Is Casual Sex Bad for You?

Can the benefits outweigh guilt and slut shaming

By Vivienne Arkell

“We here at the Casual Sex Project don’t take sex very casually at all. In fact, we take hookups very seriously,” says Dr. Zhana Vrangalova PhD, psychologist and creator of the popular website. “[In reality] casual sex can be the greatest thing since sliced bread or your parent’s worst nightmare.”

Vrangalova’s frustration with the way casual sex was portrayed led her to create an open forum, so the curious could see all the angles. Besides thousands of detailed accounts of personal hookups on the, the discussion expands to self-reflection and reasoning to help decide if casual sex is really for you. Dr Zhana asks: “Do you basically approve of casual sex? Do you do it for the right reasons? Do you do it without being intoxicated? Do you communicate well and stay sexually excited? Do you get attached easily?”

Dr. Zhana, and her extensive research into the psychology of sex, reminds us that all this analysis is never black and white. With enlightening tales and comments, she guides the curious into making hookups more authentic, safer, and more consensual.

“Contemporary culture misrepresents the link between love and sex. With and without love, a casual sexuality was the norm for our prehistoric ancestors,” explain Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, authors of Sex at Dawn. Their findings meld with Vrangalova’s viewpoint, reinforcing the many natural and positive benefits of casual sex.

The New Yorker coverage by Maria Konnikova wraps up the real strength of Vrangalova’s work. Konnikova says the Casual Sex Project’s real contribution is that “the dirty little secret of casual sex today is not that we’re having it but that we’re not sharing our experiences of it in the best way.”

Enter Dr. Zhana, with her awesome 2015 TEDtalk “Is Casual Sex Bad for You,” makes a strong case around the potential benefits of casual sex. “Hedonistic ecstasy, learning new skills, enhancing self-confidence, making new friends, freedom, and creating fun stories and memories are all possible benefits.” She notes. To paraphrase, Dr Zhana also adds how “even though romantic feelings are most likely not involved, there is still a chance of having a deep, emotional and spiritual connection with another human being.”

Vrangalova also references Esther Perel’s influential work in regards to the possible benefits of casual sex entering into basically monogamous relationships. A related article on The Sensualogist, “Do We take Sex to Seriously,” speaks more about freeing erotic energy within the confines of a relationship.

The Sensualogist agrees fully with Dr. Zhana’s pleasure principles, which can be enjoyed during any naked time romp. Should you miss out on these benefits just because you haven’t found a long-term relationship partner? Whether you are in a relationship or not, if and when a woman can truly enjoy free and ‘casual’ sex on her own terms, it can be enlightening, rewarding, and powerful. Why not modify it for your own needs and perhaps embrace it?

Casual sex isn’t for everyone, but if you can free your mind and chose respectful partners, perhaps we can get beyond thinking of them as one-night stands. When they were known as intimate encounters, I did like them better. But isn’t that also all in our minds? “It all depends on who you are and how you do it,” reminds Vrangalova.

Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá and Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel are available in The Sensualogist bookshop.



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