Life Course Specific Motivators and Implications of Early Young Adult Casual Sex Behavior

Heidi Lyons, Oakland University
Wendy D. Manning, Bowling Green State University
Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University

Most young adults have some casual sex experience. It is important to understand the motivations for such behavior given potential health consequences. Prior research has not investigated the possible life course-specific motivators for and implications of young adult casual sex behavior. We use the Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study, a diverse sample of young adults (N=210), and a subset of in-depth relationship narratives (N=44) to answer our research questions. We find that traditional motivators remain the most common reasons for participating in casual sex. These include sexual pleasure and substance use. However, young adults also claim life course-specific motivators such as geographic mobility, social learning from prior romantic relationships, and feeling too young to be tied down. Further our sample provides some positive implications for casual sex activity. Future research should consider life course-specific motivators and implications when studying casual sex activity.

  See paper

Presented in Session 147: Sex and Sexuality