Casual Sex is Good For You If That’s Your Thing

Illustration for article titled Casual Sex is Good For You If That’s Your Thing

In the eternal debate over hookup culture and how it affects our well-being, we all heard the argument or the cited studies that casual sex or sex outside a relationship is a psychological detriment and. Well, it turns out that studies on casual sex have tended to exclude people who, well, actually really enjoy having casual sex. That might skew things a bit.


A study published earlier this month entitled "Who Benefits From Casual Sex? The Moderating Role of Sociosexuality" aims to address that by focusing on sociosexuality, which according to the authors 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."

Sociosexuality has a lot more to do with personal authenticity—if you're simply being consistent and true to your preferences and personality, wouldn't that carry psychological benefits? Well, basically. Ryan Jacobs at PS Mag has a great piece about the study. He explains:

When it came to those who were sociosexually unrestricted, having casual sex was associated with higher self-esteem and life satisfaction and lower depression and anxiety. "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.

So… whatever floats your boat. Got it.



"Being consistent and true to your preferences and personality" is a little bit of a naive way of looking at it. That really isn't the issue; the issue is that women become more or less socialized into doing things that aren't true to their preferences or personalities. That's where social coercion comes in. When something problematic becomes normalized and expected of women, that's where the issue arises. Vrangalova says; "Among men, ["unrestricted people"] are also more likely to be physically strong, and especially among college men, also more sexist, manipulative, coercive and narcissistic." It shouldn't be a surprise that some women enjoy casual sex. The issue is that women are more and more being expected by men to engage in casual and NSA sex which may not be "consistent and true to a woman's preferences and personality."