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Does Casual Sex Boost Self-Esteem?

Casual sex has a bad reputation in many areas of the media, but is the stigma attached to no-strings encounters fair? According to a study by two American universities, casual sex could do more good than harm.

sexy blond girl touching her hair

Let’s face it: we’re all sexual beings — it’s part of the human condition. There is no shame in craving sex, yet there are those in society who frown upon extramarital sex just for the fun of it. But there is evidence to suggest that negative attitudes towards casual sex may be misplaced.

The research in question was carried out by Cornell University and New York University, and one of its conclusions is that casual sex can boost self-esteem.

Why Is Casual Sex Still Frowned Upon in the 21st Century?

There are various cultural, moralistic and religious reasons why people still form a negative opinion of a person who indulges in casual sex. These views are often propagated by certain sections of the press, and leave people feeling dirty and perverted.

Sadly, there is rampant sexism at play on this issue. Even today, men who engage in casual sex on a regular basis are often congratulated on their virility. Women, on the other hand, are often castigated as a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore’.

Contrary to popular opinion, women need and love sex just as much as men do. The only difference seems to be in the perception of what it means to be a woman. As long as casual sex is respectful and practised safely, it can deliver a range of health-related benefits. It can also make people feel better about themselves.

The Facts About Casual Sex

According to the study, 371 single students were examined to gauge their general wellbeing shortly after having casual sex. Researchers wanted to find out how uncomplicated sex affected a person’s social welfare.

The results showed that the students experienced both positive and negative effects after having casual sex. Exactly how each student responded depended on individual issues such as their various personality traits.

The research aimed to gauge each student’s sociosexuality — the measure of a person’s willingness to engage in casual sex. The study found that those with restricted sociosexuality experienced a lower level of wellbeing after casual sex. Conversely, those with unrestricted sociosexuality experienced heightened levels of wellbeing after casual sex.

The Statistics on Casual Sex Amongst Young People

A total of 2413 weekly reports from the students were studied during the research project. Of those, 204 included casual sex. Of those 204, 90% involved just one partner. Around 35% of students had casual sex at least once during the study. Crucially, these figures were about the same for men and women.

So what does all of this mean? Well, it tells us what many people have suspected all along: casual sex makes you feel good (but only if you’re the type of person who is receptive to it). If the thought of casual sex makes you nervous or makes you question your own morality, it’s probably best to avoid it.

Sex is one of Mother Nature’s best stress relievers. Research has shown that regular sex lowers blood pressure, improves a person’s moods and reduces anxiety. But if there is tension in a relationship, the sex can exacerbate any issues already at play.

Casual sex involves the physical act without the emotional attachment or baggage a relationship often involves. Depending on the type of person you are, this could allow you to enjoy all of the health-related benefits of sex without the stress-inducing side-effects lots of people experience.

So stop feeling guilty about your one-night stands. Don’t treat your fuck buddy as your dirty little secret. Casual sex has been proven to boost self-esteem and deliver various health benefits. The next time you hook up for casual sex, think of your encounter as a health-related pursuit, and the experience could prove more exciting and fulfilling than ever before.

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Image source:Ryan Moreno