Is it possible to enjoy sex with no strings attached? Some people might say that it depends on your gender. We often think that men can enjoy casual sex without getting attached, while women tend to more at risk of “catching” feelings and experiencing emotional turmoil as a result of their loveless hookups.
However, a new study seems to disprove that theory, and instead, it appears that sex can be mutually beneficial regardless of whether you are a man or a woman and regardless of if you are having a hookup or you are having sex with a longtime partner. In other words, the study (which was published in The Journal of Sex Research) found that the benefits associated with sex appear to the same whether you are in a relationship or whether you are simply enjoying causal sex.
The researchers surveyed almost 400 people in their mid-twenties and they found that women reported feeling physically satisfied nearly 93 percent of the time, while 78 percent reported feeling a thrill or a rush. Almost 67 percent said that having sex helped to cheer them up when they had a bad day.
Importantly, the study did show that women felt more guilt and apprehension when they enjoyed causal sex without using protection. (They also found that women were more likely to practice safer sex when they had sex with a friend as opposed to a traditional hookup). In other words, friends-with-benefits might be beneficial indeed, at least for sexual health.
However, it is worth noting that this is just one study. Many women struggle to reach orgasm (only 30% reach it through intercourse alone), so these statistics seem a little high. Reaching orgasm 93 percent of the time is wonderful, but it also could be an unrealistic goal…even women in long-term and passionate relationships often have trouble reaching orgasm each and every time. Having sex with someone who doesn’t know you and your specific hotspots can only lead to more sexual difficulty as every woman’s interests and desires are different.
Still, the study does show that the sexual climate in our country is changing, particularly among young people. Women feel more empowered to enjoy sex and to express their sexual desires, and that’s a healthy and significant step in the right direction.
But it’s important to note that casual sex isn’t for everyone and that not everyone (man or woman) will be able to enjoy intimacy without becoming emotionally attached. Additionally, for some people, it can be harder to express your likes and dislikes to someone you don’t know as opposed to someone you love and trust.
Casual sex also comes with risks attached, which is why it is so important to always practice safer sex and to get tested for STDs regularly. It’s also crucial to use wisdom when hooking up or having one night stands—you don’t really know that guy at the bar, so matter how cute or ‘normal’ he might seem, going home with a complete stranger is always dangerous. Practice safety and good self-care, and you will be able to enjoy sexual pleasure as well as sexual and physical health.