Being able to have casual sex might just be one of the greatest things about being alive in the United States in this day and age. I mean, sex out of wedlock was generally frowned upon before the sexual revolution of the 1960s and as recently as 2014, Virginia still had a law on the books that made premarital or out of wedlock sex illegal. These days, though, you’ll find people hooking up on college campuses and after nights out in bars across the country. But you’ll also find plenty who don’t — and a whole other group who used to, but have decided that casual sex isn’t for them anymore.
There are a lot of reasons why a person might not be into casual sex anymore, even if they were previously. Personally, I know people who stopped sleeping around because the felt like it was keeping them from other things they wanted to do; people who stopped because they found someone they wanted to be monogamous with; and people who just got bored.
Unfortunately, according to sex researcher, writer, and educator Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, there isn’t much scientific research about casual sex, especially outside the college-age population. However, she’s done a bit of anecdotal research of her own with The Casual Sex Project, where people share their stories about casual sex experiences. I asked Dr. Zhana what she’s learned from her work, and she gave me these seven reasons people might not be into casual sex anymore.
1. Casual Sex Has Served Its Purpose
Dr. Zhana says that sometimes people are just ready for a change. “Perhaps casual sex served the purpose they wanted it to serve in their lives,” she tells Bustle. “For example they got the experience and the exploration they were seeking, and they are now moving on to other relationships structures and experiences.”
2. You’ve Had Some Negative Experiences
Negative experiences can happen if you only ever have sex with one person or if you’ve had sex with a hundred. But if you’ve had multiple negative experiences with casual sex, Dr. Zhana says that’s a totally legitimate reason to stop doing it.
3. Your Relationship Status Has Changed
“Perhaps they were enjoying casual sex while they were single but once they enter a monogamous long-term relationship, that is no longer an option,” Dr. Zhana says. “Or they were having casual sex as part of an open, consensually not monogamous relationship but once they have children, they decide that casual sex should not be part of their lives while the children are young.”
4. It’s Just Not Working For You Anymore
Sometimes people get bored or they just lose interest in casual sex for no clear reason at all! That’s fine — it doesn’t mean you’re broken or something is wrong. It just means you’re not into it any more.
5. The Slut-Shaming Is Too Intense
Slut-shaming is real, especially for women. Dr. Zhana says that the slut-shaming might be too much for some people to handle, switching there interest in casual sex to a dislike.
6. You’re Worried About STIs
While a 2015 study by researchers from Ball State University found that there’s no difference in rates of STD infections for monogamous and non-monogamous people, that doesn’t mean people don’t think they’re at a lower risk when they’re in a monogamous relationship. According to Dr. Zhana, worries about sexual health are one reason why people decide to stop having casual sex.
7. You Get Emotionally Attached
“Casual” is kind of defined by “no emotional attachments,” so if a person finds they’re not able to have sex without getting emotionally attached, Dr. Zhana says they might decide that it’s not for them anymore.
But whatever kind of sex you want to have — casual, serious, loving, totally no-strings-attached — remember one thing: It’s all good as long as no one is getting (non-consensually) hurt. Do you!
Images: Ashley Batz for Bustle