Is casual sex emotionally healthy?

Whether casual sex is emotionally healthy is not at all a myth that adult casual sex is commonplace. Literature and cinema abound with such examples, and researchers in the field are aware of this apparently human behavior.

For some, casual sex plays the role of an important event in life, for some, it’s just entertainment. For some it happens from time to time, for others, it becomes a way of life. But how does casual sex affect the psyche? This is what psychologist Rose Wash and her team set out to investigate. For specialists, it is interesting whether casual sex has a positive or negative effect on emotions and what factors determine the experience on this linear scale.

To study people’s emotional reactions to the “event” of casual sex, psychologists analyzed 70 studies.

Emotional reactions are subjective, although many practitioners of casual sex remain with positive emotions from it, these are their conclusions. However, one negative experience for a given person is enough to form a negative attitude towards casual sex, they found, and these, alas, were reported by almost three-quarters of respondents in various studies. For them, regret about what happened, a sense of embarrassment, and negative emotions remain predominant.

This makes it much more difficult to conclude whether casual sex is a positive event. A person’s chances of being satisfied with such an increase under certain conditions, the researchers commented. For most people, the best sex happens with a romantic partner, and not randomly with someone, especially a stranger, they emphasize.

The causal relationship is difficult to unravel: does casual sex increase self-esteem and reduce depression and anxiety, or do people with good self-esteem and low anxiety tend to have casual sex? There are several studies that include individual backgrounds such as emotions, physicality, sexuality, etc., all questions that illustrate the conundrum of inference.

Probably some of those who have casual sex feel lonely or depressed and therefore indulge in it; others do it because they want to diversify their activities or just get turned on; thirdly, take advantage of the opportunity.

What is also clear from the researchers’ analysis is that casual sex may have a negative impact on emotional health in the short term, but in terms of long-term emotional health, this cannot be said.

What factors determine whether casual sex plays a negative or positive role in emotions?

Here are the researchers’ findings:

  • Women are much more likely than men to regret and worry about casual sex. Therefore, its practice by women is less satisfying than by men.
  •  Age is a factor related to emotional experience and is different for teenagers, young people, and others.
  • It also depends on the individual attitude towards sexuality – those who are positive or tolerant experience positive emotions after casual sex. Most understand that casual sex can be enjoyable, but rarely emotionally intimate. That is, reasonable expectations are crucial for the emotional state. For example, the expectation that casual sex will develop into a romantic relationship is associated with disappointment and heartbreak.
  • If the sexual partner was close, usually from unplanned sex there are more positive emotions than negative ones. In other cases, it usually has a high negative rating.


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