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Study: Casual Sex Not Emotionally Damaging

Casual sex isn't a bad thing — at least not for young adults, according to a new study.

University of Minnesota researchers asked more than 1,300 people age 18 to 24 about their most recent sexual encounters, their self-esteem and their emotional well-being — and found the results startling.

Only about one-fifth said their last encounter was casual, but their overall emotional status was no different than the four-fifths who said they were in a committed relationship.

"We were so surprised," said Marla Eisenberg, an assistant professor at the university's School of Public Health.

"The conventional wisdom is that casual sex, 'friends with benefits,' and hooking up is hurtful."