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Myke and Gregory: Chance to love

Rev. Michael Angelo Sotero of Metropolitan Community Church-Metro Baguio (MCCMB) and Gregory Rugay met online, but the relationship soon turned serious, so that Gregory left Mindanao to join Myke in Baguio City, where they now help push for LGBT rights.

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Rev. Michael Angelo Sotero of Metropolitan Community Church-Metro Baguio (MCCMB) and Gregory Rugay met on a gay social site (tagged.com). “He was a random friend request that I accepted, saw his pictures, saw that he was married to another guy, and for a long time he was just that, another online acquaintance I didn’t even talk to,” recalled Gregory Rugay, originally of Cagayan de Oro City.

What remains a challenge for the couple now, said Gregory Rugay, is “like in any other relationship, which is working through and overcoming our differences. We are totally different people, and have opposite personalities. Accepting these differences and being understanding of each other’s characters is a process and calls for a lot of patience and humility.”

After some time, Rev. Myke “saw a notification that it was Jojo’s birthday, so I posted a birthday greeting,” Rev. Myke said. “That’s how we started exchanging messages, numbers, et cetera.”

Gregory – with a smile – elaborated: “Incorrigible flirt that I am, I responded (to his message) with ‘Bakit hindi mo ako hinintay? Crush pa naman kita!’, which he took seriously and told me that he was then already a ‘widower’. I took a second look at his profile and realized that his older brother was an officemate at a telecommunications company where I used to work as an auditor. It was a rare chance since, back then, I lived in Mindanao and he in Baguio City. But that’s when the friendship started, and everything just progressed really fast from there.”

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In about two weeks, in Rev. Myke’s estimation, “we met in Manila, and took him with me to Baguio where he (has been living) his new life ever since.”

“In a month’s time, I was already living in Baguio,” Gregory seconded, “and still living here after more than three years.”

Gregory could not “exactly remember when I realized I was in love (with Rev. Myke). I think it was when I knew that all things fell into place. He was like a solution to what I wanted in my life at that time, realizing that his traits are what I should be looking for in a lifetime partner. Until now, I think that it was part of the Lord’s plan that I come to Baguio and that I would be partnered with someone like him. It’s a perfect partnership.”

Rev. Myke couldn’t recall that exact moment, too, when he knew he was hooked on Gregory. But “when you are in love, you just know it. It’s an unspoken feeling that you know is there. You feel the spark, and (you are) sure that it’s real,” he said.

What remains a challenge for the couple now, said Gregory, is “like in any other relationship, which is working through and overcoming our differences. We are totally different people, and have opposite personalities. Accepting these differences and being understanding of each other’s characters is a process and calls for a lot of patience and humility.”

Since he helms MCCMB, Rev. Myke said that “keeping up with the LGBT ministries while struggling financially to survive (is also a challenge).” That they have each other helps; as well as having the support of each other’s family, since “we have no problem about family acceptance; we are both out to our families.”

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For Rev. Myke, “being accepted by both of our families matters so much for me. I had past relationship where we needed to hide in our closets whenever (the former boyfriend’s) family was around. I was not comfortable with that set up.”

Acceptance is a vital issue for both. “The best thing (in this relationship) is in knowing that someone accepts you for who you truly are. You can be just yourself – the good things and the bad, and knowing that someone accepts and love you for all that and despite of that. It is a very liberating feeling,” he said.

The couple does not have plans “etched in stone,” said Gregory. “The world is constantly changing and we respond according to how the world needs us to be and how we feel we should tackle the challenges. We just know that we’re in this together now, and face and work for the future with each other in mind.”

As for Rev. Myke? The future may hold a holy union, “and we’ll take it from there.”

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

Love Guides

How you can add fresh excitement to your relationship

It is important that you take the state of your physical relationship into consideration, as letting things slide in this department can result in other areas and aspects of your relationship being affected.

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When it comes to relationships, it can be very difficult to keep things magical and fresh all the time. While your physical relationship may have been really exciting to begin with, once you have other commitments to think about, things can start to slide. Most people are busy with commitments such as work, family, and financial worries, which can all take their toll on your physical relationship.

It is important that you take the state of your physical relationship into consideration, as letting things slide in this department can result in other areas and aspects of your relationship being affected. The good news is that there are simple methods you can use to add fresh excitement to your love life, and if you are open-minded you can have great fun at the same time. In this article, we will look at some of these methods.

