Yesterday, my Google alerts alerted me of an article in The Guardian, Is casual sex bad for your wellbeing?, which had mentioned my name. Publicity is usually great, especially when it comes from one of the top 5 UK newspapers, and even if you never actually got interviewed for the article. Alas, the article turned out to be, not only a poorly and hastily put together smorgasbord of studies about casual sex with no coherent answer to the question posed in the title, but also gets me and what I have to say about casual sex wrong.
The article introduces me as a psychology professor at Cornell University; while I did my PhD there, I’m actually an (adjunct) psychology professor at New York University.
Ok, they got my affiliation wrong. Nobody cares. But what really bothers me is this claim, made by a writer with the “Dr” in front of their name: “But however pro-casual sex she is, Vrangalova warns that you shouldn’t hook-up if you care about seeing them again.”
First of all, I am not “pro-casual sex”. I’m pro people doing what’s best for them, which may include hooking up for some, and not hooking up for others! The science is very clear on this topic: Whether casual sex is bad for your wellbeing DEPENDS on who you are and how you do it.
And second, I have never warned people against hooking “if you care about seeing them again”. That doesn’t even make sense! There are countless examples (both anecdotal and research-supported) of hookups turning into long-term friendships, relationships, and fuck-buddy connections; and most people who hook up once, do see their partner again.
Unfortunately, no one does any fact checking any more these days, and smaller news outlets around the world just translate-copy-paste what’s been written by the major news outlets. By this morning, the same inaccuracies found in The Guardian article have been replicated by newspapers and websites around the globe, from Ireland, to Bosnia, to China.
Don’t believe everything you read in the papers, people 🙂