Mob mentality V.2

That gnawing, unavoidable urge to join in on the screaming, the out-of-control behavior and participate in the barbaric tradition of dancing around a fire, most likely a raggedy couch that made a porch comfortable only hours before.
Was there a death of a well-liked political leader? Are we going to war? Have our constitutional rights been jeopardized?
Such questions are lost in a crowd which seems to be on a rampage to destroy everything and anything in its path.
The neighborhood is aflame with light, blaring chants and half-nude…college students?
Someone slurs a comment about the unjust score, jumping off a balcony and into a tangling mob of pounding fists and shoulder-sitting bodies.

The image isn’t an unusual one.
Universities from coast to coast have seen, heard or experienced such intense riot scenes – mostly the result of unsettling sporting events.
“Mobs are caused by people who are frustrated,” said Stan Kaplowitz, Ph.D., a professor in sociology who has done considerable research on conditions of mob violence as well as the infamous 1999 MSU riots.
College riots, as with general mob behavior, occur when there is a large group of people, heightened excitement, low fear of consequences and an almost guaranteed support from the community, Kaplowitz said.
“They usually occur at nighttime, where the rioters are harder to identify,” Kaplowitz said. “There is a feeling of anonymity at late hours, and of course it is easier to get a crowd together at night, because people are usually not working, or in this case, in class.”
MSU is practically nationwide-known for its drunken students who tend to take loss – or even celebration – just a tad bit too far.
“The riots overwhelmingly occurred after losses,” Kaplowitz said. “But whether we win or lose doesn’t have much to do with it. After tense sporting events, people will be expecting a riot either way.”
And that expectation is what sometimes actually fuels the riot. According to Kaplowitz, there are three conditions that trigger this outlandish behavior by students: alcohol consumption (usually a considerable amount), the knowledge of this inevitable intense reaction, and an anticipation of it – numerous amounts of people just like themselves coming together and acting without inhibitions, and probably without consequences.
On March 27, 1999, MSU lost the Final Four game of the men’s basketball tournament. Post game celebration took on a whole new level. Close to 10,000 people were part of the rioting crowd, and an outlandish amount of money in damage was done. Not to mention the numerous students who were expelled from MSU for partaking in the disturbance that received not only state coverage, but was recognized by the entire country as well.
The scene that was set for these notorious riots was a tense one. Restrictions on alcohol consumption had risen, and students were not happy about it.
“They saw rioting a way to strike back at the university and the community. It was their way of protesting,” Kaplowitz said.
Kaplowitz, who has done a thorough investigation of this particular event, said there are many conditions that aided in this behavior. More general alcohol consumption led to a greater degree of objecting to the restrictions, as well as inebriating the rioters and thus reducing their inhibitions. MSU is also a Big Ten university, and statistics have proven that campus demonstrations have almost always occurred at schools with a large student body.
In his research, Kaplowitz touched base on the two views of riots, according to a variety of writers. Some, he says, view mobs as apolitical rampages, whose participants, typically young males, are motivated by a search for excitement and the thrill of seeing that they can “make things happen.” Others see it in a different angle, accounting riot behavior as politically motivated protests or rebellions against what they perceive as injustice.
The 1999 riots could have been a little of both – using alcohol and the dim light of night as masks in order for them to act outrageously. Maybe some did it to be on the front page of the State News; others may have just been ticked off at MSU, and were rebelling against the university and community restrictions on alcohol consumption.
Other sociologists across the nation have taken notice to what many are calling a “crisis on campus.” In 2002, newspapers from USA Today to campus-based religious news were in aflame with articles about these “celebratory riots.”
According to an interview with Thomas O’Toole in USA Today with Merrill J. Melnick, sports sociologist at Brockport State and co-author of Sports Fans: The Psychology and Social Impact of Spectators, there is a thin line between ecstasy and anti-social behavior.
“These things tend to start off benign, with a lot of social milling. It doesn’t take too much to get things going in a negative direction. It can start with a bonfire or a tipped-over car.”
Melnick, as with Kaplowitz, puts a lot of emphasis on the identification factor. If students are less likely to be identified, usually due to an intense population and the dark of night, they are more likely to partake in the behavior, because there isn’t a fear of penalties.
Many times the large crowd begins non-violent – just a simple “Go Green, Go White!” chant. However, a domino effect of destruction can begin with just one simple violent act.
The 1999 riots brought about 10,000 people into the streets, caused $250,000 in property damage and 132 arrests. In 2003, similar riots beckoned about 2,000 people into the East Lansing streets, causing $40,000 in property damage and 30 arrests.
This past spring, MSU continued the trend with the infamous Apr. 2 and 3 disturbances, which sparked a debate that has prolonged since, still a hot topic even today in these chilly fall months.
Following the team’s 87-71 loss in the Final Four in St. Louis, students gathered in the Cedar Village area and around the city, where several fires were reported and police released tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The actions that took place almost seven months ago aren’t considered “riots.” They are dubbed “celebratory events,” or “civil disturbances.” Why? Well, first off, the crowds just barely hit 3,000 in the Cedar Village area, and only reached as high as 1,500 in downtown East Lansing. It is estimated that police deployed several hundred tear-gas canisters, and 43 arrests people got handcuffed – 21 of which were MSU students.
The issue that has made this event prolong is the response by the police. Many believe that the violent acts performed by the students were encouraged by the equally – and initial – violence by the authority figures.
“I didn’t witness any violent behavior,” said Kevin Lappe, Spanish and economics sophomore, who was in the Cedar Village area at the end of the game. “It was a friendly, jovial atmosphere. No one exhibited any ill feelings.
“Fifteen minutes later, the first tear gas canisters were set off, and the whole demeanor of the crowd changed.”
Lappe was unfortunate enough to be pepper sprayed by the police. While standing on private property, the MSU student hollered at an officer for the safest way out. Eyes burning, Lappe heard the authority figure audibly laugh, whip out two cans of mace and spray him down in a crisscross fashion. And this didn’t just happen once – it occurred again, a few hours later.
“Seems to me that the police had a pre-planned answer to a riot that didn’t occur,” Lappe said. “They were overly aggressive, if not flat out directly hostile to the students. If they hadn’t tear-gassed and maced us, it wouldn’t have evolved in to that.”
Lappe admits that some students were violent, but not until three and a half hours into the celebratory event. He remembers Spartans high-fiving, chanting the MSU colors, and singing the fight song.
“We were sent numerous emails encouraging us to celebrate peacefully and with “class,” Lappe said. “Ninety-nine percent headed to those warnings.”
Obviously, what occurred last spring is up for debate. A riot? The police seem to think so. Celebration after a successful basketball season? Many students agree.
“It was more reminiscent of the Academic Orientation Program that I attended the summer before I came to State, where incoming freshman cheered ‘Go Green! Go White!’ and learned the fight song,” Lappe said. “Yes, some students were overzealous, but the vast majority behaved appropriately.
“The police are sending a bad message: If you gather peacefully, we will tear gas the hell out of you.”
Unfortunately, college, for many partiers, is seen as a drunken playground. They are finally away from the rules of mom and dad, and barriers quickly diminish. Living off-campus, without the restrictions enforced by mentors, allows for a freedom very new. This is apparent as crowds seem to gather by apartment complexes, or down city streets.
Immaturity, inebriation, the feeling of being part of something bigger then themselves, and the lack of fear of consequences rile up these drunkards and give a perfect excuse for getting rid of that old, smelly couch, and maybe even that mattress too. Some students take the violent approach – others are just trying to ask for directions, and possibly help for their burning eyes.
As we embark on a new MSU basketball season, we have to weigh these facts, and take a good look at this behavior. To be a good Spartan and save our furniture, or to skip the trip to the dumpster all together and grab a match instead. What will be our choice?