Methods You Can Use

Are you and your partner open-minded and up for some adventure and excitement in the bedroom? If so, using adult toys could be the perfect way to try new and exciting experiences together. You may be one of those people who has never used these products before, and you may find yourself wondering ‘what are anal beads?’ and other products you are unfamiliar with. Well, the good news is that there are so many adult toy products available these days, you are certain to find something that you and your partner can experiment with in the bedroom.

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Another thing that the two of you may find exciting and thrilling is to act out your fantasies in the bedroom. Just because your partner has never mentioned anything about fantasies to you before, this doesn’t mean they don’t have any.

Likewise, you may harbor your own fantasies but have never mentioned them to your partner. Well, now is the time to stop being coy and communicate with your partner about your fantasies. You can then enjoy reliving these in the bedroom by dressing up sexily, creating scenarios, and more.

There are couples who feel far more at ease when they are not at home, such as while away on vacation. Well, you can’t go on a vacation every time you want to get intimate. However, one thing you can do is book a couple of nights away somewhere from time to time so you can get away from it all, feel less stress, and feel more relaxed. You can enjoy spending some quality time together by doing this, and you can use some of that time to get things moving in the bedroom department.

Making an Effort Makes a Difference

When you make this type of effort and open up your mind, you can both look forward to exciting new experiences as well as a more satisfying physical relationship. This is something that can then have a positive impact on your overall relationship so it is well worth making time to work on your love life. 

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Signs whether your partner is cheating on you

According to research, 20-26% of married people have admitted to having an extramarital affair that involved sex. At least 40% of married people admit to emotional infidelity, and almost 100% of married couples have admitted to having thought about cheating.

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Cheating, also called infidelity or adultery, involves one partner or both going against their vows regarding emotional and sexual exclusivity. Depending on your personal boundaries in your relationship, some of the things that could be considered cheating are:

  • Having sexual contact with someone else other than your partner,
  • Discussing matters of a sexual nature with someone other than your partner,
  • Giving gifts to someone other than your partner, and/or
  • Having romantic chats (calls and texts) with someone else behind your partner’s back.

According to research, 20-26% of married people have admitted to having an extramarital affair that involved sex. At least 40% of married people admit to emotional infidelity, and almost 100% of married couples have admitted to having thought about cheating. This shows that cheating among couples is becoming more common than maybe we like to think, radically changing the meaning of faithfulness and honesty in marriages.

Coping with cheating or believing your partner is cheating is a nightmare in many romantic relationships. Cheating is disastrous and can destroy even the best relationships. Besides, the effects of cheating are severe heartbreaks and hopelessness. Some relationship coaches add that cheating may lead to low self-esteem and feelings of betrayal.

With such effects, there are some everyday factors that can predict whether your spouse will cheat on you.

Level of Education

A recent study shows that women who are more educated than their husbands were twice as likely to engage in sexual infidelity. Furthermore, ladies are more prone having extramarital affairs with men who are more educated than their husbands.

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Number of Lifetime Sexual Partners

The higher the number of sexual partners one has had in the past, the more likely he/she will cheat. A high number of sexual partners indicates that the person is not likely to settle into a long-term relationship.

Revenge

Many people cheat as a way of getting revenge on their unfaithful partner who had previously cheated on them.

To help look after yourself,you can sign up to happymatches.com and find a faithful partner who’ll treasure your faithfulness and trust. Often, revenge in relationships turns into never-ending conflict.

Age  

Relationship experts cite that women are more likely to cheat when they are younger. On the other hand, the likelihood of men cheating increases with age,as they are generally more attracted to younger partners.

State of the Relationship

Is your partner satisfied in his/her relationship? Women who are dissatisfied in their relationship have a higher chance of cheating as a way of avoiding stress and finding happiness. Moreover, cheating can be a way of influencing a divorce or a breakup.

Reasons Why People Cheat in Relationships

Some of the common reasons why people cheat are:

Opportunity

You are more likely to cheat with people who you spend a lot of time with. Spending lots of time with someone who isn’t your partner influences you to share some of your most intimate feelings with them.

Peer Pressure

This mostly applies to men. A considerable number of men consider cheating on their partners as something to brag about and be proud of. This has tempted several men to cheat on their spouse so that they can fit in with the “squad.”

