To this, others object, and argue that there is indeed a downside to casual sex. If someone is using dating apps to hookup solely for the quick jolt of love or sex, they may not be looking for, nor truly interested in, a relationship. Let’s call this the “amorous hookup culture.” Here’s how Sex and Relationship Psychologist Bonnie Ellis, Ph.D., defines it in her book “The 5 Love Languages”:
“Amorous hookup culture is where physical attraction is more important than emotional compatibility. In this scenario, the relationship is one-way street and the bottom (or top) of the “relationship pyramid” wants to trade emotionally, but “gets” sex in exchange for financial support, family commitment, or a trip to a family reunion.”
More from Good Housekeeping
Save for the truly casual encounters, casual sex comes with an inevitable risk of serious injury, heartache, and more. To help you discover if casual sex is right for you, keep reading to determine if it is bad for your health, what to expect from the sex and if there’s anyone to be worried about — yourself or the partner you choose. (We promise we aren’t going to sit here and judge people about their preference for certain sexual activities.)
Is Casual Sex Bad for Your Health
There’s no question that casual sex can be fun, but there’s plenty of potential consequences to consider before engaging in hookup. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, “If casual sex occurs without a commitment to any longer term relationship, then casual sex is risky for your physical and mental health and well-being. Because you are not in a committed, committed, and honest relationship, you may experience serious risks of developing poor health, future regrets, and poor mental health.”
We don’t really know what level of stress casual sex produces, says Sex and Relationship Psychologist Dr. Gina Ogden, PLLC. “I think it’s fair to say that casual sexual encounters are never a completely stress-free situation, because we all have our fears and insecurities,” she says. Ogden cautions that stress can have a huge impact on the brain and body.
“It’s been linked to tons of health conditions,” she says, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and weight gain. The science behind the casual hookup and its relationship to health is still murky. There has been
“The truth is, even if your relationship lasts, in most cases, it’s time to move on after a few months anyway,” says Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the University of British Columbia who does not accept any payment for reviews or access to sex-ed apps. “It’s also easy to get annoyed if you just use them as a way to escape your boredom on a Friday night.”
Similarly, Whitney Goldstein, a PhD student in psychology who teaches a course on sexual health and research, recommends paying attention to your feelings. “If you’re not feeling in the moment, you can always turn to date apps to alleviate the boredom, but once you’re feeling a connection with someone, that’s the most important thing,” she says. “Enjoying yourself is a conversation that should last in real life as well.”
Dr. Lehmiller’s do-it-yourself tip for casual sex:
Find a group you connect with.
“Surprisingly, there are tons of online dating spaces that are better geared towards sex than much of the mainstream,” says Lehmiller. “One of the best ways to find these is to browse the forums, groups, and chats of apps that mainly cater to pleasure seekers.” However, Lehmiller cautions that one way to find a group isn’t just to visit a woman’s profile. “As an example, there are groups for co-dependence sufferers and kink-curious people on OKCupid,” he says.
Dr. Goldstein’s self-help tip for casual sex:
Ask if you know anyone.
“If you haven’t been with this person for very long, check out who else is on their contact list,” says Goldstein. “Sometimes people will have a dating site, or online dating profile, where they introduce other people who are a lot sexier or intriguing.”
When engaging in casual sex, always use protection.
“One surefire way to make sure you’ll have fun and will want to have sex again is if the person using a condom wants to do it again,” says Lehmiller. “All too often, people using condoms aren’t sure whether the condom actually works, so they use them and then moan that they don’t even want to have sex anymore.”
Dr. Goldstein’s self-help tip for casual sex:
Don’t assume you’re a good risk.
“In casual sex, you are usually giving consent to a person you don’t know well,” says Goldstein