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Sex and Emotion: Why a One Night Stand Isn’t For One Night

Sex and Emotion: Why a One Night Stand Isn’t For One Night

couple laying under bed sheet

You know what we mean: you’ve heard the stereotypical statements about how women always appear to “catch feelings” after having sex. But how much truth is there in the cliché? We’re going to answer that, as well as some other questions you may have about the no-strings-attached approach to sex:

Get the Stats

SELF magazine polled over 2,000 single women ranging from 18 to 64 years old about casual sex. Of the participants:

  • 82% had at least one casual sex experience
  • Only 57% said they used a condom during casual sex
  • Only 19% had regrets

While the study was on a smaller scale, the results appear to be pretty universal. Women’s health magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour have reported on similar studies that had similar results, meaning it all comes down to what you’re looking for in the experience.

Casual Sex: What Does it Mean?

Friends with benefits, one night stands, booty call—call it whatever you want, casual sex has many names that all come down to the same thing: sex without attachment. At least, that’s what you’re hoping for. There are several risks to having an arrangement like this: you could catch feelings, or worse, an STD.

According to the CDC, about 50 percent of all sexually active men and women will have a genital HPV infection at some point in their lives—and that’s just one STD we’re talking about. Especially if it’s a one night stand situation, you likely don’t know if the person you slept with is on birth control, if they’ve been tested, or how many other people they’ve been with.

In addition to the physical risks, there could be some truth to the clichés about developing feelings. Psychologist Jim Pfaus of Concordia University in Montreal recently did a study regarding love and sex in men and women, and the results were a little surprising. Although the myth will have you believe that women are more likely to develop feelings, the study found that gender has little to do with it.

Instead, it’s all about the brain: the parts of the brain where emotional attachment and sexual desire originate actually overlap. While they are still separate things, they do overlap: meaning that love can grow out of sexual desire.

“Love is actually a habit that is formed from sexual desire as desire is rewarded,” explained Pfaus. “Even love at first sight, can it happen? Of course it can happen.”

Doomed to Catch Feelings?

Although the study verifies what we already knew, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be true in every case.  In a society where casual sex persists, it can be difficult to refrain, even if you’re desperately trying to avoid a relationship. No matter what you choose, it’s important to make yourself as safe as possible by practicing safe sexual habits and getting tested regularly. Let us help: schedule an appointment with us today!