In the twenty-first century attitudes about sex have changed dramatically. With the advent of more effective contraceptives, the women’s movement, and the general secularization of society “sociosexually unrestricted” relationships – casual sex – are no longer viewed with the moral stigma of past eras. Don’t get me wrong, they were still having what we call “hookups” in the 50’s, they just were not openly discussed in the media and polite society.
Women today are more than curious about their sexuality, they are exploring it and enjoying it. But are all the taboos looked upon as myth and religious bugga-boos? It has been nearly 60 years since William Masters and Virginia Johnson began their research into human sexuality. How much of what they uncovered about sex and its positive, or negative effects on human well-being has been confirmed or denied by this new liberal culture? The idea of “friends with benefits” is casually accepted by a large segment of the population. But researchers are still searching for the answers to old questions about how we are affected by the new sexual openness.In a Men’s Fitness article that highlights a Cornell University research study on the topic of casual sex, Ph.D. Zhana Vrangalova shares insights into some positives revealed. Dr. Vrangalova has her doctorate in developmental psychology from Cornell and currently teaches as adjunct professor at NYU.She has conducted several human sexuality research studies focused on the trend of casual sex and its effect on the well-being of the participants. She maintains a blog site called The Casual Sex Project, where she posts people’s stories about casual sexual encounters. Dr. Vrangalova’s study used a group of 371 willing college students as subjects. They documented their sexual encounters over a period of 12 weeks.
The group’s sense of well-being was monitored throughout the study, and the result was not astounding. The doctor’s conclusions were that those open to “sociosexually unrestricted” encounters (both male and female) had a greater sense of well-being after sex than after not having sex. Her overall conclusion was both men and women who are predisposed to casual recreational sexual activity reported experiencing higher levels of self-esteem and lower rates of anxiety and depression following hookups. Though there have been different studies that report opposite findings, Dr. Vrangalova’s research gives the indication there are positive health benefits – for some people. So perhaps like milk, recreational sex may do the body good – or not.