Science of Sex
Casual sex has been on the rise for decades. This has been concerning for many reasons.
But, did you know that 75% of casual sexual encounters may lead to a relationship?
Did you know that 45% of men hoped their last casual sex partner had turned into a steady relationship?
Or what about for those suffering from depression, casual sex may improve their mood (although for those with a healthy social life, they may feel worse)?
Ok- these are the positives, and there are clearly some negatives. Regret and shame are two emotional possibilities, and unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases are also serious risks.
But, this article by Pere Estupinyà sheds light on a side of casual sex that may have been overlooked. This is by no means an endorsement, only an example of how science can uncover aspects of a behavior we may not have previously understood.
In this case, more casual sex may not be a good thing. But it does seem evident the studies (and interview) he references indicate a few things in need of further investigation.
To start, it does sound as though many people are looking for steady relationships, even though they may engage in a “casual” encounter without that in mind.
Is this the healthiest and most effective strategy for initiating a long-term relationship? I believe most of us would assume the answer is no, but it is an empirical question. Perhaps it saves time.
Or perhaps there is a breakdown in our current socialization for us to understand what we really desire, e.g., a long-term relationship, and/or we don’t know how to communicate about that, so instead we end up in casual encounters. Perhaps developing greater self-awareness and effective communication skills could reduce casual encounters, while increasing the number of healthy long-term relationships if that is the goal.
In any event, we have a lot to learn (and I hope we do it quickly) about how changes in the media are impacting our sexual and relationship behaviors.