You don’t have to look that far to find scientists and journalists talking about how bad casual sex is for you. The thing is, all people don’t respond to all behaviours equally—so why wouldn’t that be true of casual sex?
A new study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science has found that, amongst the type of people who are highly interested in casual sex, casual sex can result in higher self-esteem and lower depression and anxiety. What we’re talking about is something researchers call “sociosexuality”’—that is, whether a person prefers stable sexual relationships, or whether they prefer casual ones.
Researchers surveyed 371 college students about their sexual behaviour and psychological wellbeing over a period of nine months. They considered casual sex as anything involving one-night stands, friends with benefits, just friends, ex-partners, or anything involving the phrase “it’s complicated”.
Over the nine months, 42 of the subjects engaged in casual sex, and the ones who were sociosexually unrestricted also had higher self-esteem and life satisfaction, along with lower anxiety and depression. So what’s someone who is sociosexually unrestricted like? Well, a sociosexually unrestricted woman is extroverted, sensation-seeking, more likely to have cheated on a romantic partner, and impulsive. A sociosexually unrestricted man is likely to be strong, sexist, narcissistic, coercive, and manipulative. And attractive.
Granted these people sound annoying, but if you’re one of them, don’t worry about pursuing casual sex—it’ll make you happier in the long run.