I've heard a lot of discussions about whether or not friends with benefits is ever really possible. I think the answer is both yes and no (way to straddle a fence!). Seriously though, I say that because I think it depends on the situation and the people involved.
Firstly, I think for it to work, you need to have an honest conversation about it - decide how it will work for you.
Is it just a casual thing if you run into each other, or will it be planned?
Are you ok with 3am booty calls?
What happens if one of you meets someone else?
What happens if one of you decides they want more?
If you can come to an agreement on these points, I think it can work. If the thought of having this conversation with someone horrifies you, then I would question how you would feel comfortable enough to have sex with them.
I believe for this to stand a chance of working, you have to maintain honest communication and have some sexual chemistry.
I guess that leads to the question of if you are that close to someone you can talk openly, and you have great chemistry, why wouldn't you want a relationship with them?
Maybe you just aren't in a place where you want a relationship with anyone.
Maybe, for all of the above, you still know deep down that a relationship would never work long term for whatever reason.
Maybe you just want hot sex without any strings and don't like the idea of trawling bars and going home with a stranger.
Maybe you just don't want to put a traditional label on it and put unnecessary pressure on it.
Whatever the reason, I think you can make it work.
Where it doesn't work, is if you don't talk about it, especially if one of you has feelings for the other one. Then I think you are entering territory where someone is being used.
I don't think this can ever work if one of you secretly wants more and hopes it will grow into something. You will come to resent the other person, and feel used, even though they have no idea you feel this way. In turn, they will resent you for making them feel bad when they thought you where in the same place as them.
Ultimately, I think with honest communication and mutual respect, you can make it work, and still be friends at the end of it.
Without communication, it could be that one of you thinks you are in a relationship, while the other one doesn't.
Remember that scene from Community where Jeff is hooking up with his teacher?
I can't remember the exact wording, but it's something along the lines of her asking how would he describe her after sleeping together every night for three weeks if not his girlfriend.
He responds "the best friend ever!".
You know that's going to get pretty messy!
What do you think? Can it ever work or will it always end up messy? Have you/would you ever try this type of arrangement? Let me know in the comments :)