updated 4/2/2009 12:58:01 PM ET 2009-04-02T16:58:01

Can two people have sex and still remain "just friends?" A recent study found that 60 percent of college students have been in a "friends with benefits" relationship, but that the possibility for romantic feelings — and a lack of communication — can complicate such an arrangement.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

That may seem fairly obvious. But the study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, focused on why college students have these relationships at all. Researchers from Wayne State University and Michigan State University asked 125 undergraduates why they would or wouldn't have sex with a friend, and what the advantages or disadvantages would be.

Two-thirds of participants said they had been in a "friends with benefits" relationship, and 36 percent said they currently were in one. 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).

More than half of those who had sex with a friend said they had engaged in all forms of sex; 22.7 percent said they had intercourse only, while 8 percent said they did everything but have intercourse.

"[The relationships] were perceived as providing a relatively safe and convenient environment for recreational sex," write Melissa A. Bisson and Timothy R. Levine, the study’s lead researchers.

© 2012 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments