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Casual Sex Does Not Make You Happy

Casual Sex Does Not Make You Happy

Both young men and women who have casual sexual encounters are less happy.


New research published in the Journal of Sex Research suggests “college hook-ups” are associated with higher levels of stress, fear and depression. The researchers examined a group of 3,900 (the biggest survey so far) heterosexual college students from across the United States. “Casual Sex” was defined as having sex with a partner one has known for less than a week.

On average, 11 percent of the participants said to have had casual sex in the month before filling out the survey – most of them were men. What was surprising, though, was that the results showed that for both men and women, having casual sexual encounters was correlated with a lower psychological well-being: they reported to have lower self esteem, higher levels of (social) anxiety, and experienced less satisfaction in life than their less promiscuous counterparts.

This study offers new research possibilities for the future. In particular, the researchers are interested to know more about the correlation between having casual sex and mental health; do young boys and girls have sexual encounters with people they’ve just met because they are already less happy in life – or is it they other way around? Future research will have to tell.

Bersamin MM, Zamboanga BL, Schwartz SJ, Donnellan MB, Hudson M, Weisskirch RS, Kim SY, Agocha VB, Whitbourne SK, & Caraway SJ (2013). Risky Business: Is There an Association between Casual Sex and Mental Health among Emerging Adults? Journal of sex research PMID: 23742031

casual relationship psychology, promiscuity in women, psychology of promiscuity, teenage promiscuity

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