The researchers surveyed 471 heterosexual college women (aged 18–22) regarding their sexual activity over the past 6 months, sexual agency, attitudes on sexual permissiveness, sexual desire, and sexual well-being.
Participants who reported having sex in an exclusive relationship tended to have higher sexual well-being scores than women having casual sex.
Sexual well-being also tended to be higher among women who reported higher levels of sexual desire and more control over their sexual behaviors.
Women who reported having no recent sexual activity, on the other hand, tended to report lower than average sexual well-being.
“Thus, having no recent sex while holding neutral sexual attitudes was associated with fairly low sexual well-being, while — in a similar pattern of dissonance — having casual sex while holding non-permissive sexual attitudes was also associated with low sexual well-being.
“In sum, our results suggest that being in a committed relationship, having exclusive sex, having less dissonance between attitudes and activity, having greater sexual agency, and having stronger sexual desire are tied to higher sexual well-being for heterosexual college women today,” the authors of the study concluded.
The study, “Implications of no recent sexual activity, casual sex, or exclusive sex for college women’s sexual well-being depend on sexual attitudes“, was authored by Christine E. Kaestle and Larissa M. Evans. »