07:05pm Wednesday 19 February 2020

New relationship types redefine casual sex common among young adults

According to the article Taking casual sex not too casually: Exploring definitions of casual sexual relationships, published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, the term one-night stand has typically been used to describe these encounters but, in recent years, a number of new terms have emerged that imply specific variations of relationship types under the broader notion of casual sex, including booty call, friends with benefits and f*ck buddy. Little is known about the specific meaning of these terms as they apply to the sexual behaviour of young adults.

The focus-group study of young people aged 18 to 27 examined the phases of various casual-sex relationships:
– Initiation: How do the individuals know each other or meet?
– Maintenance: Do the individuals add each other to Facebook?
– Termination: Do the individuals discuss the ending of the relationship?

The most consistently identified forms of casual-sex relationships among the focus group participants were friends with benefits, booty call, f*ck buddy and one-night stands. Both male and female participants shared knowledge and a common understanding of the explicit and implicit rules of conduct for each of these relationship types. These rules governed dimensions such as:
– frequency of sexual contact
– type of contact (sexual and/or social)
– disclosure of personal information
– discussion of relationship boundaries (e.g. monogamy, secrecy)
– managing emotional attachment
– termination of the relationship.

The results suggest that these forms of casual sexual relationships not only are popular among young adults, but can also be clearly delineated from one another.

Jocelyn Wentland is a fourth-year doctoral student in the experimental psychology program at the University of Ottawa. She works under the supervision of Professor Elke Reissing, and her dissertation research focuses on casual sexual relationships, including how these relationships are initiated, maintained and terminated. Her other research areas include highly sexual women, erotic photography, and how technology is changing modern dating scripts for young adults.

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