Almost 60 percent of American college students have been in a "no commitment" and "no romance" sexual relationship with a friend, which is also touted as a "friends with benefits" relationship, according to a study.
Conducted by researchers at Wayne State University and Michigan State University, the study showed that the possibility for romantic feelings, and a lack of communication, could complicate such an arrangement.
The study focussed on why college students had such relationships at all.
The researchers asked 125 undergraduates why they would or wouldn't have sex with a friend, and what the advantages or disadvantages would be.
It was found that two-thirds of participants had been in a "friends with benefits" relationship, and 36 percent said that they were in one.
The results indicated that the main advantage of such a relationship was "no commitment" (reported by 59.7 percent of participants), which was followed closely by "have sex" (55.6 percent).
Over 50 percent of those who had had sex with a friend said they had engaged in all forms of sex.
Around 22.7 percent said that they had intercourse only, while 8 percent said that they did everything but have intercourse.
"[The relationships] were perceived as providing a relatively safe and convenient environment for recreational sex," Live Science quoted Melissa A. Bisson and Timothy R. Levine, the study's lead researchers, as saying.
However, the biggest disadvantage of this recreational sex was the possibility that feelings would develop (65.3 percent).
Other worries included "harm friendship" (28.2 percent) and "cause negative emotions" (27.4 percent).
However, concern over pregnancy and STDs, listed as "negative consequences of sex", came in at only 9.7 percent.
Levine said that the findings hardly indicated that people had evolved to the point where "friends with benefits" relationships would replace traditional romantic couplings.
"Romantic relationships have always been around," he said.
Recreational sex "really requires either effective birth control or women to be economically independent or both to be viable, and both are relatively recent in human evolution."
The study has been published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
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