NSA Vs. FWB - Which One Is Better for You?

If you've ever ventured into the world of online dating you've likely come across certain terms that you don't see every day. From ghosting to catfishing to submarining, there are countless terms thrown around on online dating sites and apps that have a completely different meanings, which can make navigating the digital dating sphere that bit more challenging.

The terms you find differ on every site and app, with the user demographic usually influencing what dating terms you see. For instance, sites that focus on romance and relationships tend to have dating terms that differ greatly from those found in hook-up sites.

Two terms that you commonly see in casual dating sites and apps are NSA and FWB. These terms are often used interchangeably but there are some distance differences between each one. Let's take a closer look at NSA vs FWB.


What is NSA?

NSA stands for no strings attached. This means that people are interested or currently involved in a no strings attached relationship, which is basically when there is nothing more than sex. It's all about the physical aspect of the relationship rather than anything emotional, with the no strings being the fact there is no emotional attachments formed.

The term has been widely used in dating culture in the past few decades, although the concept of no strings attached sex is far from new. If you happen to have a purely sexual relationship with someone then it is considered an NSA relationship.

This might be someone you casually hook up with from time to time or a one-night stand were you never took things further - it was and is only ever about the sex. In the context of online dating, when someone is looking for NSA it means that they are only interested in sex and don't want to start dating or get serious, just have some no strings fun with a likeminded person.

What is FWB?

FWB stands for friends with benefits. This is a type of relationship between two friends that happen to have sex with each other. They can be lifelong friends or newly minted acquaintances, with the main idea being that you have a friendship and occasionally have sex.

It's less common to find someone looking for friends with benefits on an online dating environment because most FWB start with someone you already know. People on dating sites aren't usually looking for friendship with some occasional sex thrown in, with anyone seeking casual sex often using the term NSA rather than FWB.

That's not to say you don't come across people in online dating that want FWB type relationships - some people are looking for friendship and sex without any of the baggage that comes with it!

The Differences Between NSA and FWB

There are some obvious similarities between NSA and FWB relationships, such as it mostly focusing on having sex without exclusively dating each other. You could also technically consider an FWB to be NSA, as friends with benefits are having no strings attached sex.

However, there are some subtle differences to each one, which we've outlined below:

FWB is always with a friend - NSA can be with anyone

As the name suggests, friends with benefits involve having a sexual relationship with a friend. It can be someone you've known all your life, a few years, or just recently met - as long as you have a friendship prior to having sex it can be considered FWB.

NSA on the other hand, doesn't need to happen with a friend. Yes, you can have NSA sex with a friend but if this happens more than once you're more FWB than anything else. NSA can happen with virtually anyone, whether it's a random hook-up you met at a club or someone you met on Tinder.

You don't need to have known each other that well before - or even after - you have sex.

NSA is Just About the Sex

No strings attached sex is about one thing - having sex without any emotional baggage. You simply meet up and have sex whenever you both want to and then part ways afterwards.

Because friends with benefits involves a friend, you already have a friendship so have more to do than simply have sex. You can hang out, watch movies, go on nights out with other friends - basically it's like any other friendship but with the added benefit of sex.

With NSA, you aren't really friends so there isn't much to more to it than having sex. With FWB, friendship comes first and the sex is just a nice added bonus.

One Usually Lasts Longer Than the Other

NSA are typically short lived. The more often you have sex and spend time with each other, the more chance there is of emotional attachment development, with most no strings attached arrangements ending after a few weeks or months or developing into a full-blown relationship.

FWB can last for any number of years, often being on and off again type agreements. Because you are already friends you normally go back to being just that once you stop having sex, although sometimes people struggle to handle this after getting too attached.

In most cases, FWB will happen when you are both single, so may be on and off for many years. NSA rarely last longer than a month or so - anything longer and you're probably getting attached to each other!

by FWBdatingonly