Is casual sex among adolescents really harmful to those young minds and emotions?
Maybe, but maybe not.
A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research questioned the assumption that casual sex is harmful to young minds with turbulent emotions. The study found that assumption may be wrong, especially when it comes to high school boys, whether on campuses in Los Angeles or almost anywhere.
However, the study was centered on Quebec in Canada.
Casual sex didn’t seem to negatively impact boys’ well-being. Even girls may not be as effected negatively as many people assume, although that’s not always true.
“Casual sexual relationships and experiences are still considered to be detrimental to the psychological well-being of youth even though findings remain inconclusive,” according to the study.
“Most studies have focused on emerging adulthood. Using a prospective design based on a representative sample of high school students in the province of Quebec, we measured sexually active adolescents’ psychological well-being six months after engaging in these relationships while controlling for prior well-being,” the report said.
A total of 2304 adolescents were included in the study that analyzed two forms of casual sex: “Friends with benefits,” and “one-night stand relationships.”
The results showed that casual sex “had a small impact on subsequent psychological well-being, especially among girls,” according to the study conclusion.
“Friends with benefits relationships involving penetrative contact increased girls’ psychological distress and both their alcohol and drug consumption,” according to the study’s authors.
“One night stands, including sexual touching, increased girls’ psychological distress and their drug use,” but none of the casual sex encounters “influenced boys’ psychological well-being.”
Friends with benefits are usually considered to include sex between non-romantic friends with no illusions of any relationship.
“The findings underscored the importance of using caution” when arguing that casual sex encounters are “detrimental or harmless to the psychological well-being of adolescents. The results also highlight the importance of taking into account gender” and forms of casual sex “in prevention and health.” interventions.
The study was published online Dec. 23.
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