Our results showed that a relatively high percentage of students had engaged in casual sex within the past month (11%), with more men (18.6%) than women (7.4%) stating they had done so.

This difference is typical of those reported in casual sex research and could reflect a genuine, biologically-based sex difference.

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Other common reactions include regret, disappointment, confusion, embarrassment, guilt, and low self-esteem, although other individuals certainly report feeling proud, nervous, excited, and desirable or wanted.

(Feelings tended to be more positive before and during a hookup, and more negative afterward.) Researchers examining the mental health associations of hookup sex also report that participants who were not depressed before showed more depressive symptoms and loneliness after engaging in casual sex.

College students who recently engaged in casual sex reported lower levels of self-esteem, life-satisfaction, and happiness compared to those who had not have casual sex in the past month.

And students who recently engaged in hookups had higher distress scores as indicated by levels of depression and anxiety.

Despite our 21st-century reality, many of our social norms remain tied to 20th-century sensibilities.

The old double standard still looks down on women, but either glorifies or fails to blame men who make a habit of having frequent, uncommitted sex.

In addition to the known risks of contracting STDs, developing unwanted pregnancies, and being raped or otherwise assaulted, people who engage in casual sex may suffer emotional consequences that persist long after the details of an encounter are a dim memory.