The report outlines studies showing both positive and negative mental health effects from casual sex. For example, one study in 2008 found that 57 percent of women were glad they hooked up the morning after.
However, another study showed that feelings during a hookup don’t necessarily match feelings several days after. In a 2002 study, 35 percent of the participants felt regretful or disappointed after a hookup, yet 65 percent of participants also stated that they felt “good, aroused or excited” during the actual act.
Other studies mentioned in the APA report also found that in certain cases, casual sex can relieve some depressive symptoms and loneliness, but it can also lower self-esteem depending on the person.
With the variety of results out there linking casual sex to different mental health effects, I think it’s safe to say that even “casual” sex can be pretty complicated.
What do you think? Do you think casual sex can harm or benefit mental health?
Bersamin, Melina M. and Zamboanga, Byron L., et al. Journal of Sex Research. Risky Business: Is There an Association between Casual Sex and Mental Health among Emerging Adults? Web. July 1, 2013.
ScienceDaily. Are College Student Hook-Ups Linked to Anxiety and Depression? Web. July 1, 2013.
University of Minnesota. U of M studies psychological impact of casual sex. Web. July 1, 2013.
Garcia, Justin R. American Psychological Association. Sexual hook-up culture. Web. July 2, 2013.
Reviewed July 2, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith