When we say “friends with benefits,” that means two people accidentally or purposefully becoming friends at first, only to cross that line later. And by crossing the line, we mean having sex. So what’s wrong with that?
If you ask Hollywood, nothing! Cinema has always featured couples engaging in premarital sex without the benefit of a relationship. And that’s what the 2011 film Friends with Benefits is all about. The film features singer-actor Justin Timberlake as a promising young art director and Mila Kunis as a job recruiter. She’s trying to land him a better job in New York, and he tries out the city and the company eventually.The new man in town is taken around by the native New Yorker. Soon, a friendship blooms. As an obvious attraction ensues, they both agree to have casual sex only. They don’t want to be in a relationship, they claimed. Or is that the truth?
Hollywood has a long list of movies like Friends with Benefits if you’re looking for casual sex-infused narratives. Whether it’s a shallow rom-com, a deep arthouse exploration, or intriguing stories with promiscuity thrown into it, there’s a lot to choose from!
1. No Strings Attached
Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher also have their own casual sex narrative, which was also released in 2011. How’s that for two films discussing the same plot, basically? That’s why No Strings Attached is the first entry in our list of movies like Friends with Benefits.
This movie tells the tale of a man and a woman running two different lives. They first meet during a teenage summer camp. But they find each other again only when they have grown up. The man now works as a production assistant in the film industry while the woman became a doctor.
Again, their work is worlds apart. But somehow, fate tries to intersect their lives. Their casual sex relationship starts when a brokenhearted dude drunk-dials his phone, and the gal answers. But soon, they find out that what they wanted wasn’t so casual, really. Watch and find out!
Now what if a man is actually some sort of a sex addict, that’s why he can’t stay away from having casual sex with women? That’s more likely the plot of Alfie, the 2004 starring Jude Law as the titular character.
Alfie is very much like these movies like Friends with Benefits, only it centers on one character. But this one is not as sleazy sounding as it appears. In fact, it’s quite a charming tale.
Alfie is a British dude living in America, working as a limousine driver. He has about two women with whom he has intimate relationships with, but they’re purely sexual. Of course we can’t count how many dozens of one night stands he has. Yes, he is that active!
Go watch and see how the dapper Jude Law pulls this one off, in his own charming way.
3. The Graduate
What if you’re a current college graduate who doesn’t want to have any plans of working yet. Instead, you just want to think of what to do next in your life – and have casual sex with one of your parents’ friends? That sums up what the protagonist of The Graduate wants to happen.
This 1967 classic film is, first and foremost, very recognizable for fans of Simon and Garfunkel’s music (“Mrs. Robinson” most specially). Anne Bancroft plays the seductive older woman character with whom the new graduate starts a casual sex relationship with. The graduate here is played by a very young Dustin Hoffman.
It’s not a fast-paced film, but not exactly slow either. It’s here in our list of movies like Friends with Benefits because it parallels that theme. Only this time, it’s like they’re neighbors with benefits. Discover why!
4. Up in the Air
The 2009 film Up in the Air very much belongs here in our list of movies like Friends with Benefits. The storylines here run parallel to our featured film, only the setting and players are much older. But are they wiser?
The film stars George Clooney as Ryan, a corporate human resources guy who technically fires people for a living. He flies in and out of many cities all across the US. In one of these flights, he meets an equally strong and capable corporate woman, Alex. Due to their frequent flying work lifestyle, they always meet up with each other in transit. And they also transition these meet-ups into hook-ups.
What an ideal life this sounds for the man who wants to be a forever bachelor. However, meeting a younger coworker, played by Anna Kendrick, Ryan starts to rethink his life and his choices. Add to this the trip he makes to reconnect with his estranged family during his sister’s wedding, and more thinking ensues.
What will come out of it? Watch and find out!
What if you’re a girl whose own father “indoctrinated” you to believe that casual relationships are better than monogamous ones? Then that’s the story featured in the hilarious comedy called Trainwreck.
Released in 2015, the film stars Amy Schumer as a young woman who grew up believing that monogamy or marriage is a sham. Thus, she lives her single young life as carefree as possible, when it comes to having relationships. She prefers casual sex only, making it a perfect candidate here in our list of movies like Friends with Benefits.
Of course this life plan hits a snag when the single gal meets a sports doctor during a work assignment. What happens when it’s the dude who wants to pursue her for a monogamous relationship? Watch this funny flick to find out!
6. Two Night Stand
What if your one night stand didn’t turn out so well? Are you willing to give it a second try? Well, if you’re trapped in the guy’s place and there’s a snowstorm outside, what’s the harm there? That’s how the opening premise of Two Night Stand hooks us, literally.
This 2014 comedy starts Analeigh Tipton, the single gal who sounds like she’s not yet over the ex-fiancé. Her housemates egg her to try dating again, or even just hooking up. So they manage to persuade her to sign up for one of those date apps.
And this is where it gets paralleled to our featured film. This is one of those movies like Friends with Benefits because the single gal clearly just wants to give one night stands a try. But it’s the ultimate comedy of errors when she gets trapped in the dude’s place due to inclement weather. Miles Teller stars as that guy she sleeps with.
More things happen and unravel after that. Put this on and see if it clicks for you!
7. The To Do List
When a comedy centers on a high schooler’s quest to have as many sexual experiences as possible before embarking on college, then you know that film should be in this list of movies like Friends with Benefits. The protagonist of The To Do List sure seems to want a lot of those benefits, even if the dudes she wants to have them with aren’t her friends!
