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Third of young Brits have had friends with benefits - but hoped for more

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One in three young people (33%) have had a ‘friend with benefits’, according to relationship charity OnePlusOne.

However, of the 1,000 16 to 24-year-olds who took part in the research, 53% of those who admitted to having had regular sex with a friend were secretly hoping it would develop in to something more serious.

While more young men than women report having had a friend with benefits (36% and 29% respectively), it is young females that are marginally more likely to be happy with the ‘no strings attached’ arrangement without wishing for more (48% and 46% respectively of young people who have had a friend with benefits).

The findings highlight that while ‘friends with benefits’ may be a form of experimentation, these seemingly informal relationships can be complex and confusing for some. 

Emma Rubach, Head of Editorial at YouthNet, which partnered up with OnePlusOne to carry out the survey, said: “It’s clearly something many young people are unsure about. For some people it is absolutely fine but it can be fraught with confusion and end in hurt for others.”

Penny Mansfield, Director of OnePlusOne, added: “This research shows that while sex without commitment – or friends with benefits – is increasingly common amongst young people, over half of them are seeking a more secure emotional connection with their current sexual partner.

“Evidence shows that while experimenting can be fine and fun for some people, most people want a serious relationship that involves an emotional bond as well as sex, but if that isn’t the case for both people involved then it can cause problems.” 

OnePlusOne is releasing the new findings as part of a project funded by the Department for Education to encourage people to talk openly about relationships and what works for them. 

If you want more advice on relationships – from dealing with long distance to coming out to starting uni as a virgin – head over to our Sex and Relationship advice page.

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