Bedroom blues: How does casual sex affect your self-esteem?

Jules Turner (graphic)
Jules Turner (graphic)

Casual sex is a growing trend in today’s hook-up culture. The westernized world is straying from traditional values, altering our perception of sex. Long ago have we bid adieu to the emphasis on sex as a marital act, and emerging adults are becoming hornier each day. Though its integration into our leisure pastimes may not necessarily be a pressing vice, what are the effects of casual sex on our mental health?

On university campuses, sexual opportunities are bound to arise. The pressure to get involved can lead to undesirable situations—such as the walk of shame the following morning. These encounters challenge our self-esteem (keep in mind we’re dealing with a social group that is confused about 80 per cent of their daily decisions, and use the Socratic Method to determine what’s for lunch; it’s only natural for us to be unsure if we like our faces or not).

And let’s be honest: we live in a world where sex sells. Everything is over-sexualized and glamorized, upholding a maddening pedestal where being size two means you’re probably getting laid every day. And if you’re anything like me—wearing a full tracksuit, eating a jar of Nutella while watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show—I think it’s safe to say none of us are fully satisfied.

The “ideal” body image is exaggerated to the point where our sexual self-esteem is affected. “Am I crushing him? Can he see my cellulite?” We question our appearance and weight, which ultimately makes the stress-relieving act stressful. If we’re preoccupied by thoughts of our own bodies in the bedroom, I think we have a problem. And without the support of a steady, healthy relationship, we can lack the assurance necessary to be confident in ourselves.

Because casual sex is purely a physical act, not much is regarded other than the physical form—and it’s our most vulnerable form! Being naked brings out our insecurities, and with an unstable roster of partners, we choose to partake in a vicious cycle where we are constantly subjected to the judgments of others. This clawing need for approval, in turn, never brings us satisfaction.

With that in mind, casual sex is not entirely a bad thing. No one will persecute you for participating in a culture that fuels the sexually active population, but remember to be proactive about the type of people you choose to sleep with. The roster you build determines the role sex plays in your life. It’s the quality, not quantity; and I’m not talking about whether it’s good or bad sex (Sex is like pizza, right?). I’m talking about what is reciprocated from the people you choose to sleep with. How do you feel after having sex with them? Are you mentally exerting yourself to please them? If so, you should seriously reevaluate who you choose to be intimate with.

I used to be self-conscious of my every move in the bedroom. After a while, I realized demanding complete darkness, and praying they didn’t see my third nipple, was a civil war on its own. If your partner doesn’t make you feel good, you don’t need them. So keep eating that jar of Nutella and love your third nipple. Your third nipple is the sexiest thing ever.