Having sex is a common behavior among college students, and it is associated with both positive and negative consequences. To better understand the relationships between flirting behaviors, psychological distress, and the negative effects of sexual intercourse, researchers developed the 14-item Negative Impact of Sexual Relationships Inventory (NIHI). This study found that unprotected sex and having more sexual partners were associated with greater negative experiences of sexual intercourse. Additionally, the negative impacts of sexual intercourse were positively associated with psychological distress regardless of gender.
Misperception of sexual norms is one of the possible factors that drive people to behave in ways that they don't personally support. Binge drinking and marijuana use during sexual intercourse were associated with an increased risk of having unprotected sex. There are notable physical risks to having casual sex, such as STIs, unplanned pregnancies, and sexual assault. The most commonly reported negative outcomes in sexual relationships were regret for a specific partner, feelings of sexual dissatisfaction, regret that a relationship went too far, and shame.
An event-level approach could be used to better understand the contextual factors that lead to an increase in negative experiences of connection, including the role of familiarity with a partner and alcohol consumption. Studies show that distress and misgivings after intercourse are more likely with unprotected sexual intercourse, as well as if an encounter goes beyond what was expected or if any of the people felt pressured to perform sexual acts that they did not want to perform. It is important to understand the risks associated with participating in a long-term relationship within a hookup context. This includes physical risks such as STIs, unplanned pregnancies, and sexual assault, as well as psychological risks such as regret for a specific partner, feelings of sexual dissatisfaction, regret that a relationship went too far, and shame.
It is also important to consider the role of familiarity with a partner and alcohol consumption in increasing the risk of negative experiences.