Feeds

'Friends with Benefits' sex does no psych harm - profs

Doleful, ultimately doomed youth monogamy, though...

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Boffins in Minnesota have a message for young adults: sleeping around is OK. Your prospects in terms of psychological health should you indulge in casual flings are every bit as good as they would be if you bizarrely chose to waste your wild-oats years in one or more doleful and ultimately doomed monogamous relationships.

According to Marla E Eisenberg and her colleagues at Minnesota uni:

Speculation in public discourse suggests that sexual encounters outside a committed romantic relationship may be emotionally damaging for young people, and federal abstinence education policy has required teaching that sexual activity outside of a marital relationship is likely to have harmful psychological consequences.

Au contraire, say the researchers - a few notches on the bedpost achieved in one's salad days will do no harm at all. Having surveyed 1,311 Minnesotan youngsters whose average age was 20.5 during 2003-04, they found no evidence that the odd fling leads to psychological problems whatsoever.

"Young adults engaging in casual sexual encounters do not appear to be at increased risk for harmful psychological outcomes compared to those in more committed relationships," says Eisenberg.

The study did appear to refer to so-called "friends with benefits" cheery consequence-free shagging among likeminded sorts who already know each other socially, as opposed to more risky practices such as simply picking up sailors on the docks.

Also, Eisenberg did offer a note of caution.

"This should not minimize the legitimate threats to physical well-being associated with casual sexual relationships, and the need for such messages in sexuality education programs," she adds.

Or, freely paraphrased, you won't (or anyway, needn't) feel cheap or worthless and end up dead inside if you occasionally have a bit of meaningless fun, but there is the risk of a nasty/fatal dose of Cupid's measles - so chastity is optional but condoms are not.

Eisenberg and her colleagues' new paper, Casual Sex and Psychological Health Among Young Adults: Is Having "Friends with Benefits" Emotionally Damaging? appears in this month's issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.