I recently saw a young woman who had just broken up with her boyfriend. They had been in a serious relationship for several years and he was her first lover. She decided she wanted to enjoy being American style hookup pros and cons for a while and have casual sex like most of her friends did. But she felt a bit insecure and needed some more "sex education". Casual sex has always existed, but over recent decades it has become much more common and accepted. The introduction of the birth control pill in the s led to the sexual revolution and a shift in traditional values, especially the acceptance of sex outside marriage.
Young people these days settle down much later than their parents did and they usually have many more partners. In Australia there hasn't been much research done yet on our casual sex habits or the more popular term -- the 'hook-up' culture. In the US sex researcher Dr Zhana Vrangalova, from Cornell University, New York State, led a nine-month research study of university students about their sexual feelings, behaviour and overall "American style hookup pros and cons." They were questioned about their views on casual sex, how many people they had casual sex with, and their levels of sexual desire.
The study found that socio-sexually unrestricted students -- that is, those who slept around -- reported higher wellbeing after casual sex. The researchers found lower stress and higher thriving followed casual sex, "suggesting that high socio-sexuality may both buffer against any potentially harmful consequences of casual sex and allow access to its potential benefits". What makes this more intriguing is that Dr Vrangalova wrote an article some months earlier saying that casual sex makes you depressed.
So which is right? That appears to depend on the motivation for casual sex. Students' motivations were divided between "right" reasons autonomous and "wrong" ones non-autonomous.