Episode 27: The Guide to Casual Sex and Healthy Hookups

March 25, 2021 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast

Episode 27: The Guide to Casual Sex and Healthy Hookups


Much has been said and written in the popular media about ‘hookup culture’ and the rise of casual sex. Trend pieces often portray casual sex as inherently damaging and bad for our mental health. But is this actually the case? How does casual sex really affect us? And what do you need to know when it comes to having good casual sex?

For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, a sex researcher, speaker, writer, and consultant. She currently teaches human sexuality courses at New York University and also runs a course called Open Smarter, which helps people figure out what type of relationship is right for them based on science. In the first half of the program, we talk about Zhana’s research on casual sex, and in the second half, we discuss monogamy, consensual non-monogamy, and everything in between.

Topics we cover include:

  • What does it mean to have ‘casual sex’ anyway? What are the different forms it can take?
  • How many people are having casual sex, and is this increasing or decreasing?
  • How does casual sex affect us, for better or for worse?
  • Is casual sex really as ‘casual’ as the name implies, or are people looking for more than just sex?
  • How can people have better casual sex?
  • How do you know whether monogamy or non-monogamy is right for you?
  • When and for whom is it a good idea to consider opening up a relationship?
  • If you’re thinking about opening up your relationship or exploring the world of consensual non-monogamy, what do you need to know to start out on the right foot?

To learn more about Zhana and her Open Smarter course, check out her website here.


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Credits: LEGIT Audio (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.

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Written by

Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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