That gnawing, unavoidable urge to join in on the screaming, the out-of-control behavior and participate in the Native American tradition of dancing around a fire, most likely a raggedy couch that made a porch comfortable only hours before.
Was there a death of a well-liked political leader? Are we going to war? Have our constitutional rights been jeopardized?
Such questions are lost in a crowd which seems to be on a rampage to destroy everything and anything in its path.
The neighborhood is aflame with light, blaring chants and half-nude…college students?
“I can’t believe we lost!” someone slurs, jumping off a balcony and into a tangling mob of pounding fists and shoulder-sitting bodies.
The image isn’t an unusual one.
Universities from coast to coast have seen, heard or experienced such intense riot scenes – mostly the result of unsettling sporting events.
“Mobs are caused by people who are frustrated,” said Stan Kaplowitz, Ph.D., a professor in sociology who has done considerable research on conditions of mob violence such as the infamous 1999 MSU riots. “Frustration from things that are less than they think they ought to get.”
College riots, as with general mob behavior, occur when there is a large group of people, heightened excitement, low fear of consequences and an almost guaranteed support from the community, said Kaplowitz.
“They usually occur at nighttime, where the rioters are harder to identify,” said Kaplowitz. “There is a feeling of anonymity at late hours, and of course it is easier to get a crowd together at night, because people are usually not working, or in this case, in class.”
MSU is practically known nationwide for its drunken students who tend to take loss – or even celebration – just a tad bit too far.
“The riots overwhelmingly occurred after losses,” said Kaplowitz. “But whether we win or lose doesn’t have much to do with it. After tense sporting events, people will be expecting a riot either way.”
And that expectation is what sometimes actually fuels the riot. According to Kaplowitz, there are three conditions that trigger this outlandish behavior by students: alcohol consumption (usually a considerable amount), the knowledge of this inevitable intense reaction and an anticipation of it – numerous amounts of people just like themselves coming together and acting without inhibitions, and probably without consequences.
On March 27, 1999, MSU lost the Final Four game of the men’s basketball tournament. Post game celebration took on a whole new level. Close to 10,000 people were part of the rioting crowd, and $150,000 in damage was done.
The scene that was set for these notorious riots was a tense one. Restrictions on alcohol consumption had risen, and students were not happy about it.
“They saw rioting a way to strike back at the university and the community. It was their way of protesting,” said Kaplowitz.
Kaplowitz, who has done a thorough investigation of this particular event, said there are many conditions that aided in this behavior. More general alcohol consumption led to a greater degree of objecting to the restrictions, as well as inebriating the rioters and thus reducing their inhibitions. MSU is also a Big Ten university, and statistics have proven that campus demonstrations have almost always occurred at schools with a large student body.
In his research, Kaplowitz touched base on the two views of riots, according to a variety of writers. Some, he says, view mobs as apolitical rampages, whose participants, typically young males, are motivated by a search for excitement and the thrill of seeing that they can “make things happen.” Others see it in a different angle, accounting riot behavior as politically motivated protests or rebellions against what they perceive as injustice.
The 1999 riots could be a little of both – using alcohol and the dim light of night as masks in order for them to act outrageously in order to possibly be on the front page of the State News, AND rebelling against the university and community restrictions on alcohol consumption.
Other sociologists across the nation have taken notice to what many are calling a “crisis on campus.” In 2002, newspapers from USA Today to campus-based religious news were in aflame with articles about these “celebratory riots.”
According to an interview with Thomas O’Toole in USA Today with Merrill J. Melnick, sports sociologist at Brockport State and co-author of Sports Fans: The Psychology and Social Impact of Spectators, there is a thin line between ecstasy and anti-social behavior.
“These things tend to start off benign, with a lot of social milling. It doesn’t take too much to get things going in a negative direction. It can start with a bonfire or a tipped-over car.”
Melnick, as with Kaplowitz, puts a lot of emphasis on the identification factor. If students are less likely to be identified, usually due to an intense population and night, they are more likely to partake in the behavior because there isn’t a fear of penalites.
The United States has seen an overwhelming amount of riots in its young history. Most of them, Kaplowski said, have been race-related.
Most Americans know of the Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King hearings, and of the Civil Rights riots. Throughout our country’s history, mob rule has taken the form of executing people accused of witchcraft, lynching many because the color of their skin, to riots and rape culture on contemporary college campus.
Many times the large crowd begins non-violent – just a simple “Go Green, Go White!” chant. However, a domino effect of destruction can begin with just one simple violent act.
Kaplowitz makes a good point: “You usually don’t find corporate executives rioting.”
Age and economic status are huge factors when it comes to this mob mentality. College, for many partiers, is seen as a drunken playground. They are finally away from the rules of mom and dad, and thus, they don’t have any barriers. Living off-campus, without the restrictions enforced by mentors, allows for a freedom very new. This is apparent in the many campus riots that have occurred on street blocks instead of on the quad of a dorm.
Immaturity, inebriation, the feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves and the lack of fear of consequences rile up these drunkards and give a perfect excuse for getting rid of that old, smelly couch, and maybe even that mattress too.
As we embark on a new MSU basketball season, we have to weigh these facts, and take a good look at this seemingly inevitable behavior. To be a good Spartan and save our furniture, or to skip the trip to the dumpster all together and grab a match instead. What will be our choice?

