In other words, Carrie’s mother was right: SEX = EVIL. ARRRRGGGHHHHHH.
Ok, well maybe it’s not that extreme. But the numbers are worth looking at.
The study (from Ohio State University and published in the Journal of Sex. Yes, there is a journal of SEX) was based on interviews with 10,000 adolescents from over 100 different high schools. They were spoken to in grades 7 – 12 and then again when they were 18 – 26 years old. They were asked about their romantic and/or sexual relationships and depressive symptoms over that time.
29% of the students admitted to having had a casual sexual relationship, which was defined as ‘only having sex’ rather than being in a relationship with someone.
The researchers discovered that young adults who were having suicidal thoughts were far more likely to have had casual sex in their teens. Apparently, for every casual sex partner respondents had as adolescents, the odds of them suicidal thoughts as adults were increased by 18%.
Carrie’s mum KNEW IT. She knew it. SEX MAKES ALL THE BAD THINGS HAPPEN!
Are the young people actually depressed because they were having lots of casual sex, or did they have lots of casual sex because they were depressed?
The author of the study, Sara Sandberg-Thoma, has said that it’s unclear:
“There’s always been a question about which one is the cause and which is the effect. This study provides evidence that poor mental health can lead to casual sex, but also that casual sex leads to additional declines in mental health.”
So basically, we’ve got a chicken and egg situation on our hands. A bit like Casual Sex Inception.
What’s probably most interesting about the study though, is that the link between casual sex and depressive symptoms were the same for both men and women. Says assistant professor of human sciences Claire Kamp Dush, Ph.D.:
“That was unexpected because there is still this sexual double standard in society that says it is OK for men to have casual sexual relationships, but it is not OK for women. But these results suggest that poor mental health and casual sex are linked, whether you’re a man or a woman.”
What do you think of the study? Do we have casual sex because we’re sad, or are we sad because we have casual sex?