Could casual sex make us happier?

Jul 4, 2014
Sex Talk
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Ok, I admit it. I’ve had casual sex. Once in New York with a man I knew I’d never see again and a couple of times with a friend who should have known better.

The experiences differed greatly. Meaningless sex with my friend should have been light-hearted, imaginative, and fun. In reality, our short lived tryst culminated in me sobbing and sprinting to the nearest train station in a cold December fog after he took a phone call from his ex-girlfriend post-coitus. By comparison, sex with my New Yorker was spontaneous, anonymous, and totally devoid of feeling. After a night between the sheets (no spooning) I kicked him out of my bed in the early hours and continued my holiday with a spring in my step.

Imagine my curiosity then, when I discovered a recent study, conducted by sex researcher Dr Zhana Vrangalova, had concluded that no-strings-attached sex can actually be beneficial. For some of us, getting down and dirty with a stranger boosts life satisfaction and self-esteem, and can even lessen anxiety.

Whether a one night stand will leave you skipping or sobbing all the way to the train station depends on your “sociosexuality”, according to Dr Vrangalova. Sociosexual orientation is determined by your motivation for, attitudes toward, and past experience with casual sex. Those with a less restricted sociosexuality are more comfortable engaging in sex without love, commitment or closeness.

As part of Dr Vrangalova’s study, 370 students were surveyed for nine months about their sexual feelings, behavior and overall well being. They were questioned about their views on casual sex, how many people they had engaged in casual sex with, and their level of sexual desire.

The 42 per cent who had indulged in, and enjoyed, casual sex were defined as being sociosexual and reported higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression than people who hadn’t got amorous with an unfamiliar.

Unfortunately, the idea of casual sex still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of prudes. A Facebook post asking my friends to reveal their most candid sexual exploits yielded no results and trust me, my pals are no saints. Why are we so coy when it comes to admitting to one night stands?

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