Posted in Sex & HealthComments (0)

The Grass is Always Greener

[1]During the descent into Detroit Metro Airport, five weeks after my excited and nervous departure, I couldn’t help but notice a huge amount of winding pavement that cluttered the land below me. I peered out the tiny oval window, desperately searching for the small white fluff of sheep, rolling hills and intense green landscape, a view that I had grown accustomed to for close to two months. Instead, huge sport utility vehicles had replaced sheep, and enormous freeways were in the place of luscious countryside. My mouth dropped in bewilderment of the scene before me. How could this be home?
World traveling is no longer reserved for Christopher Columbus, Louis and Clark and Captain Cook. An increasing number of college-age students are finding themselves halfway around the world, surrounded by strange and wonderful people, food, music and mind-boggling sights. And it is here that these scholarly 20-something’s are discovering foreign and exciting cultures nestled in far away villages, hiking the Swiss Alps or even amongst fluffy sheep.
Culture shock is the most popular term for this overwhelming feeling of unfamiliarity. The majority of these young world-travelers are bombarded with this scary and somewhat uncomfortable feeling—not just upon arriving to a new land but when returning home. Perhaps culture shock is the most jarring when returning because you can find yourself changed in ways you never imagined, and that you don’t want to return to the life you were living.
“It is impossible not to have culture shock,” said Tolga Yaprak, who studied in the Netherlands the summer of 2004. “It was only hard for me because I wanted to stay in the Dutch culture. There was just so many small things that added up and affected me as a whole.”
For Yaprak, the cultural difference was most strong when it came to women. He was blown away by how independent they were. “There is no difference between females and males, especially with wages,” Yaprak said. “And women are seen in the middle of the night walking alone, without any fears.” Yaprak found it refreshing, and yet, at the same time, it made him realize how backward America is.
“It is like our country is a little boy in a man’s body,” Yaprak said. “Although legally women have equal rights, the mindsets of the people are still stuck in the 1950s.” Yaprak noted that although the Unites States is a powerful and large country, we aren’t exactly ethically, morally or culturally on top.
The international business junior also enjoyed the Netherlanders sense of responsibility to other fellow Dutchmen. “I really noticed the compromising nature of the citizens,” Yaprak said. “They all looked out for each other.” Yaprak is just one of the many MSU students who have capitalized on the learning experience of leaving his comfort zone, and came away from it with a new perspective on the world he lives in.
[3] Amelia Zukowski, a communications junior, became aware of an increased respect when abroad as an intern in Australia spring semester 2005. “No one talked on the cell phone in public places,” said Zukowski, who also took a side trip to Thailand. “And if they did, it was quiet. They just weren’t as obnoxious – Australians have more respect for people in public areas. American’s like the sound of their own voices.”
Zukowski also noted how happy the Australians seemed in comparison to the people at home. At the TV studio she worked at, summer vacation spanned three months. “Australians definitely have the ‘no worries’ philosophy,” Zukowski said. “I could show up a half hour late and it was fine. Comparable to Americans, they get more holiday time and maternity leave. They don’t get paid as much, but their balance in life is a lot more in check.”
Zukowski was overwhelmed and excited about the culture there, but she felt that there would be more of a shock if there was a language barrier. As she assimilated to her surroundings during her five-month stay “down under,” she became aware of its differences with America. It really hit home when, on a ten-day stay in Thailand, an elephant leisurely strolled down one of the main streets as she was walking back from dinner. A Thai man sat atop, and waved as he passed.
“All other cultures are superior to the American culture,” said Zukowski, who has also traveled throughout Europe. “Other parts of the world have been able to preserve their society’s cultural identity, while the Western mind is constantly kicking out the old and bringing in the new. Every year we see construction barrels on our roads, while Europe is using roads from the 1600s.”
I, like many, was the young Spartan who was terrified of an expanse of mysterious knowledge that awaited me “out there.”
From June 16 through July 23 I participated in MSU’s Reporting in the British Isles study abroad program. And everyday I wrote in a journal documenting my travels. Looking back on them, I remember how completely different it is in Europe, and how unlike my life today is compared with how it was then, and there. The culture, the day-to-day lifestyle, the food, the people, and most especially, the aesthetic qualities are missed daily, and were hard to rid myself of upon my return to the States.
July 7, 2005
Wonderful day – today is the day for the Wicklow tour. Known as
the “Garden of Ireland,” it was by far the most beautiful piece of
scenery that I have seen on this trip. We went so high up and on
such little, narrow streets – it was frightening as well as breathtaking!
Many associate “culture shock” with a lack of familiarity, such as traveling beyond your comfort zone and into an area that is foreign. For me, and for many who take the journey, it was quite the opposite. I was leaving a completely different country and was to be greeted by friends, family and loved ones in my own home. Yet, for days after my return, I expressed the “telltale signs” of culture shock, like frustration and intense sadness. Even as I celebrated my 21st birthday, just a day after my arrival, I found myself feigning smiles, forcing laughter and daydreaming of sheep, castles and waterfalls.
Memories will never fade for these world-travelers. If it isn’t the image of an elephant strolling through downtown or a woman trekking through the dim-lit streets without protective mace, it is that unforgettable moment where everything in life just seemed to stand still, when you realize that you aren’t at home, and maybe you don’t want to be.

