Study Links “Casual Sex” and Poor Mental Health
While we all know the Bible clearly explains that premarital sex is a sin, it is a sin many of us have committed and been forgiven for. It is also something strongly associated with our college years, where society urges young adults to experiment and learn about themselves. College students are all aware of what “hooking up” is, and even if they abstain, everyone knows someone who does it. We know this type of activity can be harmful to our spiritual health and our relationships, but according to a new study, it may also be harmful to mental health.
To be clear, I’m not trying to be one of the Christians preaching that having sex outside of marriage will make you “crazy” or some other sort of propaganda type message. Many have committed the sin of premarital sex and gone on to live happy lives, and forgiveness is always given by the lord for those who seek it. However, the study published in The Journal of Sex Research found that students who engaged in casual sex also showed higher levels of general anxiety, social anxiety, and depression.
The survey was a part of a larger study examining the interplay among culture, identity, health, and risky behavior among college students, and questioned the sexual behavior and mental health of over 3,900 heterosexual college students between the ages of 18 and 25. Students from 30 different colleges and universities across the nation were asked if they had “casual sex” with someone they had known less than a week in the 30 days prior to the study.
Students who reported having casual sex also reported lower levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and happiness than those who reported not engaging in the behavior. However, researchers did stress that there were limitations to the survey.
Out of the 3,900 surveyed, only 11 percent of students reported participating in casual sex, leading researchers to believe it may be “somewhat atypical” behavior possibly more linked to symptoms of problematic behavior.
“I want to highlight that this study is correlational,” Dr. Melina Bersamin told U.S. News. “It may be that people who are depressed or anxious are more likely to seek out casual sex relationships and not that casual sex causes depression or anxiety.”