A new paper by Justin Garcia, a Research Fellow at the Kinsey Institute (and a protege of Helen Fisher) takes stock of the latest research on the psychological consequences of casual sex.
Hookups are becoming more engrained in popular culture, reflecting both evolved sexual predilections and changing social and sexual scripts.
Garcia goes on to thoroughly survey the notable research to date.
Here are the most interesting excerpts: It’s clear that positive feelings from a hookup diminish over time.
Also, unsurprisingly, women express far more regret and other emotional consequences than men.
Still, it’s clear that about a quarter of women enjoy hooking up and cite no ill effects.
(It’s amazing how that 20-25% number comes up again and again! In one study, among participants who were asked to characterize the morning after a hookup, (the remainders for each sex had a mix of both positive and negative reactions; Owen et al., 2010).3.
In a qualitative study that asked 187 participants to report their feelings after a typical hookup, 35 percent reported feeling regretful or disappointed, 27 percent good or happy, 20 percent satisfied, 11 percent confused, 9 percent proud, 7 percent excited or nervous, 5 percent uncomfortable, and 2 percent desirable or wanted (Paul & Hayes, 2002).4.
In a large Web-based study of 1,468 undergraduate students, participants reported a variety of consequences: 27.1 percent felt embarrassed, 24.7 percent reported emotional difficulties, 20.8 percent experienced loss of respect, and 10 percent reported difficulties with a steady partner (Lewis et al., 2011).5.
In another recent study conducted on a sample of 200 undergraduate students in Canada, : 61 percent had a few regrets, 23 percent had no regrets, 13 percent had some regrets and 3 percent had many regrets (Eshbaugh & Gute, 2008).8.
Another study identified two types of sexual encounters that were : engaging in penetrative intercourse with someone known less than 24 hours and engaging in penetrative intercourse with someone only once…Campbell (2008) found that men had stronger feelings of being “sorry because they felt they used another person,” whereas women had stronger feelings of “regret because they felt used.”If you’re not cut out for it, it can really bum you out.1.
In a study of 394 young adults followed across a university semester, those with more depressive symptoms and greater feelings of loneliness who engaged in penetrative sex hookups subsequently reported in both depressive symptoms and feelings of loneliness (Owen et al., 2011).