Is Casual Sex Harmful?

By

Is Casual Sex Harmful?
Admit it, you've always wondered whether casual sex is really okay or not. Read and find out.

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Rick Nauert, Ph.D.

Researchers have discovered casual sex among young adults is not associated with harmful psychological outcomes as compared to sexually active young adults in more committed relationships.

Naturally, the physical risks of casual sex should always be addressed.

Marla E. Eisenberg, Sc.D., M.P.H., of the University of Minnesota Medical School, and colleagues used data from an ongoing study that assessed a diverse sample of 1,311 sexually active young adults. From 2003-2004, 574 males and 737 females in Minnesota with a mean age of 20.5 were surveyed regarding sexual behaviors and emotional well-being.

Of the sexually active respondents, 55 percent reported that their last sexual partner was an exclusive dating partner followed by 25 percent whose most recent partner was a fiancé/e, spouse, or life partner.

12 percent reported their last sexual partner was a close but not exclusive partner and 8 percent stated their last encounter was with a casual acquaintance.

Over twice as many males as females reported that their last partner was casual (i.e. , either a “casual acquaintance” or “close but not exclusive partner”).

Although there has been speculation in public discourse that sexual encounters outside a committed romantic relationship may be emotionally damaging for young people, this study found no differences in the psychological well-being of young adults who had a casual sexual partner verses a more committed partner.

“While the findings from this study show that young adults engaging in casual sexual encounters do not appear to be at increased risk for harmful psychological outcomes compared to those in more committed relationships, this should not minimize the legitimate threats to physical well-being associated with casual sexual relationships, and the need for such messages in sexuality education programs and other interventions with young adults,” Eisenberg said.
 

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

John M. Grohol

Psychologist

Dr. John Grohol is a mental health expert and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.

Location: Newburyport, MA
Credentials: PsyD
Website: PsychCentral
Other Articles/News by John M. Grohol:

Navigating Through Life's Transitions

By

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW. Webster defines "transition" as a passage or process of changing from one form to another. It has been said that we live in a time of transition, of rapid change. Things in our fast paced society don't show signs of slowing down any time soon. ... Read more

The Crazy Reasons People Say Yes To Sex Are Shocking

By

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Eve Eschner Hogan. Why people have sex doesn't seem like it should be a mystery, but a study at the University of Texas asked that very question. We might assume that "it feels good," "I wanted to show my love" or "I wanted to get pregnant" were among the top contenders ... Read more

8 Pieces Of Common Advice That Will Derail Your Relationship

By

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. When you're tying the knot, friends and family may share a few nuggets of advice for living happily ever after. If later you're going through a difficult time in your marriage, they may again be quick to share their input. You might even seek their guidance, hoping a ... Read more

See More

GET MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB