Single ladies, rejoice! A new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science may prove that casual sex could actually be beneficial to your mental health and well being.
Although past studies have proven inconclusive as to whether hooking up is harmful, a new take on the subject shows that the positive or negative effects of getting it on outside of a relationship might actually be dependent on your personality type. Specifically, your “socialsexuality,” or your degree of interest in casual sex.
“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,” the authors of the study wrote.
To test whether casual sex has a negative or positive effect, researchers surveyed 371 college students over nine months. The test subjects were questioned to determine their baseline sociosexuality, then asked about their sexual behavior and psychological well being. By the end of the study, 42% of the subjects had had sex outside of a relationship.
The surprising finding? Those that were relatively sociosexually open tended to have higher self-esteem and life satisfaction and lower levels of depression and anxiety.
“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,” lead researcher Zhana Vrangalova told Pacific Standard Magazine. “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.”
But if you’re in a dedicated, monogamous relationship, don’t fret! This doesn’t mean casual sex is better for you than sticking with your boyfriend. “The vast majority of unrestricted people desire, enjoy, and form relationships; they just also enjoy and desire casual sex,” Vrangalova said.
In all, the study shows that the question of whether or not casual sex is good or bad for you isn’t so black and white. According to Vrangalova “this study and a previous study of mine are some of the first studies to show that hooking up is not always bad or good for everyone, that it depends on various personal, interpersonal and situational factors.”
Tell that to the Starbucks guy next time he gives you a judge-y look when you’re doing the
walk of shame stride of pride the morning after a night out.
xx, The FabFitFun Team