Want to boost your self-esteem, feel better about life, and reduce anxiety? Have casual sex. If you're OK with it.
At least that's the conclusion of a new study out of NYU. Researchers tracked 371 undergrads for an academic year, asking them to report on their sexual activity and how it made them feel. Turns out that for both men and women, those who who were comfortable with the idea of casual sex reported feeling better after doing the deed.
NY Mag has more:
Undergrads who viewed casual sex in a positive light “typically reported higher well-being after having casual sex compared to not having casual sex” — “well-being” meaning higher self-esteem and lower depression and anxiety. Those with negative attutides toward casual sex reported a hit to their well-being, but this wasn't statistically significant. (The researchers didn't have a lot of data to work with because, unsurprisingly, people who don't like casual sex don't tend to have a lot of casual sex.) There were no identifiable gender differences.
In an interview with Digital Journal, the lead author of the study, Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, speculated that the positive benefits of casual sex could be attributed to acting in accordance with one's personality. In other words, when we're true to ourselves, we feel better about ourselves.
For those of you in a committed relationship, don't despair. This doesn't mean that casual sex is better than sex in a relationship, according to Vrangalova. Most people "desire, enjoy, and form relationships," she told Digital Journal. "They just also enjoy and desire casual sex.”
What we know for sure: sex is a complicated topic!
What are your thoughts?
To learn more about Dr. Zhana, you can visit her website, connect with her on Twitter @DrZhana or check out her latest creation, The Casual Sex Project.