Posted in Global ViewComments (0)

Hoping to Stay Healthy

As seniors prepare to graduate, they have a lot to say good bye to: friends, classmates, professors and…doctors? Come May many graduates will find themselves off of mom and dad’s health insurance plan, and without steady employment with a benefits package, a trip to the doctor or the pharmacy won’t be cheap.
Last year, young adults made up 50 percent of all new uninsured cases, and studies indicate two out of every five college graduates will spend time without insurance during their first year after graduation
[adam] But for Adam Caruso, a mechanical engineering senior, a probable lack of health insurance after graduation isn’t a main concern. “I think I will be dropped from my parents’ insurance when I am 25,” Caruso said. “I just hope I get a job before then.”
Not everyone will be as lucky as Caruso assumes he will be. Many health insurance providers stop covering young adults as soon as they stop attending school full time.
Andrew Burns, a State Farm Insurance agency owner, said when college graduates reach the age of 25, typically they are asked to get their own insurance and are taken off their parents’. “If the kid doesn’t attend college after high school, they are legally not considered a student away from home, and therefore are dropped from their parents’ insurance earlier,” he said.
But lack of coverage isn’t always a result of no longer attending an educational institution. Christopher Inman, English senior, is living without health insurance, a lifestyle he shares with 43.6 million other people in the nation. About a month ago, his mom switched jobs and informed him she would be without health insurance for herself and her five children for three months. If she wanted to maintain insurance until the new policy started, it would have cost more than $1,000.
Many college students are forced to ignore a scratchy throat, an achy limb or a bleeding wound because, like Inman, they are uninsured. “My brother tore some ligaments in his ankle last month, and my mom had to pay out of her pocket for the medical attention he needed,” Inman said. “Now I have a toothache, and with rent due soon, there is no way I can afford to pay for a dentist visit on my own.”
Clara Fletcher, an environmental microbiology junior, hasn’t had health insurance at all during her time at MSU. “Because my dad owns his own business, acquiring insurance for me is super expensive,” Fletcher said. “I should be on long-term allergy medication, but I can’t afford to pay for it. The meds cost almost $8 a pill, which would ultimately reach up to $300 a month. I pay for my asthma inhaler out of my pocket now, and it is already a pricey payment. I just hope not to get sick.”
Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 remain the least likely of any age group to have health insurance. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, 8.1 million young adults in this age group went without health insurance in 2002.
[college] “College kids have other things on their minds,” Fletcher said. “We obviously aren’t concerned about our health when we eat 99-cent hot dogs and then go to the bar and drink alcohol all night.”
There is help for those without health insurance thanks to MSU’s Student Health Subsidy Program, which provides health care support for qualifying low-income students and their spouses. SHSP offers unlimited office visits and university-recommended immunizations at Olin Health Center, as well as prescription drug coverage up to an annual maximum of $1,400.
Also, non-profit organizations such as Planned Parenthood provide young adults a variety of services, charging a fee according to the individual’s income.
“If you receive no income whatsoever, you will be on a donation basis,” Christina Bolden, community specialist for Planned Parenthood, said. “However, if you have a part-time job and make something like $100 a week, $6,000 a year, then we will take that into account and charge you a fee. It is never too expensive, though, especially for students.”
Some of the services Planned Parenthood offers are free pregnancy tests, condoms and STD testing.
Another place a student can go is Willow Plaza Services, part of the Ingham County Health Department Adolescent Programs, where more well-rounded service is provided.
“We offer medical and mental health services for children up to the age of 21,” said Lisa Embry, lead counselor at Willow Plaza Services, located in downtown Lansing. “We base our fee according to the income of a child, so realistically it is nothing.”
The clinic has a variety of health care available, including immunizations, physicals, prenatal care, birth control and the treatment of general health problems, as well as free HIV testing and pregnancy testing.
Living without health insurance is not a pleasant situation to be in and for those who deal with it everyday, it can be eye-opening yet frustrating.
[always] “I always associated a lack of health insurance with poverty,” Inman said. “I just have to remember that I can’t go to the doctor for a couple of months.”
Both Inman and Fletcher agree, health insurance in the United States should be a bigger priority.
“I own a pair of $100 Mavi jeans, yet I can’t afford allergy meds that I need,” Fletcher said.
Inman said he thinks health insurance should be provided by the education or by the state. “If we supposedly live in such a wealthy country, insurance should be easily provided for us,” he said. “It would seem to me that our major focuses as a country should be issues of health care as opposed to international business.”
For both students, they’ve proven that living without health insurance doesn’t have to be as stressful as it would seem. Although saying goodbye to health insurance may not be easy at first, graduates will hopefully be reunited with their doctors shortly- in good health. And students without any insurance are just hoping to stay healthy.

Posted in Sex & HealthComments (0)

So What Are We Anyway?

