New York University and Cornell University researchers teamed up to conduct survey, in which took part 371 college students. In their responses, 42 percent confessed to having sex outside of a relationship.
“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, f*ck buddies, casually hanging out, just friends, ex-partners, or unclear/complicated,” the researchers explain.
The study found that sociosexually unrestricted respondents – those who slept around – admitted improving of their well-being after casual sex.
“Typically, sociosexually unrestricted individuals (i.e., those highly oriented toward casual sex) reported lower distress and higher 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 write.
The researchers believe lower stress and higher 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.”
All this is even more interesting considering the same researcher, Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D. of Cornell, who insisted just a few months ago that sex outside relationship makes a person depressed.
So what’s the difference? It appears the difference depends on the motivation for casual sex.
“The motivations were divided between “right” reasons, as autonomous, or “wrong” ones, as nonautonomous. Autonomous was for reasons like wanting the fun and enjoyment, or “to explore and learn about your sexuality,” The Huff Post says.
Nonautonomous included doing it for revenge, to feel better about yourself, avoid unpleasant feelings or “being somehow tricked or coerced into it, or too intoxicated to make a responsible decision.”
“I found that whether or not students hooked up during the course of the year was not related to their well-being at the end of the year,” Vrangalova previously wrote. “However, whether they did it for nonautonomous motives was.” Autonomous motivation, meanwhile, was unrelated to well-being.
“[P]ast findings on the main effects of casual sex on well-being range from negative to positive with a preponderance of nonsignificant results,” Vrangalova added. That means that the inconsistencies might mean that the true effect is context- and personality-dependent.
“This study certainly seems to suggest that casual sex can be a good thing for people who are open to it, desire it, and have positive attitudes towards it,” the expert added. “And it is always a good idea to be safe while doing it and not get too wasted – other research shows that a lot of the guilt following casual sex comes from failure to [use] condoms or getting too drunk.”
‘‘New research suggests that not all casual sex is bad,” Pacific Standard‘s Ryan Jacobs announced. Jesse Singal at New York magazine concluded the same, noting that research on the fallout of casual sex until this study has been draped “in a lot of puritanical pseudoscience, much of it with a decidedly sexist tinge.”
So, even even if this new study’s findings appear obvious— those who practice casual sex will derive benefits from having it—they at least move the needle past the assumption that casual sex has any “one-size-fits-all positive or negative impact” on every person. As Jezebel concluded: “Whatever floats your boat.”