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Is Casual Sex Leading to Psychological Distress, Anxiety and Depression in Young People? Study Yields Shocking Results


"Times have changed."

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Pre-marital and casual sex have, in many ways, become societal norms. When young people take abstinence pledges, they are seemingly in a minority. As unrestricted sex becomes more prominent or, at the least, more accepted, many argue that its effects are nothing to worry about.

"Times have changed" and "It's no big deal" are familiar mantras. But a new study may call these dismissals into question, as it found that casual sex may lead to depression and anxiety among college students.

Published in "The Journal of Sex Research," the study, entitled, "Risky Business: Is There an Association Between Casual Sex and Mental Health Among Emerging Adults?," found that students who have had casual sex had higher levels of social and general anxiety and depression, reports Science Daily. It was led by Dr. Melina M. Bersamin of California State University, Sacramento.

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For the purposes of the study, "casual sex" was defined as having sex with someone that a respondent had known for less than a week. The online survey included 3,907 heterosexual students, ages 18 to 25, from over 30 schools across the U.S. About 11 percent of students reported having such an encounter the month before the survey (and the majority were men).

"For emerging-adult college students, engaging in casual sex may elevate risk for negative psychological outcomes." the abstract for the study proclaims.

While one research endeavor isn't the end all, be all, Bersamin claims that the results show that "casual sex was negatively associated with well-being and positively associated with psychological distress." There were no disparities in gender when it came to the impact of casual sex.

Considering that society continues to loosen up in this arena, the potential results and impact are essential to consider.

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(H/T: Big Think)


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