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Casual sex might get a bad rap from some people who argue that it’s unhealthy both physically and emotionally, with partners not getting the intimacy they get in romantic relationships — while running the risk of contracting STIs. But a new study says that, when it comes to intimacy, casual sex is providing more than enough.

Don’t get us wrong, practicing safe sex habits is critical no matter if the sex is with a long-time partner or someone you just picked up at the bar while drinking, so those who argue casual sex is risky do have a point if you’re not being safe while sleeping around. That said, just because you and a random person don’t know much about one another other than being naked and shagging, you still get the intimacy necessary to have a memorable experience.

That’s according to the aforementioned study, which was conducted by a team of researchers from bot the Binghamton University faculty, as well as researchers at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, which revealed that casual sex among young adults is frequently a positive source of intimacy, which is another way of saying it’s more common than not. That’s pretty awesome news, fellas.

How was the casual sex data collected?

According to UPROXX, the casual sex data was gathered by researchers after several hundred college students were asked to fill out a voluntary online questionnaire pertaining to affectionate and intimate activities. These included things such as foreplay, cuddling, spending the night, eye gazing, etc., which are common reactions during both casual sex and sex during a relationship.

While the research did show that more people were affectionate the most during a relationship, the surprise came when researchers discovered that intimacy in casual sex was much greater than they had ever hypothesized.

Is casual sex the best option when not in a relationship?

This is for you to answer for yourself, but, as long as you’re being smart and things are consensual, having casual sex can be healthy. That said, just because you’re not in a relationship doesn’t mean you should only be looking for various partners to sleep with, as that can do harm to both theirs and your own psyche, as, naturally, feelings can develop.

While it’s up to you and your casual sex partners to discuss what kind of physical relationship is best for the both of you, if any, be aware with what it means to have regular friends with benefits and what that entails.

What are some casual sex stereotypes that can be squashed from this study?

It’s easy to take the research results and celebrate the fact that you can stick it in the faces of all those who look down or judge others for having casual sex. That shouldn’t be the case, however.

Sure, the study does support the idea that casual sex can have intimacy between two strangers or simply acquaintances, it’s important to remember that there are certain factors related to the research. The most critical is the fact that intimacy comes from things like the foreplay, cuddling and eye-gazing mentioned above, so don’t think that meeting someone at the bar, throwing back shots and having casual sex in the back of a car is going to satisfy intimacy. Sorry, guys.

However, Ann Merriwether, a developmental psychologist and lecturer at Binghamton who helped with the research, did have this to say about the results of the study as they pertain to certain stereotypes on casual sex, per UPROXX.

“We have a stereotype that casual sex (hookups) are just about meaningless sex, but this research shows this is not necessarily true. It shows intimacy is important and desired by many people, especially those who prefer hookups to more traditional relationships.”

If a committed relationship isn’t quite for you — whether now or in the future — casual sex might be what you need to at least get the physical connection and emotional intimacy you desire, without all the hassle of having a full-blown girlfriend. Just remember to treat any sexual partner with respect and, if only for the time together, act as if you’re partners, because the sex will be so much better with some sort of emotional connection.

(H/T UPROXX)

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