With 80% of university students admitting to having engaged in sexual acts outside of a committed relationship, “Hookup Culture” has lost its stigma. Bad news – studies show that too much casual sex can cause depression and even lead to suicidal thoughts.
Hookups, one-night stands or casual sex: whatever it’s called, it’s linked with confidence, fun and freedom of sexuality. It sounds like a good thing, right? Social science research has proven that casual encounters can lead to feelings of guilt, sexual regret and even heartache.
According to research, six out of 10 women believe there is no such thing as ‘too many’ sexual partners, especially casual ones.
“We’re sleeping with twice as many people as our parents have”
One-night stands are common within university students, with a lifestyle of booze, parties and lots of sex – there’s hardly a stigma behind it because everyone is doing it. But it’s been said to lower the value of sex and weaken chances of establishing a stable, meaningful relationship.
But as some students say, a committed relationship is not what they’re after at this age.
A revolutionary study by Sara Sandberg-Thomas, researcher at Ohio State University, claims that too many casual hook-ups can be detrimental to mental health and can even cause suicidal thoughts.
She says: “There’s evidence to prove that poor mental health can lead to casual sex, but also that casual sex leads to additional declines in mental health.”
The study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, also claims that each additional casual sex relationship increases the odds of suicidal thoughts by 18%.
Men suffer too
The link between casual sex and decline in mental health was found to be the same in both men and women. Which came to a surprise to Dr Kamp Dush, Human Sciences expert who says: “There is still a sexual double standard in society that says it is OK for men to have casual sex relationships, but it is not OK for women.”
Despite the idea that casual sex commonly affects women in terms of mental health. Both sexes have their issues.
A Canadian study states that men’s regrets focus solely on physical reasons, such as the woman’s lack of attractiveness or dissatisfaction in bed. But the women’s regrets came from a feeling of shame and self-blame which is caused by the ‘traditional values’ of a woman saving her purity and preserving it for someone worthy.
This idea is supported by Lisa Palmer, a celebrity dating coach who says: “All ladies, respect and love yourself. If you do that, you get treated well and you see yourself in a better light knowing you are preserving yourself.”
Regardless, casual sex can benefit some and can be detrimental to others, but as long as we’re taking care of our mental health and practising safe sex – then what’s wrong with ‘swiping right’ to a spontaneous encounter?