Friends with benefits aren’t just pals with good health insurance. But you knew that. Maybe you’ve had one or two (or a dozen) yourself. Few can resist the fun of a relationship without the relationship.
“It’s no mystery why people have casual sex,” Dr. Barnaby Barratt, a licensed sex therapist from Farmington Hills, said. “Why should those who aren’t in a relationship not be allowed to have sex? A person may or may not be looking for a relationship, and yet can still engage in a casual sexual experience.”
[one] And casual sex isn’t what it used to be.
“It would probably be wrong to think those engaged in casual sex are sexual super-humans or are biologically driven much more than persons who are anything but casual in their sexuality,” Russell J. Stambaugh, Ph.D., a diplomat in sex therapy from Ann Arbor, said.
According to many students, casual sex embraces the true enjoyment of the activity.
To Steve Rice, psychology sophomore, casual sex is more apparent, acceptable and easy on big college campuses such as MSU. “Casual sex is convenient in a town like East Lansing because there is such a big pool of people to choose from.”
But Rice said his ultimate goal is to meet a girl he can see and call again. “Most of the time, it doesn’t work out – you’re not going to the bar to bring home a girl that you’d bring home to mom,” he said.
Similary, Tolga Yaprak, international studies sophomore, believes the reason for this is many people weren’t aware of the vast number of individuals they would meet here. “A lot of people come to MSU from small towns,” Yaprak said. “They haven’t been to big parties with such a variety of people. New faces, alcohol and being young combine, and casual sex is a result.”
[two] These factors on top of Web sites such as datenet.com, books titled, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands, and the image of Samantha Jones riding on a sex swing clutter the minds of singles nationwide. With all this talk about sex, one can’t help but sing, what’s love got to do with it?
“People who engage in casual sex may feel that it affords an easy route to pleasure, status, affection, power or escape that persons requiring intimacy for sexual pleasure do not desire quite so highly,” Stambaugh said.
Simply put, not everyone needs love to have sex. Some people just love sex.
“Casual sex happens because you are unable to make that better connection,” Megan Higgins, a no-preference sophomore, said. “Not being able to find that special relationship shouldn’t stop you from having sex. You are just having fun.”
On top of “just having fun,” sex without attachment can have benefits of its own.
Higgins believes casual sex allows a person to distinguish between what are true feelings for a person, and what is considered “just sex.” “It helps you know the difference,” Higgins said.
[three] Additionally, Eric Howard, a licensed psychologist and sex therapist in Lansing, said it can be a good thing. “Casual sex plays a significant role because part of the experience is sexual learning.”
But of course, too much of a good thing – even fun – can lose its appeal after awhile.
“In the morning, that special connection has usually disappeared,” Yaprak said. “Either side or both parties don’t end up liking each other.”
According to professionals like Stambaugh, Barratt and Howard, any emotional consequences resulting from having casual sex are highly individualized.
“Depends entirely on the subject,” Barratt said. “Having sex to fill a sexual void will produce feelings of shame and guilt, and may manage to help that person not be able to find a lasting relationship later in life.”
