And that’s why all sorority girls take Xanax.
A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research aimed to determine whether or not having casual sex in college has a negative impact on students’ well-beings. Researchers conducted a large-scale experiment, in which they surveyed students from 30 different universities (both big schools, and small schools) throughout the country, controlling for race, parents’ income, and the previous year’s psychological well-being. Because they’re not idiots, and realize that everyone has a different definition of “casual sex” — heck! Most of us even have different definitions of “in a relationship,” just ask all my boyfriends — the team defined it as having had sexual intercourse (not blowies, not butt stuff, definitely not a DFMO) with someone the participant had known for less than a week.
Personally, I think that definition is bogus, because I would define casual sex as intercourse after which you wouldn’t be lying if you said, “It’s casual.” Usually, that means you know it’s going to happen again, which usually means you’ve known him for more than a week. I’d almost make “casual sex” synonymous with “consistent sex” (you know, with someone you’re not dating), but what do I know? They’re the researchers, I’m just a person who lived in the world they’re studying.
Anyway, the first thing we need to discuss is the most shocking bit of information: only 11% of participants had engaged in casual sex within the 30 days leading up to the assessment. When controlling for gender, 18.6% of men had had casual sex in the prior 30 days, and only 7.4% of women had. I am dead right now. I literally just died. In college, I knew guys who had “casual sex” like…every weekend. Statistically, in order for the average guy to take a girl home once per semester, that figure should have been a third, assuming a semester is about three months long. So, we are vastly over-exaggerating and/or over-perceiving campus promiscuity. That, or only nerds participated in this study, which is unlikely because everyone is forced into studies like these in Psych 101.
After assessing participants on four measures to determine well-being (one for self-esteem, life satisfaction, psychological well-being, and eudaimonic well-being, or “having found oneself”), and two on distress, they found that the campus harlots had generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and depression, which was consistent for both males and females. The research team was shocked that gender had no effect on levels of distress, as they expected women to be more distressed than men were. Obviously, girls are going to freak out about this because they’re all, “Oh my God, it was just one time! I hope the ex I did this to get over doesn’t find out when I try to get back together with him next weekend!” I say it makes sense for men, too; it can take up to 30 days after intercourse for a girl to realize she has missed her period. In that time, the studly manwhore is riddled with anxiety as he awaits the potential “It’s yours” phone call that will inevitably ruin his life, forcing him to commit to someone when his sexploits clearly tell us he’s uncomfortable with commitment. DUH. Or maybe sex is just bad.
Regardless, the end result is that no one’s actually having sex with randos (which means “hookup culture” should really be renamed “not-dating,” because we don’t actually think we’re being slutty, we’re just kissing boys who are only pretending to be interested), but if you do, your life is somehow going to suck more. Proceed with caution.
[via Journal of Sex Research]