Firstly, if you are looking into personal development, personality type, or psychological state management, you need to take a look at our free MP3 designed to 'tune' your brainwaves. To get it, click here.
A recent study suggests there is a significant rise in depression even leading to thoughts of suicide linked with the increase in casual sex partners. The new study finds that casual sex and mental health issues worsen as the behavior continues. So, can casual sex can cause depression? Can it even lead to suicide?
Mature sexual desire usually begins to appear with the onset of puberty and the risks are elevated for young adolescents, because their brains are not yet fully mature. Also, this generation of youth and young adults are bombarded with enticing ideas about sex, but each person must be responsible for his or her own choices about casual sex and the results that it delivers. While unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases rank high on the list of probable outcomes for casual sex, there is a far more sinister problem lurking in the shadows, and that is depression.
Researchers at Ohio State University interviewed subjects who recently engaged in casual sex, which was defined as having intercourse with someone after knowing him or her for less than a week. They showed higher levels of general anxiety, social anxiety, and depression. Additionally, they tended to have lower levels of self-esteem, happiness, and life-satisfaction than the respondents who hadn't hooked-up with a relative stranger in the last 7 days. Also, according to the study, these same people were more likely to seriously consider suicide later in life.
Teens from American middle and high schools were interviewed when they were in grades 7 to 12 and then again when they were aged 18 to 26. The researchers asked questions about their relationships, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Almost 1/3 of the subjects said they had experienced a casual sexual relationship, and there was a greater percentage of males than females who reported having at least one casual sex encounter in the previous month. American culture seems to deem it OK for males to have casual sexual relationships but not females, which is a double standard. However, researchers said gender did not impact the results. Poor mental health and casual sex are connected, whether you're male or female.
Results suggest that casual sex was negatively associated with well-being and positively associated with psychological distress. Therefore, casual sex may lead to mental health decline, and it is possible to conclude that casual sexual encounters pose harmful psychological risks for young adults. However, researchers still aren’t sure if existing mental health problems could cause people to engage in these riskier behaviors. However, this study provides evidence that poor mental health is linked with casual sex, and that casual sex may lead to additional declines in mental health. Further research is needed to learn for sure which one is the cause and which is the effect.
The researchers concluded that each additional casual sexual relationship increased the odds of suicidal thoughts by almost 20 percent. They also found that although casual sex was linked to suicidal thoughts, it did not have any effect on depressive symptoms. More research is needed on this topic because the subjects were only measured twice, thus making it difficult to measure accurately. Also, depressive symptoms fluctuate during adolescence, and true depression in teens is often difficult to diagnose, because normal teenagers can have more intense mood swings than adults. These moods may go back and forth over a period of hours or days, so depression can be a response to many situations and stresses that are not yet clear.
Adolescence can be tough enough to get through without questions of sex, sexuality, and sexual identity. But adolescents are humans, too. It is critical to address the all-too-human questions of sexual development, sexual desire, and the nature of the adolescent’s developing sexual identity. The sharing of factual information with and giving good moral guidance is a very important part of helping teens understand themselves. This can help avoid devastating and possibly life-threatening errors in judgment.
It has shown that given the right tools, young people have the potential to take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health. Parental involvement and culturally competent programs that provide complete and accurate information can go a long way toward helping youth make good decisions. Continuing to give teenagers the information and the services they need to protect themselves, if and when they become sexually active, obviously is a very important goal.
Adolescence is a time of our lives when we are learning about various types of relationships. The results of this study should be another loud alarm to society for the need to identify teens and young adults who suffer from poor mental health issues. Early intervention is necessary before they engage in casual sexual relationships.
Conclusion: There appears to be a strong link between engagement with casual sexual relationships and an increased rate of depression and suicidal thoughts.
- Jeff Stein
For the youngest generation in our society, we have been able to create and use information from the previous generations of our global civilization a variety of studies on sexual behavior in order to better prepare ourselves for living in a psychologically healthy and balanced manner. The results of these studies have helped to generate the guiding principals for positive sexual health.
From my perspective, the consequences of the sexual cultural revolution of the last century has provided clear lessons on what is good and not so good sexual health behavior (i.e. "Free Love" or "Casual Sex" with multiple partners does not actually work). The standards set as morally right and wrong by the generation of our grandparents influence us, they have found it useful to live by the "rules" of monogamy in order to support families and general social cohesion.
My view of the societal issues resulting from a casual sex experience could lead us to believe that the cause of depression in many individuals is their frequent casual sex practices. However, I do think that the casual sex practiced is more likely a result of depression that already exists, but may not be recognized or diagnosed.
Casual sex is sought for physical release and human connection with a near stranger, but who in their proper frame of psychological health would seek a virtual stranger to share coitus? The mental and emotional instability of depression may indeed manifest itself in the practice of casual sex as the participants seek to fill a void in their souls that they believe only sexual play can fulfill.
Personally, I believe that the outward practice of casual sex reflects the internal depression of men and women. Yes - Suicide could certainly occure if the root of a depressive illness goes untreated, and I am certain that the casual sex practices could both express an underlying depression and perhaps even contribute to and exacerbate depression. We are creatres meant for meaningful and loving relationships, so any activities that detract from building meaningful and loving relationships (casual sex potentially being one of them) could exacerbate an underlying depression.
Hodgekiss, A. (2013, November 21). Casual sex can cause depression and even lead to suicidal thoughts, experts warn. Retrieved December 7, 2014, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2510656/Casual-sex-cause-depression-lead-suicidal-thoughts-experts-warn.html