Hook-up culture is definitely a lot more mainstream these days, but that hardly means those that enjoy the associated lifestyle don’t have the occasional question. How much of what we believe about why people have one-night stands or casual sex is fact and how much is fiction? Sure, it feels like the most natural thing in the world, but are we truly predisposed as humans to prefer casual sex?
You may wonder how “average” you really are as compared to others who prefer casual sex as well. Here we’ll go over some interesting facts, figures, and discoveries about casual sex and one-night stands, the better to answer your burning questions. How many of the following facts did you already know?
- Your preference for casual sex could be genetic.
If you’ve always instinctively gravitated toward casual sex and open relationships because they feel more natural to you, it might be because of something that’s written in your genes. According to one study conducted by the State University of New York, some people actually are born predisposed toward a preference for casual sex thanks to a “hook-up gene”.
The gene in question is the DRD4 gene. Those that inherit that gene are more likely to prefer one-night stands, as well as more likely than average to cheat within the confines of monogamous relationships. They’re also more likely to crave “sensation-seeking” experiences in general (i.e. gambling or drug-related highs).
- Overall attractiveness in a one-night stand is more important to women than men.
If you’ve always assumed men were the most likely to have sky-high standards when it comes to the hotness of a potential hook-up, it’s time to think again. When casual one-off sex is the goal, men are actually a lot more likely to lower their standards. Women, on the other hand, tend to require a hook-up be exceptionally attractive before she’ll seal the deal.
In a recent study conducted by the United Kingdom’s Brunel University, the male subjects’ willingness to participate in a one-night stand didn’t have a lot to do with how attractive the person in question was. They were just as likely to accept a proposition from a less attractive person as they were a smoking hot one. However, the female subjects generally required a man to be much hotter than average before she was willing to get horizontal.
- Wide-hipped women are more likely to go the casual route.
Speaking of women and their collective interest in casual sex, there’s also some evidence to suggest a woman’s hips really don’t lie. According to one study conducted by a Leeds University professor, there’s likely a very real connection between a given lady’s hip circumference and her willingness to have casual sex.
Women aged 18-26 were significantly more likely to have a sexual history characterized by more one-night stands and more casual sex in general if they also had wider hips. In some of those cases, casual sex accounted for a whopping 3 out of every 4 sexual encounters. Interestingly enough, the same study also found that the more stereotypically feminine-looking a woman was, the more likely she was to be perceived by men as interested in casual sex in the first place.
- Women are more likely than men to regret a one-night stand.
Occasionally, even the most sexually adventurous of us regrets a given fling the next day. However, despite being more discriminating and selective in general when it comes to casual sex, women are still a lot more likely than men to wake up the next morning and wonder what on earth they were thinking. According to one study, about 80% of men still felt good about a hook-up the next day, but only 54% of women could say the same.
When asked to elaborate on why they felt the way they did, many of the women reported feeling used. Others worried that their decision made them look cheap, easy, or less worthwhile as people. Men were much more likely to describe their experiences as great ways to relieve tension, blow off steam, or experience a little excitement.
- Millennials aren’t having as much casual sex as you think.
The stereotypes surrounding millennials seem to know no bounds, including in regards to their sex lives. Since millennials have a reputation for being free-spirited, adventurous, and all about living in the spirit of YOLO, people automatically assume they also prefer casual sex to the alternatives. Actually, the opposite is true.
According to research conducted by the University of Portland, a whopping 78% of people between the ages of 18 and 25 say they’ve mostly had sex with a spouse or committed partner. Casual sex and one-night hook-ups are more likely to be occasional indulgences or second choices, as opposed to a full-on lifestyle decision.
- Not all casual sex is created equally as far as the benefits.
Some people that are into casual sex prefer open relationships or “friends with benefits” arrangements. Others really do prefer getting down and dirty with a stranger they met at a bar or via a hook-up app. However, which is the best fit for you may boil down to more than a simple matter of preference.
According to a University of Florida study, a booty call to your go-to FWB is a lot more likely to result in sex that’s kinky, passionate, or explosively orgasmic. One-night stands with strangers, on the other hand, were a lot more likely to include plenty of foreplay, kissing, and flirtation leading up to the main event. That said, consider what you’d most like to get out of the experience the next time you’re trying to choose between the two.
- Plenty of one-night stands wind up lasting a lot longer.
When you think of the average casual fling, you probably picture two total strangers meeting, having a blast for one night, and then never seeing each other again. You’d also be right the majority of the time. However, one-night hook-ups unexpectedly lead to long-term relationships a lot more often than you’d think.
According to one recent study, around 27% of people report having had at least one relationship that was originally just supposed to be a one-night stand. About 28% said they’d had relationships that started out as a “friends with benefits” arrangement. So much for the naysayers that insist casual sex never leads to a more substantial relationship! Raw animal attraction might not be such a bad way to vet potential long-term partners after all.
- There’s a possible connection between interest in casual sex and mental health.
Genetics, age, and social conditioning might not be the only factors that influence a person’s likelihood to engage in casual sex. Ongoing emotional state and mental health probably have something to do with it too. According to a study conducted at Ohio State, people that were depressed or suicidal (especially as teenagers) were also more likely to engage in casual sex.
It is unclear as to whether one of these factors actually causes the other. However, it makes sense that there’s a link between the two. Mentally ill or depressed people are statistically more likely to turn to sensation-seeking behavior in general as a way to deal with or alleviate symptoms.
- Having casual sex might actually make you better at relationships later.
While some people really do see casual sex and non-monogamous relationships as permanent lifestyle choices, plenty of hook-up lovers see themselves in a committed relationship at some point further down the line. They’re also constantly told that casual sex is ruining any possible ability they have to someday be a good monogamous partner.
In actuality, the opposite might be true. A person that is used to hooking up and sleeping around is statistically far less likely to jump into a relationship without thinking things through than a strictly monogamous person is. They’re also less likely to eventually wonder if the grass is greener somewhere else if they do decide to settle down one day. They already know what else is out there and have a pretty good grasp on what they need in a partner by the time they’re ready to commit to just one person.
- Casual sex may also help you get to know yourself.
We learn a surprising number of things about ourselves through our relationships with other people, including the fleeting ones that only last for a night or two. It’s a common misconception that people only learn how to be vulnerable, tender, and open through long-term relationships. Many one-night stands offer plenty of similar opportunities.
Relationships that are approached without expectations attached can allow us to truly open up and be ourselves. We learn a lot about what we truly like and need sexually. We can really get to know ourselves emotionally as well. Best of all, everything you learn about who you are will be based on actual experience, not assumptions you may have been making based on fear. Who could argue with the benefits of that?