Casual Sex: Implications, Motivations, and Emotions

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Winter, Callie Justine
Booty Call; Casual Sex; Friends with Benefits; Hook Up; Communication
thesis / dissertation description
The emerging popularity of casual sex among young adults has recently taken the attention of scholars in communication and other areas of social sciences. Much research has identified key traits belonging to different types of casual sex relationships (CSRs), but none to date have compared them. The focus of the current investigation was to create a profile of Hook Up, Booty Call, and Friends with Benefits Relationships (FWBRs) comparing the motivations, open and/or avoidant communication, and emotions and positive affective states evoked from each type. There were 329 participants included in the survey. Across each relationship type, the top motivators for engaging in a CSR were It Just Happened, and To Have Fun. Surprisingly, positive emotions and positive affective states were more strongly experienced than negative emotions across each relationship types. Specifically, Happiness was the most strongly experienced positive emotion, and Disappointment was the most strongly experienced negative emotion within each emotion within each relationship. Exciting and Enjoyable were the most prevalentlyexperienced affective states, and Fulfilling was the least salient of the affective states. Communication patterns across the relationships were a bit more complicated. In Hook Up relationships, avoidant communication between partners was more prevalent than open communication. Within Booty Call relationships, the nature of the relationship was discussed more than the future or the rules. Both partners were equally likely to avoid communicating about the nature of the relationship. Within the FWBR after the partners previously dated, the nature and the rules of the relationship were equally likely to be discussed, and the respondent and their partner were equally likely to avoid discussion. Finally, within the traditional FWBR, the partners were more likely to communicate about the nature of the relationship than the rules and future, and were equally likely to avoid discussing the relationship.