Can Casual Sex Really Be Good For You?
We all know casual sex is fun, but being able to admit that probably boils down to how conservative you really are. Fortunately for us, the authors the new study, Who Benefits From Casual Sex? The Moderating Role of Sociosexuality, aren't so prude.
The study, led by sex researcher Zhana Vrangalova, has been published in Social Psychology and Personality Science, and counters previous claims that casual sex can result in "less enjoyment and nurturance than romantic sex, frequent regret, unwanted emotional attachment, substance use and social stigma." How dramatic.
The researchers have instead found that having one-night stands and "friends with benefits" don't have such negative effects on mental health after all. For those who are into it, at least.
In the world of social sciences, the personality trait that measures degrees of interest in casual sex is termed "sociosexuality." And the authors have asserted, "Sociosexual orientation is a relatively stable tendency toward or away from casual sex, determined by a combination of heritable factors, sociocultural learning, and past experiences, and reflected in three key components: motivation for, attitudes toward, and past experience with casual sex."
Additional research has shown that when people follow their instincts (and that can sometimes mean bringing a stranger home), positive psychological effects will follow. So if you're "sociosexually unrestricted," and desire casual sex, you might get pleasure from feeling like you're acting like your "authentic self" while having it.
The researchers tested their theory by surveying 371 college students about their sociosexuality and by asking about their sexual behavior and psychology well being over a period of nine months.
The researchers explained, "participants were considered to have had penetrative casual sex on a given week if any of their oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse partners were reported as one-night stands, friends with benefits, fuck buddies, casually hanging out, just friends, ex-partners, or unclear/complicated."
The researchers were able to conclude, "Typically, sociosexually unrestricted individuals reported lower distress and high thriving following casual sex, suggesting that high sociosexuality may both buffer against any potentially harmful consequences of casual sex and allow access to its potential benefits."
The researchers maintained that feelings of authenticity "amplified" the beneficial psychological effects that follow.
Vrangalova added "The vast majority of unrestricted people desire, enjoy, and form relationships; they just also enjoy and desire casual sex."