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Posted January 4, Reviewed by Lybi Ma. The sex and romance literatures reinforce the standard perception that casual sex among adults across a of ages is common. For some individuals, it is an emotionally momentous life event; for others, merely a blip on their sexual landscape.
Some people only occasionally dabble, while others utilize casual sex as their primary sexual outlet.
The research question for psychologist Rose Wesche and colleagues was not whether adults engage in casual sex but when they do, is it a positive or negative life event, and what factors predict the emotional outcome of casual sex? For example, do the sexes evaluate casual sex in a similar manner? They reviewed over 70 research articles to explore these issues. Although the preponderance of the evidence was positive, negative casual sex encounters were reported by many individuals who had at least one negative experience. Nearly three-quarters of individuals in several studies experienced regret, negative feelings, or embarrassment.
Few studies assess this directionality dilemma because the preconditions of the person emotionally, physically, sexually and the context in which casual sex occurs are not always considered. Thus, explicit detail about what causes positive versus negative outcomes is largely unknown. Perhaps some individuals engage in casual sex because they are lonely or depressed; others because they are feeling invigorated and horny; and others because the opportunity was random or unplanned and they went for it.
In several longitudinal studies, although engagement in casual sex might have had short-term negative effects on emotional health, there was little evidence that it was detrimental on long-term emotional health.
The authors suggested that having positive emotional outcomes when engaging in casual sex encounters can be enhanced if individuals have, prior to the experience, educational guidance regarding sexual decision-making as to whether and under what circumstances such behavior is desired. Teaching about verbal and nonverbal consent practices would also be helpful.
My addition to this advice is to advocate that this instructional process should commence during middle school with an explicit educational program that provides clear and value-free information about casual sex. Maybe we can insert such programs into our curricula during Wesche, R. Claxton, S. Journal of Sex Research. Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Ph. Worry is driven by mood, not logic. Anxiety holds your deepest yearnings.
And you can subdue it for good. Three experts turn everything you know about anxiety inside out. Savin-Williams Ph. Sex, Sexuality, and Romance.
A review reveals most people evaluate their casual sex as positive. Key points A review of studies on casual sex sought to determine which factors predicted the emotional outcome, and whether they differed for men and women. People reported ificantly more positive than negative feelings about casual sex episodes, but women were more likely to have regrets.
Overall, encounters were viewed more positively when the partner was someone the partner knew. References Wesche, R. About the Author. Read Next. Back Psychology Today.
Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting. View Help Index. Do I Need Help? Back Magazine. September A Sigh of Relief Worry is driven by mood, not logic. Back Today.
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