EQ Sex Talk: One Night Stand or Friend With Benefits?

Photo credit: Thanh Tran 

Although the concepts of “one night stand” (ONS) and “friend with benefits” (FWB) have long existed in Thai society, it’s not until recently that these topics are being discussed widely and openly. Is it due to the fact that we became more open about sex? Is it a growing trend of people choosing not to have children?

We sent out a questionnaire to 20 young participants to find out their thoughts on these types of arrangement. Here’s what we learn:

Photo credit: The HK Photo Company 

What exactly are ‘ONS’ and ‘FWB’?

One night stand (ONS) is defined as “a sexual relationship lasting only one night.” This can happen between total strangers regardless of their past sexual encounters. Friend with benefits (FWB), on the other hand, is defined as “a type of mutually beneficial relationship where friends or acquaintances sleep with one another.” Essentially halfway between ONS and a romantic relationship, FWB usually comes with some important ground rules: never fall in love and never get involved in an affair.

Based on the survey results, 100% of those who have had ONS and/or FWB or currently looking for one understand the definition of a one night stand. 80% of which understand the definition of friend with benefits while the remaining 20% understand it differently – that FWB means having sex with
a stranger and see if a friendship grows from there.

Photo credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

More than half have had experience with ONS and FWB 

It’s interesting to see that 70% of the respondents have had experience with both ONS and FWB while the remaining 30% have not but are actively looking whether at nightclubs, on Twitter, dating apps or Facebook, or from people in their circle.

Members of the Generation Y (born between 1980 - 1997) explained that the reasons they choose ONS/FWB are because 1) they don’t have the time to take care of someone, 2) they’re too tied up with their career, and 3) they’re still enjoying a single life.

Members of Generation Z (born after 1997) agreed that these types of relations suit their needs because they’re still young and they want to explore their sexuality before settling down with someone.


Photo credit: Roman Khripkov

FWB for the win

It’s also interesting to note that 100% of both Gen Y and Gen Z would rather choose FWB over ONS. The reasons being that they still want to feel like they’re being taken care of and not wanting to have many sexual partners due to various safety concerns.

Jane B (GEN Y): I’d rather choose FWB. It’s like, whenever I want to have sex, I’ll also have someone to talk to like a friend. There’s no jealously, no feeling possessive of each other.

Peanut (GEN Z): I would choose FWB over ONS because I don’t want to change my sexual partners too often. I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community so there’s that risk to think about.

Don’t ask, don’t tell

If sex has become less of a taboo topic in our society, does it also mean that people have become more upfront about ONS or FWB? As it turns out, 80% of the responses opt for the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach.

@jmk_4u: “I’m still a newbie to all this and the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach really works for me because I work as a civil servant and I still care about what my parents think – they’re from a different generation so they won’t probably get it.”

“I understand that this is still more or less a risque subject, but if I can say something, I want to say that whatever people choose to do, ONS or FWB, it’s totally their business. Don’t judge people only because you don’t agree with their choices.”

Jane B: “I only talk about it with my close friends. I don’t want people to think that I’m easy or promiscuous.”

Hush-hush for the other 20% 

A human (alias): For me, it’s entirely confidential. If someone I’m having a FWB relation with is someone in my circle, it’s a bit awkward for other people in the group to find out.

In the end, is LTR still the final answer?

​​When all is said and done, however, do people still want a long-term relationship? Or are they satisfied with having just an ONS/FWB situation?
70% of both Gen Y under 30 and Gen Z answered “yes.” Ultimately, they believe that there’s only one person who can satisfy their sexual needs and also provide them with companionship.

As for the minority who are not in the market for long-term relationships (Gen Y over 30), they said that since they’ve been single for a long time, they’re not ready to give up the freedom. They’re completely satisfied with hassle-free short-term relationships.

Photo credit: Hà Nguyễn 

Parting advice
“Apart from the obvious sexual benefit, you can sometimes ask people you’re having ONS/FWB relationships with for help. The most important thing is to not get too attached or become too possessive. Always protect yourself.”

@jmk_4u: “These types of relationship have to be consensual and enjoyable for everyone involved. It’s not worth it if only one person is enjoying it.”

Jane B: “Learn about the other person before you get involved with them. If they don’t explicitly tell you that they’re looking for something more than ONS/FWB, don’t get carried away. Be realistic.”

Peanut: “It doesn’t hurt to be a bit picky when it comes to having a one night stand. Find someone who’s clean and respectful and make sure to use protection. For FWB, it’s best to do it with someone you already know. Don’t have sex with someone and then see what’s happen.”

Photo credit: We-Vibe Toys

Photo credit: Alejandra Quiroz