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Why Casual Sex Can Be Good For You

How to do the walk of shame with your head held high.

August 14th, 2012

Tags: Attraction, Sex
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“There’s a taboo associated with casual sex due to the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy, but when done safely, having sex solely for sex’s sake can be a healthy way to express your sexuality, learn about your body and experiment in bed,” says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of "She Comes First." So behold the perks of bedding down (safely) with a handsome stranger.

QUIZ: Are You Sexually Satisfied?

You learn to ask for what you want: One-night stands don’t guarantee the possibility of a do-over so if you want him to stroke you in a certain way or are jonesing to try out a new position, now’s the time to speak up. “There’s no reason to be shy about what you like with a casual sex partner since you’re not planning on seeing each other again,” says Jane Greer, Ph.D., a sex and relationship therapist in New York City. “Plus, when two people get together for such a brief period, they’re less likely to judge the other person, which can feel freeing.” And expressing your desires only benefits your sex life.  

MORE: Why Submissive Fantasies Are a Turn-On

You won’t stress about your body: It’s common to worry about how you look in the sack, but since one-night stands are solely about sex, it’s safe to assume that your partner is more than happy with your body—after all, isn’t physical attraction why you’re in bed together?

“The beauty of a one-off sexual experience is that unlike a relationship where emotions are more complex, the goal is pure pleasure,” says Sari Cooper, LCSW, a New York-based therapist. “When people are entangled emotionally, they worry more about their partner’s experience than their own, but when it’s just lust, the only thing left to focus on is having fun.” And there’s another perk to clearing your head of bothersome thoughts:  You could be more likely to orgasm. Oh la la. Research has shown that when women are really turned on their amygdala—the section of the brain involved in spurting out anxious thoughts—gets partially turned off.  

He’s likely to be hot: If you think that women who are willing to engage in one night stands are just out to satisfy a need and any ‘ole guy will suffice, think again. No so, says research conducted at Brunel University in London. When scientists asked men and women to imagine being propositioned by random people ranging from “slightly unattractive” to “exceptionally attractive,” women were likely to accept a raunchy invitation primarily from the best looking men.  One possible reason women hold their flings to such high standards: Subconsciously, she may recognize that his “good genes” may lead to producing healthy offspring, even if she’s only with him for one night.

MORE: Maximize Your Pleasure

Who cares if he doesn’t call? Scientists say one-nighters have little bearing on whether or not he’ll stay for breakfast. “Despite the notion that sex isn’t the best route to romance, the odds of starting a relationship after an evening of non-committed sex depends on whether the two people are interested in a relationship in the first place,” says study author Anthony Paik, Ph.D., a sociologist at the University of Iowa. So if he’s into you, whether or not you put out has little to do with whether there’s going to be a date two, three or four. Yet the odds are still in your favor that he’ll keep coming around. According to a study conducted published in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 52 percent of guys enter a one-nighter hoping it will turn into a relationship—aww, how sweet!

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