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LOVE AFFAIRS

More than one in 10 want to be in an open relationship

Researchers found that people engaging in and preferring open relationships tended to be slightly younger. Men were also more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type. Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships.

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An open heart?

A sizable number of adults are either in or would like to be in an open relationship. This is one of the key findings from a research from the University of British Columbia, and which was published in the Journal of Sex Research.

The study was conducted in Canada, and is the first outside of the US to assess the prevalence of open relationships using a representative sample.

Researchers analyzing data from a nationally representative survey of about 2,000 Canadian adults found that 4% of those in relationships reported being in an open relationship, while 20% reported having been in an open relationship in the past. Meanwhile, more than one in ten (12%) reported that open relationships were their “ideal relationship type.”

“Our findings suggest that more people would like to be in an open relationship than already are, possibly because of the stigma associated with these types of relationships and the difficulty of broaching this subject with partners,” said Nichole Fairbrother, the study’s lead author and assistant professor in the UBC department of psychiatry. “Even with the stigma, however, it still appears that a sizable number of Canadian adults are either in or would like to be in an open relationship.”

Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships.
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Open relationships are those in which individuals agree to participate in sexual, emotional and romantic interactions with more than one partner. Examples include polyamory (engaging in multiple romantic relationships) and swinging (engaging in multiple sexual relationships outside of a relationship, alone or together, with minimal or no emotional or romantic involvement).

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For the study, the researchers had market research firm Ipsos administer an online questionnaire to a representative sample of about 2,000 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 94. Nearly equal numbers of men and women responded to the survey. Fifty-five per cent of respondents were married or living with a romantic partner, while 31% were single, 10% were separated or divorced and nearly 4% were widowed.

Among the key findings, the researchers found that people engaging in and preferring open relationships tended to be slightly younger. Men were also more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type. Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships. Rather, having a match between one’s actual and preferred relationship type was associated with greater relationship satisfaction, the researchers found.

As for why greater numbers of men tend to prefer open to monogamous relationships, the researchers suggest it could be partially due to the greater prevalence of open relationships among same-sex male couples. They say more research is needed to fully understand the factors behind men preferring open relationships more than women.

Fairbrother said the findings have clinical implications for mental health providers, especially for those who provide couples therapy.

“Given that a significant minority of respondents say they prefer open relationships, it may be useful for mental health providers to consider ways of making it easier for couples to talk about their relationship preferences in therapy,” she said.

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The researchers also collected survey answers from hundreds of UBC and Ryerson University students to analyze the characteristics of people who prefer different relationship configurations. They are analyzing this data now.

Men were more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type.
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The study was co-authored by Trevor Hart, a psychology professor and director of the HIV prevention lab at Ryerson University, and Malcolm Fairbrother, a sociologist at Umeå University in Sweden. It was supported by a Ryerson University faculty of arts new initiatives award, awarded to Hart.

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Study says sex helps initiate romantic relationships between potential partners

Sexual desire may play a causally important role in the development of relationships. It’s the magnetism that holds partners together long enough for an attachment bond to form.

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A budding relationship or just a one-night stand? The difference may not be immediately obvious, least of all to those directly involved. However, sex helps initiate romantic relationships between potential partners.

This is according to a new study, “Fueled by desire: Sexual activation facilitates the enactment of relationship-initiating behaviors” by Gurit E. Birnbaum, Moran Mizrahi and Harry T. Reis, and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

The team of psychologists from the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and the University of Rochester’s Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology conclude that sexual desire may play a major role not only in attracting potential partners to each other, but also in encouraging the formation of an attachment between them.

“Sex may set the stage for deepening the emotional connection between strangers,” says the study’s lead author Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the IDC Herzliya. “This holds true for both men and women. Sex motivates human beings to connect, regardless of gender.”

The study was – however, and worth noting – limited to heterosexual relationships.

Still, according to Birnbaum, some believe that men are more likely than women to initiate relationships when sexually aroused, but when one focuses on more subtle relationship-initiating strategies, such as providing help, this pattern does not hold true: in fact, both men and women try to connect with potential partners when sexually aroused.

In four interrelated studies, participants were introduced to a new acquaintance of the opposite sex in a face-to-face encounter. The researchers demonstrate that sexual desire triggers behaviors that can promote emotional bonding during these encounters.

