Casual sex is not damaging

December 9th, 2009 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 9 (IANS) Young adults engaging in casual sex don’t seem to be at increased risk for harmful psychological outcomes as compared to sexually active young adults in more committed relationships, says a new study.
While this study focused on the psychological impact, researchers caution that the physical risks of casual sex should not be overlooked.

Marla E. Eisenberg, University of Minnesota (UM) Medical School and colleagues used data from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), an ongoing study that assessed a diverse sample of 1,311 sexually active young adults.

From 2003-2004, 574 males and 737 females in Minnesota with a mean age of 20.5 were surveyed regarding sexual behaviours and emotional well-being.

Of the sexually active respondents, 55 percent reported that their last sexual partner was an exclusive dating partner followed by 25 percent whose most recent partner was a fiance, spouse, or life partner, a UM release said.

Much lower percentages reported that their last sexual partner was a close but not exclusive partner (12 percent) or a casual acquaintance (eight percent).

Over twice as many males as females reported that their last partner was casual (either a “casual acquaintance” or “close but not exclusive partner”).

Although there has been speculation in public discourse that sexual encounters outside a committed romantic relationship may be emotionally damaging for young people, this study found no differences in the psychological well-being of young adults who had a casual sexual partner compared to a more committed partner.

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