A June 2014 study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found that casual sex could actually be good for your health. Basically, research revealed that if you view casual sex positively, then partaking in the act can boost your mental health.
In the study, New York University lead researcher Zhana Vrangalova and her team first asked 371 single undergrads at NYU to report their sociosexual orientation as either restricted (read: conservative) or unrestricted (liberal). Then, they had the students keep weekly diaries to document their sexual encounters and mental health (self-esteem, life satisfaction, depression, and anxiety) over periods of 12 weeks and 9 months.
Results —as you can probably guess — showed that students who described themselves as sociosexually unrestricted reported lower stress and greater overall psychological well-being after having casual sex, compared to not having sex. For those students who described themselves as restricted, a slight boost in psychological well-being was also noted after a casual encounter.
I know, I know, you probably didn’t need a couple of NYU researchers to tell you that. But, with all of the negative connotations that often come along with “hooking up,” it’s kind of reassuring to know that the true effect of casual sex depends on the personalities of those engaging in the act. So go ahead, you do you, just be safe about it.