The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sexology, found casual sex nearly doubled the risk of contracting HPV, a cancer-causing virus that is spread through skin-to-skin contact. HPV is also known to increase the risk of cervical cancer. In the United States, most cervical cancer cases are linked to HPV, according to the American Cancer Society.
The University of Pennsylvania has also studied the connection between HPV and sexual activity. In their own study, researchers followed more than 11,000 people in the U.S. for nine years and found that men who had sex with women outside of long-term relationships were twice as likely to be infected with the virus.
We should all have casual sex because it’s what’s best for our bodies, our relationships and our mental health. Here’s all the reasons why.
A recent study found that casual sex can actually put you at a higher risk for depression. University of Illinois researchers analyzed 10 years of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and found that having sex made women feel less connected to their significant other. The women in the study were also more likely to experience symptoms of depression. They note that the same thing could be true for men, if they have sex with a variety of different partners. But if you really love someone, then you’re going to put your best energy into making them feel connected. The more you’re intimate with someone, the more you care about them, and the better it is for your mental health.
If you haven’t had sex in a while, your chances of catching a sexually transmitted disease, or even, more realistically, a cold or the flu, is a lot higher than if you’re in a long-term relationship. In part, this is because you’re having unprotected sex when you aren’t sick. If you weren’t feeling well, you wouldn’t be having sex.
Avoiding an STD is as easy as wearing a condom when you’re having sex, but as the University of Pennsylvania study found, when you’re on the outside — outside of your committed relationship or anything that could be considered a relationship at all — sex feels less meaningful. When you’re just having sex because it’s what everyone is doing, the sex doesn’t feel as special and is more likely to take place in order to get it over with.
Finally, sex with someone who isn’t as compatible as your existing relationship can make your love life feel more like a job interview and less like a date.
You’re probably in
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So, does casual sex make you sad? Every day, we humans sate a basic biological hunger for connection — the part of us that wants to understand and care for other humans. This is not as easy as it sounds. One reason that it’s not a lot harder is that hookup culture has created what the writer Douglas Rushkoff calls “the illusion of freedom.” Without realizing it, many of us accepted and even demanded casual sex as a way of life. Our courtship and dating practices began to mimic the ways our prehistoric relatives seduced a mate. What’s more, those of us who grew up with the Internet, apps like Tinder, and other instant gratification outlets have a greater than average appetite for easy, and often one-sided, sexual gratification. When we speak of casual sex, we’re usually talking about encounters that occur outside of a long-term relationship. But what we may not be aware of is the emotional and psychological effects that casual sex can have on us, especially when it comes to casual hookups that turn into meaningful relationships. Is casual sex good or bad for you? It depends. There are pros, but also cons — some of which are evident and yet others that are just plain dumbfounding. Not everyone who plays around has the same definition of “sex.” Some people only have sex once in their life and that’s that. Others do it often and casually. “Casual sex,” as a descriptor, really means “sex that doesn’t feel good.” Casual sex is different from the idea of “cheating” or “just sex.” In the former, both parties are knowledgeable of the other, care about the other, and there is shared understanding. In the latter case, there is just physical connection, no real intimacy, and the other person probably feels otherwise. In casual sex, there may be nothing like it. According to the doTERRA Flawless Skin Care line, “hot sex is an open-ended adventure.” Open to what? OkCupid agrees, “Casual sex means having sex with someone you aren’t in love with.” Though some professionals will suggest that everyone has sex, others maintain that only people in romantic relationships can truly enjoy sexual freedom, and that casual sex is dangerous because it is “disrespectful to one’s partner in a relationship.” Despite that one thing: Casual sex makes us feel great, it can be valuable, it can help you