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Casual sex is an umbrella term that encompasses many forms of sex that are similar in the fact that they do not involve committed relationships. This can include one night stands, friends with benefits, and swinging. Other terms that are used to desribe casual sex are no strings attached sex and hooking up. This has lead to the term "hook up culture" in reference to the prevalance of casual sex among young people.
There has been much research pointing to damaging effects of casual sex on the mental and emotional states of its participants. However in recent years, conflicting studies have emerged that have called the older data into question. New findings suggest that the older research showed a moral bias towards committed relationships and aimed to prove that casual relationships were unhealthy. The new studies have shown that when participants engage in causual sex with appropriate expectations, their experience can actually be beneficial.