That pitch alone should make you curious enough to see this 2013 hilarious teen comedy flick. Right before entering college, the protagonist, played by Aubrey Plaza, wants to shed off her social awkwardness. And of course, that also includes her sexual ineptitude.
So what does this high school valedictorian does? Like any other achiever, she makes a list of what she wants to do, sexually, before entering college. Watch to see if she ticks off all of her “to do” list entries!
8. Crazy Stupid Love
One night stands gone wrong is another Hollywood plot line that seems to work well at the box office. Having that in Crazy Stupid Love is evident of this. It is also proof of why this needs to be on our list of movies like Friends with Benefits.
The 2011 movie stars Steve Carrell, a family man who moves out of their family home since her wife wants a divorce. It turns out that she kinda cheated on him, so he wants to try out casual sex relationships for a change.
In a bar, the forlorn dad meets up with a hunky cruiser played by Ryan Gosling. This slick womanizer obviously has moves that the dad hasn’t even heard of, so he teaches the older guy to get a girl there. And lo and behold, he does! But this casual encounter soon takes a weird turn later on, when he finds out just who she is.
To complicate matters, the womanizer later meets the dad’s oldest daughter. And yeah, they hook up as well. So this is a great plot twist relationship disaster comedy waiting to happen. Go watch it!
9. Sleeping with Other People
If it’s casual sex encounters in a comedy we’re looking for, we definitely have to mention Sleeping with Other People in our list of movies like Friends with Benefits. This 2015 film offers a cute narrative in our vein, but it’s intriguingly better written.
The film stars Jason Sudeikis as Jake, a grown man who seems to have problems with his relationships – especially when they turn sexual already. On the other end of this narrative, there’s Alison Brie who plays Lainey, an equally attractive woman who also has the same problem as the guy. But what do you know – they are actually acquaintances, as they lost their virginity to one another back when they were younger!
Now as grown adults, they meet up once again in the unlikeliest of places – a sex addiction support group session. See where this casual encounter goes – with or without sex!
10. About Last Night…
The 1980s was a great decade to watch a lot of comedies with a lot of casual sex in it. And they’re fairly well-written to boot! That’s why About Last Night… is in this list of movies like Friends with Benefits. Like this 2010s film, this ‘80s classic has a great story with great acting to boot.
The 1986 film stars handsome hunk Rob Lowe as Danny, a single guy who is being egged on by his more “worldly” friend Bernie, played by Jim Belushi. Bernie encourages Danny to have one night stands, and even coaches him on how to be with girls.
Enter Demi Moore’s character, the wild single gal named Debbie. She has a more casual approach to relationships, and is somehow more advanced in demeanor than Danny in this department. So the two of them hit it off in a bar one night, and they have a one night stand.
However, Danny felt like having more with this woman. Will Debbie have any of it? See how it turns out!
11. Risky Business
Rich high school kids having casual sex with high-end prostitutes? That’s actually the underlying plot line of Tom Cruise’s known breakout film called Risky Business.
This 1983 movie features Cruise as rich kid Joel, who is being groomed for a life in business by his affluent dad. Joel belongs in an after-school program that trains young people to become entrepreneurs.
So where’s the sex part here? It’s in the usual “parents are out of town so let’s get wild” storyline in Hollywood teen flicks. Joel’s best friend encourages him to have fun while the parents are away. And part of that fun involves his friend contacting a high-end prostitute for his pal to spend the night with.
But things go awry when a precious item in Joel’s household goes missing, after his sexual encounter with the prostitute. Soon, he encounters the prostitute again, together with her pimp, and a string of risky things that will get Joel into parental trouble.
But what’s funny here is that, like all the other comedy movies like Friends with Benefits, the high schooler’s character teams up with the prostitute he had sex with – in order to enter into some riskier business than casual sex. Tune in to find out what that is!
12. Last Tango in Paris
If it’s movies like Friends with Benefits we’re talking about, this serious arthouse-like film, Last Tango in Paris, needs to be mentioned for various reasons.
Granted that it’s not a comedy like the others, this film is as serious as it could get. But the relationship between the male and female leads here is quite interesting to watch as it unfolds.
The film stars Marlon Brando as an American expat living in France. He runs a small hotel business there with his wife. But when the wife died, he got consumed with grief. That’s when he encountered a very sensual young French girl, played by Maria Schneider. They get attracted to each other and start a casual relationship.
What’s interesting in this film is how this relationship unfolds for the two of them. Their identities remain anonymous to each other, even if they explore various sexual encounters with each other. It is indeed for mature audiences, but this 1972 classic remains timeless, if not controversial. Go see why.
13. Looking for Mr. Goodbar
The 1977 film Looking for Mr. Goodbar might be quite the departure in our countdown here, but it’s still worth mentioning in our list of movies like Friends with Benefits. That’s because the “friends” here that enjoy some “benefits” cross over to more serious stuff.
Starring Diane Keaton, it’s about a college student named Theresa who grew up in a very repressed Polish-Irish Catholic household. But the 1970s vibes of sex, drugs and rock and roll don’t jive much with that upbringing. Therese finally decided to liberate herself slowly. It started with losing her virginity to an older man, her college professor.
However, that professor is married, so it ends as an affair. But the affair is also short-lived. When Therese graduated, she took a job as a teacher. But she also took it upon herself to get over this affair by having a string of casual sex encounters. And she also chooses older men in her hook-ups.
The film might be serious in tone, but it’s interesting to see where this story is headed. Go see it if you can!