… Would you ever like to hook up? No pressure, of course!” This person said they think of this as a low-stakes proposition, “and I try to come from a place of humility.”

In Person In The Moment

Whether you’re feeling sexual attraction vibes or simply bonding over something like looking for more play partners or wanting to explore a specific kind of sex that is interesting to both (or all) of you, I think if you are close enough friends with someone that you’d like to potentially have sex with them, it should be okay to name that ask. “I mention that I have sex with friends when we’re both up for it,” one human told me. “Name it. I only offer if they also have sex with people whose company they enjoy when they’re *not* having sex, aka friends. Basically, I phrase sex as another activity you can do with friends, with clear expectations, agreements and understanding of the impact.”

In Person For Later

It’s totally fine to want to bring up the subject of having sex and not necessarily have sex right away. One of my best friends and I once casually talked about having a threesome with his partner, and when he brought it up to her she was interested, so we planned to have a threesome… six months later, because that’s how our schedules worked out. If you’re someone who really likes a plan, or just truly hates plausible deniability, this approach is great because everyone can negotiate how they feel about the idea together, and then everyone can go organize their thoughts separately, but everything is 100% out in the open and there is no guessing involved.

The Indirect Approach

I generally like to give as many concrete action items as I can when I give advice, as you see above, because I know saying “just follow your instincts” is not particularly useful for everyone, all humans have different instincts, some of us trust our guts more than others, some of us are more shy than others, and if you wanted to follow your heart you’d be out there doing that, not in here reading a how-to guide. And yet. So many people insisted This Is The Only Way They Have Ever Successfully Had Sex With Their Friends, and insisted I should include it. So here we are.

The indirect approach is tricky (and not my favorite approach) because it really is hard to pin down the concrete action items here. Basically, from conversing with so many different people who swore by this method, it seems everyone agrees that sometimes a spontaneous moment just happens, and things work out. Here’s how the indirect approach goes down, in y’all’s own words: “Go with the flow.” “We’re already friends so communication is easy.” “One of us gives the other this look, and then the other person would return the look, and then we’d know that we were shifting from friend-mode to sex-mode.” “You invite a couple of cute friends you’ve drunkenly kissed before to the Brandi Carlile concert…” (Have I mentioned today that I love you all so, so much.)

One final note on this step, regardless which method you choose to use: like all sex and dating advice, the thing that is most important here is making sure you’re respectful, everyone is comfortable, and all parties are practicing enthusiastic consent. If you’re genuinely not sure how your friend will react to this ask, make sure you keep things lighthearted and make it very clear that a “no” response will be positively received and will not burden your friendship. I personally do not like drinking before sleeping with friends because I like to be as alert and present as possible, but while I can’t control if you go out to happy hour or not beforehand, I would strongly advise being as sober as possible for these encounters. The most important step to preserving a friendship after you have sex is clear communication and intentional actions, and both those things are hard to achieve when you’re too drunk to open a pack of latex gloves.

3. Make a plan

So you asked your pal if she wants to have sex with you and she said yes! Hell yeah! While I love getting naked immediately just as much as the next horny dyke, I really recommend checking in at this moment and creating some sort of plan, even if it’s a loose one. I advocate for this during all sex, actually, but in the case of fucking a friend I find it extra important for everyone to be on the same page. This is to mitigate damage from misunderstandings, of course, but it’s also really fun – if sleeping with a friend feels more casual to you, or less stressful, or just fun and easy and chill, this is a great time to explore things you may not feel comfortable trying out with dates or romantic lovers. If you and your pal are both into kink, platonically playing together is a great way to get those needs met. If you always top but you’re curious about bottoming, doing so with a pal can feel like a safe way to experiment.

Your plan should include logistics (are you fucking in the bathroom at the bar? Are you taking a Lyft to her house? Will you meet next week at the park and have a picnic to relax before actually having sex?) and it should also include a frank discussion about limits, boundaries, sexual health, expectations, and desires. Some people have a very easy time being vulnerable with their pals, and sex with a friend can feel a lot more open and free for these folks than a one night stand with a Tinder hookup would feel. On the flip side, some people like to keep really strong boundaries during sex with friends so as not to get confused about the nature of the hookup, or to attempt to lessen the likelihood of “catching feelings.” Whatever your personal preference (you hopefully thought some of this through in Step One!) it’s a really good idea to communicate that stuff to your friend before you’re naked and fist-deep inside each other!

4. Have fun! Be respectful! Sex rules! Hell yeah!

Okay! You’re doing it! You’re having sex with your friend! This is a good time to remember all your good etiquette about sex. Just because you’re engaging in this activity with a friend, not a date or a partner, doesn’t make it any less fun or hot. Put all your energy into the encounter you’re having, listen and communicate, practice enthusiastic consent, be honest about how you’re feeling and accept feedback gracefully, tell your pal what a babe they are enthusiastically and often… you know, have fun respectful hot sex! With your friend! Who you probably platonically love and if not, at least definitely like! Hell yeah!

5. Manage your expectations and feelings

In an ideal world, sex with a friend is easy and not earth shattering and fun and something that could happen again or might not and either would be fine. We do not live in an ideal world.

When you fuck your friend, I think the two major fears are: (1) What if this ruins our friendship because one of us becomes emotionally attached and (2) What if this ruins our friendship because the sex is terrible? And I want to validate those fears – both of those things could happen! It’s true, it’s possible! But it’s also possible to take preventative action against both of these fears.

As I said upfront, this is an article about fucking your friends and then remaining friends. The goal here is not to morph your friendship into a relationship. To that end, I think it’s useful to remember that feelings are habits, and falling in love is something we decide to do and then feed over and over, not something random that happens to us that is beyond our control. Look – if you have sex with a pal five nights a week for 3 months in a row, text or hang out 24 hours a day, eat breakfast together every morning, and adopt a kitten as a group project… that is no longer just a pal. You are probably going to fall in love with that pal. If you have sex with a pal five times in one year and maintain reasonable boundaries and truly platonic behavior outside of bed with each other for the other 360 days, you’re much less likely to fall in love. You know what I mean?

Some boundaries you can enact when fucking your friends include not kissing on the mouth, not cuddling or doing “romantic” touch like holding hands, choosing not to do specific sex acts, choosing not to do specific kink acts, sleeping in separate beds afterwards, avoiding pet names or any other behavior that mimics dating, only having sex on planned/scheduled dates, having sex together infrequently.

As for the other fear – that the sex will be bad – well, it might be! Or it could be that things aren’t bad, but you just aren’t as sexually compatible as you had hoped. But y’all are pals. Presumably you care for this person, and they care for you. Either you’ll be kind and pretend it was fine and decide never to sleep with that person again or you’ll laugh and joke together when things are awkward or don’t quite gel and either you’ll decide to keep going or you’ll stop and it’ll become a funny story. Both outcomes are pretty okay. I can’t imagine bad sex ruining a friendship that wasn’t already precarious to begin with, so I wouldn’t worry about this one too much, personally. The nice thing about sex with a friend is that it isn’t too precious – it’s just sex.

6. CONTINUE BEING FRIENDS

Spoiler alert: to me, this is the most important part of the entire article. My friends are the loves of my life, and if I thought sleeping with any of them would fuck up our friendship, I truly wouldn’t do it, even though I love sex.

Continuing a friendship after sleeping together is going to look different for different people. One person told me, “We don’t talk about it, it’s no big deal.” Literally the next person I spoke to said, “I think you have to talk and talk and talk some more. Talking is the only way forward.” I would say I personally fall somewhere in between these two humans – I am a fan of a solid check in after the fact, but then follow up with an equally solid friend-specific activity. This falls in line with the boundaries we discussed in Step Five; after sex I want to get dinner and revert to platonic interactions. I don’t want to sleep over and cuddle and gush about how sexy we both are, because I want to reestablish the boundaries of platonic intimacy my pals and I have. If you are someone who does cuddle and gush with your friends all the time, that might feel like totally fine and chill behavior to engage in after sex – or you might want to do less of that immediately after having sex, just to hard reset the platonic boundary.

This step is truly different for everyone, and may even differ amongst different friends you sleep with, because no one does friendship in the exact same way. It’s good to check in with yourself during this time to make sure you feel good about the experience and to gauge if you would ever want to do it again (figure this out with yourself before you bring it up with your pal!); some folks said they could only have sex with a friend once or else it would become complicated emotionally, and some folks said they have friends they’ve been casually sleeping with for two decades!! (The dream!)

Be patient and gentle with yourself during this step; you may have some feelings you don’t anticipate come up and that’s okay. You’re allowed to feel your feelings. You can even be honest with your pal about them, but remember, ultimately the goal is to remain friends and they are not your therapist nor do they owe you anything outside the boundaries and expectations you set before you slept together. Unless both of you drastically change your minds about this, it’s not fair to expect a romantic connection to form from platonic sex. If this is something you’re worried is a possibility, it might be good to make addressing it part of your plan from above. What will you do if you or a pal suddenly start feeling butterflies, or jealousy of their actual dates? Would you need to take a break from having sex, from your friendship, from both? Try to be patient and gentle with your pal during this time too; you certainly don’t need to manage anyone else’s unrequited love feelings for you if they occur, but as one person said – be kind and don’t get avoidant or mean or ghost them just because you sense weirdness.

Remember – you’re friends! Treat each other like friends.

My favorite response to the question “how do you keep being friends after having sex” was the following, because it’s honest and chill and hilarious, which is what my dream friend sex looks like:

“I mostly pretend like it hasn’t happened but I don’t ignore the fact that it has?”

There you have it! Go forth and fuck your friends. Then pretend it hasn’t happened, but don’t ignore the fact that is has. You’re welcome.


As always, please feel free to share your tips, tricks, and personal experiences in the comment section. Let’s rebrand fall as Sex With Friends Season rather than Cuffing Season, yeah?

Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 295 articles for us.

13 Comments

  1. Wow this is unbelievably helpful!! Thank you so much Vanessa!

    I wonder if you have any thoughts on sleeping with friends while in an open marriage that is also open to becoming poly? I feel like the difference between friends-who-sleep-together and a “real” new relationship (in a poly cluster sense) could be blurry and feelings could get hurt. I guess that’s another one for the list of Things People Should Potentially Discuss?

    • I would imagine this can be addressed quite clearly in the conversation about what you want, but I just wanted to add the most important lesson I’ve learnt from seeing poly mistakes: decide your boundaries for yourself, and don’t hide behind an external circumstance when stating those boundaries.

      I think you can totally sleep with someone platonically, but could monumentally mess it up with any “let’s keep it casual because my partner doesn’t feel good about me taking it further” / “I do wanna sleep with you but I’m not sure I’m ready to start an additional relationship” sort of excuses. I think it’s really important to own the fact that you’re asking for a very specific kind of interaction with this person and you’ve decided what your limits are for that kind of interaction.

      I find it hard to stand behind my boundaries and say something like “I don’t want anything romantic with you”, and I think that’s true for a lot of people, but I think it’s key here.

      Good luck sleeping with your friends and/or finding new poly partners!

  2. Oooh boy I could have used this like 2 years ago haha
    I have successfully slept with a friend (a new friend, but definitely was friend vibes until it…shifted, shall we say). It was the scenario you noted – just a few times, largely related to party scenarios in which alcohol was involved. Then we decided that it works best as friends between us and even though I was butt hurt for a hot second, we talked and cleared the air and checked in and then it just was totally fine! And now we are very good friends, and it’s a thing we sometimes laugh about. IT’S POSSIBLE! Who knew?!

    I have also done this very unsuccessfully and started sleeping with a friend that I had harboured a crush on for months, and months, and neither of us were available to do anything about it. Until we did…and then it was very messy, and then we dated, and then it ended badly and now we are VERY much not friends.

    So this guideline is very helpful and I wish I had it before! 🙂

  3. I clicked on this article thinking, “I bet Vanessa is going to say to communicate directly.” So, I appreciate that you went out of your comfort zone with a nod to the direct communication avoidant!

    That said, I know I need to learn to be a better communicator.

  4. Thank you for this article – it helped me to finally message my friend about this. Although she said no (which tbh I expected, there are some contextual factors that make it not the best idea for her right now) it is a relief and will probably be beneficial to our friendship to have actually talked about it. She said that she very much appreciated the offer and that I included that a rejection would not hurt our friendship so thank you for that tip specifically!

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