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Are Hookups Psychologically Healthy?

In a recent study nearly 19 percent of college men reported having sex with someone they had known less than one week. What happened next? Read More

I wonder if age plays a big role here

I had very little casual sex in college for my first three years, and that which I did I was really seeking a partner. Once I found one, we had a LOT of casual sex which grew into romantic sex, which grew into a 20+ year relationship thats still going.

I wonder if the issue here isn't casual sex, but sexual maturity of a sort. At that age finding a girlfriend/boyfriend is important. I'd guess the dissatisfaction is more from a lack of a real partner than the sex causing an issue itself.

As a adult my wife and I are also swingers, and have had a good number of casual sex partners over the last 10 years. These have helped us move closer together and have made us happier as a couple.

So from my small sample size, I think the issue is about love/being loved rather than sex itself, which seems to be what the article concludes as well, so I guess I'm just agreeing.

Self-determination matters too

You might wanna take a look at my latest paper that I wrote about for my Psych Today too:

Are Hookups Psychologically Healthy?

I would suggest that casual sex doesn't necessarily have to be meaningless, which unfortunately is portrayed very often in the movies and social media. Lets add that to the the opposite meaning of stories addressed to the children of the particular generation analysed with which they grow up with, and the influence of the present image of couples as monogamous and the society acceptance of it. There is no doubt that that constructs a perception of how things ought to be or how they are accepted and how they are not. The portrayal of good and bad. We all know the weight of the social acceptance has on ones perceived reality and its effects on ones well being.


Totally agree. As if married sex can't be meaningless. If you believe that, you haven't been married long enough! LOL

Poor effort

By first mentioning to causation and correlation to try to lend the piece scientific weight only to then go ahead and make a completely fallacious correlation. Nice try.

The research quoted at the end of the piece only finds correlation with drunken flings and regret and only with college students.

Extrapolating that to match an obvious bias is disingenuous, and very clearly not correlation at all with regard to "flings" causing unhappiness in a wider frame of reference.

Does anyone read and validate research or is this just a web-trawling "stuff I saw today about people" site? Because this caliber of "research" is about as worthless/valuable as youtube comments.

Incredibly disappointing.

I'm sorry. Was that referred

I'm sorry. Was that referred to my comment?

broad subject...

Trying to disseminate this topic using broad generalizations is a little like trying to paint a small porcelain figurine with the same brush you would use to paint a house. How can we apply the same modus operandi to a random sampling of the target demographic when a unified conclusion is difficult to arrive at. Sure, there are certain people out there who have successful "no strings attached" hookups and go about their daily routine without any residual psychological effects. Maybe there is a pathological component which mainstream society is willing to look away from until it evolves further.

I was wondering if this study

I was wondering if this study could apply to people who play around.
As it was said that one-night stand associated with the hope for a future relationship appeared to be less regretted.
It just seems right the idea that if what you do is not leading somewhere, why would you feel great satisfaction with it? It is just interesting to know what comes to the mind of those who cheat.

Depends what you want

I think if you are just solely are looking for physical pleasure with someone you find attractive, then it serves a purpose. But if you do it with the intention of getting a relationship, the rejection or lack or interest afterwards could prove to be damaging.

From my personal experiences, I had a couple of one night stands when I was younger. Which served the purpose of I was young and horny and didn't have a boyfriend. Later when I had a boyfriend who later became my Fiancé, I never even thought about other men. Even being apart for a few months at a time, it never entered my head. I had all the sex I needed.

Only when things became strained and I suspected him of cheating and leaving me alone for long periods of time, did I start to look elsewhere. I'm not proud of my actions but it was attention that I had been lacking.

Now I am single, I meet up with guys for a nights out and maybe sex. I'm finding it difficult to find someone who doesn't just want sex, even on dating sites. Often I feel used and abused and my mental health is suffering somewhat. I feel like I have so much to give in a relationship aside from sex, yet it never goes beyond the physical. Even when guys claim they don't just want sex or want to see me again. I feel like they get what they want and I never see them again.


You say you "meet up with guys for a nights out" and you complain they only want sex?!! You need to look for other venues where the emphasis is on something other that MEETING UP with people of the opposite sex.

High and mighty!

Meeting for a night out, that could mean sex, well that could be a date or meeting people in a social group?! It's so easy to meet people online these days. Guys are looking for sex on dating sites as well as on adult sites. There are lots of guys who are attached who use them.
It's not unheard of that people can see each other on more than one occasion purely for sex.

In my opinion,this is the

In my opinion,this is the kind of thing that really can be psychologically unhealthy.There wouldn`t be a problem if the other person doesn`t make you have expectations with the encounter, but when people don`t have any respect with what you are feeling just to get what they want and never come back at least to let you know that they won`t come back is...unfair.


But that's exactly what guys do, they don't say 'I just want a one night stand'. There is deception there. A lot are already attached too. Lots of guys use adult sites. I have dated guys who have just seen me a casual thing anyway and when I have addressed the issue, it's over! Some people just package it in a different way.


