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Casual sex can cause depression & even lead to suicidal thoughts

November 20, 2013 2 min read

A new study suggests casual sex can cause depressed and can even lead to thoughts of suicide. Researchers interviewed around 10,000 people and found that teenagers with depressive symptoms were more likely to engage in casual sex. These same people were more likely to seriously consider suicide later in life.
Unhappy: The study found that poor mental health can lead to casual sex, but also that casual sex can lead to a decline in mental health
Dr Sara Sandberg-Thoma, of Ohio State University and lead author of the study, said
'Several studies have found a link between poor mental health and casual sex. This study provides evidence that poor mental health can lead to casual sex, but also that casual sex leads to additional declines in mental health.'  
 Young people from 80 American schools and 52 middle schools were interviewed when they were in grades seven to twelve and then again when they were aged 18 to 26.
They were asked questions about relationships, depression and thoughts of suicide. Twenty nine per cent of the subjects said they had experience of a casual sexual relationship, which was defined as 'only having sex' with someone as opposed to dating. This included 33 percent of men and 24 percent of women. The link between casual sex and mental health was found to be the same for both men and women according to the study published in the Journal of Sex Research. Dr Claire Kamp Dush, professor of human sciences at Ohio State University, said: 'That was unexpected because there is still this sexual double standard in society that says it is OK for men to have casual sexual relationships, but it is not OK for women. 'But these results suggest that poor mental health and casual sex are linked, whether you're a man or a woman.  

Researchers found that each additional casual sexual relationship increased the odds of suicidal thoughts by 18 percent.

  It is thought that this may be because depressive symptoms fluctuate during adolescence and it is hard to capture an accurate reading when it is only measured twice. 'Just because a person does not indicate depressive symptoms in one survey is not always proof that he or she is doing OK,' said Dr Kamp Dush. 'We need to look at multiple indicators of mental health, including suicidal thoughts.' 'The goal should be to identify adolescents struggling with poor mental health so that we can intervene early before they engage in casual sexual relationships,' said Sandberg-Thoma.  

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