Dana DuBose, business freshman, agrees. “Casual sex can be bad when you are insecure,” DuBose said. “When you use sex as an exit, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons.”
Zach Fink, education junior, believes the emotional attachments resulting from sex are greater for women. “Women get attached because they are just more sensitive,” Fink said. “An emotinal attachment forms when you have sex. People have sex because it’s sex and it’s fun and feels good, but casual sex is never as good as sex with a person you are sharing a relationship with.”
Yaprak feels that there are stereotypes of men and emotions during sex. “There is a general stereotype that men don’t have those kinds of emotions toward sex as women do, but I don’t think it is valid,” Yaprak said. “Guys portray themselves to fill that stereotype, but it doesn’t always ring true.”
Howard admits women in particular do tend to get more attached, yet this varies according to the individual, he said.
[four] “For those whose self-esteem is solid, and are honest with themselves and their partner, lasting relationships can form,” Howard said. “For those who boost self-esteem through sex, this confidence issue needs to be addressed separately.”
Barratt mentioned taking part in casual sex does not always have a negative effect. “A person could have a casual sex lifestyle throughout their 20s and be happily married in their 30s without any problems,” Barratt said. “However, if a man or woman jumps into a marriage to fill a void, or because they fear being alone, then that is where there is a problem.”
“When a man and a woman are honest with each other and themselves, casual sex is not harmful,” Howard said. “I think that often enough people will tell themselves that it is casual and yet they get attached and it becomes not casual.”
Being honest with your partner about sexually transmitted diseases, using protection and taking into account the dangers of date rape are imperative when it comes to being safe about sex.
[five]“The less well one knows one’s partners and their sexual histories, the more vulnerable one is to get sexually transmitted diseases and other sexual misadventures,” Stambaugh said. “For those who find sexual risk-taking to be exciting, these dangers may actually be an incentive to casual sexual activity.”
However, Stambaugh said the idea of what is risky and what is not is also socially constructed, and individuals vary widely in their perceptions of even fairly well-documented dangers. “Obviously, contraception, condoms and discussing partners’ sexual histories are tactics that can be used to partially manage the risks of casual sexual behavior, just as they can for persons demanding sustained intimacy.”
For some, though, the risk lies not in casual sex, but in committed relationships.
“All sex is a risk,” Barratt said. “Casual sex is no more a risk than when in an exclusive relationship. People tend to be more relaxed about barrier protection and safe sex is forgotten about.” So as a result, safety and respect are key factors in order to experience the true enjoyment of casual sex.
There are many other risks attached to casual sex, but as DuBose said, “Sex can be respectable, good and safe. You just have to be precautious and smart.”
So yes, even casual hook-ups might require a little bit of effort on your part. But, in the end, it’s good insurance so the benefits will last until you and your friend decide either to take the next step, or just stay friends.

Posted in Sex & HealthComments (0)