It is true - I have been amazed at the things that men (and I'm sure women too, but I have not dated women)will say and do just for sex. I was single for most of my twenties. There are women out there looking for just a "hookup" - which to me makes it unneccessary to lie about what you want. But they do it anyway. I've been in a couple situations where I was not looking for anything serious - I was not looking for a one night stand, but I also was not particularly interested in a long term relationship, either because I was moving soon, or starting grad school etc. The guy would then pursue me, would want to see me more often, introduce me to his friends, etc. so I would tell myself "you know, he seems like a really nice guy, maybe I should give a relationship a chance." At which point he would start slowly disappearing. It disgusts me. If they had just been truthful and up front, no one would be hurt.

yes, it's part of the "nice guy" syndrome

It's part of the "nice guy" syndrome not to be honest about what you want, which ends up confusing everybody.

If men were more open and honest about what they wanted, but in a flirty, humorous, non-pressured way, they would get a lot more of what they want from women.

One wonders about some men

When men only want sex, or they go on a date and do whatever they can to obtain sex one has to wonder what is influencing these men and what type of twisted values they have. Rather than have a mature enjoyable date, the date becomes a jockeying match to see whether the man is able to have intercourse. If I was on a date and man started pressuring me for sex I'd just end the date and go home. It's not worth the mind games and the health hazards.

I've got bad news

Just about EVERY man who takes you out on a date wants to have sex with you and will be very happy to have sex with you as soon as you are willing. You see, while you may be an interesting and wonderful person on the inside, thats not why he is going through the (mating)ritual of taking you out on a date.

EVERYTHING in a date is a mind game, even if you are both unaware of it. He is sending signals saying "I'm a good mate" and he is trying to pick up on yours to see if they are working and you are receptive to mating.

When I met my wife, it was at a party. I wasn't thinking "hey I wonder if she is an interesting person, lets talk and find out!" No I was thinking "shes hot and that other hot girl seems to be going for that friend of mine, so lets see where we can get!" That was some 22 years ago. My goal, at first, wasn't long term, it was simply "I'm horny, maybe she is too". She was ;)

Somewhat ironically, if you want to see what a guy is REALLY like, see what he is like right after sex. The Japanese even have a word for it, though it escapes me, its basically the clear thinking a man has after sex. If hes still interested in you and wants to be with you, hey you got a keeper. Until then when the hormones are in control you can't really trust guys, even the honest ones, because being hard up for sex as a man makes you stupid in a lot of ways.


That is true, they say men go looking for sex and find love, women look for love and find sex!
A guy will promise you anything to get you into bed, then when the deed is done, he shows his true colours. And is disinterested until the testosterone builds again, that's how you know if a guy is truly interested in you-afterwards. I'm still looking!

I think it`s not something

I think it`s not something new. As a girl, I always think of the old song Will you still love me tomoroow?

All these studies involve college students

I'm always suspicious of psychologists who only study college students. College students are one tiny demographic. College students often come from middle or upper-middleclass homes, often from suburbia and are Caucasian or Asian with a heavy emphasis on the educational experience. College students are mostly young and newly away from home. College students are in a unique close-packed environment and could never represent the total population.

However, the psychological community delights when something they might find within the college community might support some preconceived culturally-biased idea, such as "hook-ups are bad, marriage is good". Perhaps the psychological experts might do a study on all adults. How many of adults have hook-ups? How do adults define hook-ups? What do adults expect from a hook-up? How often is alcohol involved? How many adults feel regret after a hook-up?

The results between the larger general population and college students will probably be vast.

Thanks so much for the

Thanks so much for the comment above mine re: studies on college studies. Most, maybe all of the 'studies' cited on this site are on college students and pretty much BY college students, for a paper etc.

In other words, the population at large is being sold a psychology' that is basically their children's school-work.

This is garbage. Excuse me, but it is. College students asking other college students questions and then drawing conclusions is NOT valid 'research' that should be extrapolated to the population at large.

That lazy practice on the part of the 'psychological community' is doing our society a dis-service and cheapening the entire field of psychology.

oops my first line should

oops my first line should have read 'studies on college students'

a good book to read that

a good book to read that examines the aspects of casual sex in college mentioned in the article along with so many other factors is Donna Freitas' "The End of Sex". It's a very interesting, thoughtful read; thoroughly enjoyable.

you're all dirty harlots, no

you're all dirty harlots, no wonder you get treated like scum :)

Any happiness/stress/regret

Any happiness/stress/regret data about sober hookups that didn't develop into long term relationships?

Don't think I'd need scientific data on that

Though it would be interesting, I wouldn't need scientific data to know that the outcomes are roughly evenly spread among those three reactions for both sexes. I think men would claim to be happy with most of them, but in private probably not so happy.

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Robert Biswas-Diener is a happiness researcher and adventurer.


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