Casual Hookups Can Lead to Meaningful Relationships: Study

New research shows that fast-moving couples need not rule out a serious future

By Justin Ray
|  Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012  |  Updated 10:06 PM EDT
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A hookup or slow-moving courtship are just as likely to lead to a serious relationship.

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Couples who skip the long courtship and head straight to the bedroom can have just as healthy a relationship as their more conservative counterparts, a new study shows.

Research from the University of Iowa found that couples who waited until their relationship became serious to have sex were just as successful as partners who had sex right away.

"We didn't see much evidence that relationships were lower quality because they started off as hookups," said UI sociologist Anthony Paik, who led the study. "The study suggests that rewarding relationships are possible for those who delay sex. But it's also possible for true love to emerge if things start off with a more 'Sex and the City' approach, when people spot each other across the room, become sexually involved and then build a relationship."

The only stipulation was that couples who raced to the bedroom had to both be open for a committed relationship for the love to blossom. The study also found that partners that were accustomed to having casual sexual encounters favored shorter relationships and were therefore less likely to build a committed relationship from a hookup.
 
More than 640 heterosexual adults from Chicago participated in the study, which was published in the Journal of Social Science Research. Participants answered questions about when they first had sex with their partner, how much love was expressed and how they felt about a future with their partner.
 
The big down-side of these faster-moving relationship, the study found, was the heightened risk of spreading or receiving a sexually transmitted disease.

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