For most people, sex is a pleasurable and enjoyable activity, but did you know that sex can affect your mental health? Research has shown that your psychological health can suffer post-hookup. Kinsey Institute Researcher Justing Garcia and a team from Binghamton University found that while hooking up has become part of popular culture, it poses significant threats to the mental well-being of those who are involved.
The study mainly focused on college students who had reported having casual sex within 30 days before their interview for the study. Lower levels of happiness, self-esteem, and life satisfaction were reported by study participants. The study concluded that those who actively sought out casual sex, especially those who used alcohol or drugs while they did so, might be struggling with underlying anxiety disorders, loneliness or depression.
If your anxiety or depression is leading you to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, or sex, Legacy Freedom of Raleigh can help. Our holistic approach to mental health is centered on you, and your care plan is completely customized to your needs and interests by a highly qualified psychologist in Raleigh, NC. We work with you to help identify the underlying causes of your behaviors. Whether the root of your anxiety or depression lies in low self-esteem or stems from the trauma of a past relationship, Legacy Freedom can help. Holistic mental health care combines traditional talk therapy with alternative or non-traditional therapies like acupuncture, adventure therapy, yoga or sound therapy.
The study found that those who engaged in casual sex were at particularly high risk for STD's and unplanned pregnancies. It is interesting to note that while during the hookup and immediately after participants did report feeling excited, desirable, proud, and nervous, these feelings then evolved into more negative feelings. Some participants also noted that they experienced feelings of embarrassment, disappointment, confusion, and guilt after the encounter.
As research continues to study the mental health impacts of casual sex, they begin to study why people seek out partners to have casual sex with. These reasons can be broken down into two categories, autonomous and nonautonomous. Autonomous reasons are based on personal values and choice, while nonautonomous reasons are focused on avoiding punishment or seeking reward. Science tells us that the person's reasoning for seeking out casual sex or motivation is directly tied to their wellbeing. When people act on motives for their own self-fulfillment, they are likely to feel more confident about the outcome. However, when they act on motives that are not tied with personal fulfillment, they are likely to experience feelings of remorse or regret.
Those who act on their desire to have casual sex for autonomous reasons are usually looking for something that allows them to experience and explore their sexuality in a fun, non-committal way. On the other hand, those who are using casual sex to please someone else such as giving in to peer pressure, or using it to escape sadness or loneliness, usually have a negative experience. Using sex as revenge or hoping it will lead to a relationship doesn't attach positive feelings to the act and can increase the risk of self esteem issues and depression.
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If you, or someone you love, are choosing risky behaviors like casual sex because of an underlying mental health issue or addiction, call Legacy Freedom today. Our psychologist in Raleigh, NC specializes in treating depression, anxiety, ADHD, ADD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and more. Our care team is dedicated to helping you choose the best treatment plan for you. Help begins with the decision to reach out, your journey to healing can begin today.