Today in sad, a study published yesterday in The Journal of Sex Research says that teens who have casual sex are most likely to be suicidal. Cue the scaremongering!
“Hooking up” as the legacy newspapers love to call it, is far from rare for the post-braces set. As the study notes, “Approximately 50% of emerging adults engaged in casual sexual relationships within the past year.” While it’s considered relatively safe to enter into no-strings-attached relationships with people when you don’t want any emotional fall-out before first period, it can have consequences that shape your mental and physical health for the rest of your life. Think daunting psychological distress, low self-esteem, and unsightly rashes that need prescription medication.
Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, they concluded that teens who felt suicidal were more likely to have friends with benefits (a.k.a. strangers they make-out with in a broom closet). Suicidal young teens, gay or straight, had 42% greater odds of entering into a casual sexual relationship by their late teens. That’s because teens with poor mental health are apparently more likely to engage in casual sex as a way to cope, and then after they have the hook up, they begin to slip into a dark pothole of depression. Which is a terrible serpent-eating-its-own-tail situation.
Who are these sad Sallys and morose Maxes who turn to the flesh during what I liked to call “The Cure” years? Kids from single-parent households were found to be more likely to engage in casual sex. The good news is that being female, older, being born in a foreign country, and having a mother with less than a high school degree were traits associated with a decreased likelihood of casual boning. The study concluded that forgoing the hook up and sticking to the conventional meet-me-at-your-locker romances in the early years means less of a chance of having the serious blues later on. But it also means less chance of fun, informative, and humiliating boob-grabbing.
Man, I hate when science is accidentally slut-shaming.
Image via Veer.