Casual sex, serious consequences


Casual sex is a part of the college experience and culture. Although not every student desires to partake in the activity, it is part of the social aspect of college, and students who wish to do it should be aware of the risks.

Casual sex can be a result of a superficial attraction, but the perceived physical and mental risks can easily be prevented through contraceptives and more intentional sexual conduct.

Psychology professor Laurie Jean Smith-Nelson, who teaches the Human Sexuality course at WSU, said 79 – 89 percent of college students have engaged in at least one hookup.

There is a perceived psychological benefit to having casual sex, but research shows males get more of that benefit than females do, Smith-Nelson said.

In addition, people tend to be far more judgmental towards women who engage in casual sexual behaviors than men, regardless of what their sexual orientation is, Smith-Nelson said.

“Females are more likely to participate in a heterosexual hookup because they are hoping it will result in a relationship,” Smith-Nelson said.

Another consequence of having casual sex involves missing out on a lot of people who would be really great partners, Smith-Nelson said.

People who are exclusively engaging in casual sex with people they just met are denying themselves the chance to get to know someone they might want to interact with on a more emotional level.

“People get more benefit from intentional sexual relationships,” Smith-Nelson said.

Those students who have casual sex, however, should be aware of the risks and preventative methods in order to stay safe and healthy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sexually risky behaviors include HIV infection, STDs and unintended pregnancy.

Although there are risks behind casual sex, the risks can be prevented, according to the CDC website.

The CDC states that people can reduce their risk of STDs through mutual monogamy, condoms, birth control methods and vaccinations.

Psychological protection, however, is not so simple.

Smith-Nelson said she thinks it is not common for people to have the same interest, intention or motivation when it comes to participating in casual sex because in the end it is not true intimacy.

“If you just want to have an orgasm, you can do that by yourself,” Smith-Nelson said about students who choose not to participate in casual sex.

If a student is seeking STI/STD testing or urgent care, WSU Health and Wellness is equipped to handle the situation, according to the services page of their website.

WSU Health and Wellness is open this fall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Appointments are available for scheduling by calling 509-335-3575 or through the website’s Patient Portal page.

Kellie Langan is a junior communication major from Bellevue. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of The Office of Student Media.