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“Although sexual urges and emotional attachments are distinct feelings, evolutionary and social processes likely have rendered humans particularly prone to becoming romantically attached to partners to whom they are sexually attracted,” says co-author Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean’s Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester.

In the first study, the researchers looked at whether sexual desire for a new acquaintance would be associated with non-verbal cues signaling relationship interest. These so-called immediacy behaviors are displayed in the synchronization of movements, close physical proximity, and frequent eye contact with a study insider who worked with the scientists. The study participants, all of whom identified as single and heterosexual, were recruited at a university in central Israel.

Study 1 included 36 women and 22 men who lip-synched to pre-recorded music with an attractive, opposite-sex study insider. Afterwards, participants rated their desire for the insider, whom they believed to be another participant. The scientists found that the greater the participant’s desire for the insider, the greater their immediacy behaviors towards, and synchronization with, the insider.

Study 2 replicated the finding with 38 women and 42 men who were asked to slow dance with an attractive, opposite-sex insider, whom they believed to be a study participant. Again, the researchers found a direct association between synchronization of body movement and desire for the insider.

Study 3 included 42 women and 42 men and established a causal connection between activating the sexual behavior system and behaviors that help initiate relationships. In order to activate the sexual system, the researchers used a subliminal priming technique in which they flashed an erotic, non-pornographic image for 30 milliseconds on a screen, which participants were not aware of seeing. Next, participants interacted with a second study participant–essentially a potential partner–discussing interpersonal dilemmas while being videotaped. Afterwards judges rated the participants’ behaviors that conveyed responsiveness and caring. The scientists found the activation of the sexual system also resulted in behaviors that suggested caring about a potential partner’s well-being–an established signal for interest in a relationship.

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Study 4 included 50 women and 50 men. Half the group watched an erotic, non-pornographic video scene from the movie The Boy Next Door. The other half watched a neutral video of rainforests in South America. Next, study participants were assigned an attractive opposite-sex insider and told to complete a verbal reasoning task. The insider pretended to get stuck on the third question and asked the participant for help. The researchers found that those participants who had watched the erotic movie scene were quicker to help, invested more time, and were perceived as more helpful, than the neutral video control group.

What then could explain the role of sex in fostering partnerships? Human sexual behavior evolved to ensure reproduction. As such, sex and producing offspring don’t depend on forming an attachment between partners. However, the prolonged helplessness of human children promoted the development of mechanisms that keep sexual partners bonded to each other so that they can jointly care for their offspring, says Birnbaum, whose collaboration with Reis spans 20 years, dating back to her postdoc days at the University of Rochester.

“Throughout human history, parents’ bonding greatly increased the children’s survival chances,” she says.

Prior neuroimaging research has shown that similar brain regions (the caudate, insula, and putamen) are activated when a person experiences either sexual desire or romantic love. The researchers surmise that this pattern hints at a neurological pathway that causes sexual activation–the neural processes that underlie a sexual response–to affect emotional bonding.

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They conclude that experiencing sexual desire between previously unacquainted strangers may help facilitate behaviors that cultivate personal closeness and bonding.

“Sexual desire may play a causally important role in the development of relationships,” says Birnbaum. “It’s the magnetism that holds partners together long enough for an attachment bond to form.”

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Tips on learning to communicate better with ladies

No matter who you are, you can actually transform yourself to become a Prince Charming, a man who is such a darling when around ladies.

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The dream of every man is to be a Prince Charming, someone who woos women by his diction and the way he expresses himself. Unfortunately, not all men or should we say, a lot of men aren’t what they want i.e. they are not Prince ‘Charming’s’. While this indeed is a terrible thing, the good thing is that it can be changed.

No matter who you are, you can actually transform yourself to become a Prince Charming, a man who is such a darling when around ladies. In order to do this, all you need is to understand the following transformative tips.

BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER

Listening in communication is as much important as talking. There are two types of listening and if you want to be a good communicator, you have to be very good in one of these. The two types are active listening and passive hearing. To be charming and to build strong relationships, it’s important for one to master the art of active listening.

When we talk about active listening, we are talking about someone who listens with patience, who concentrates when listening and who is modest in his listening. Active listeners, therefore, are people who listen to understand first and foremost before they listen to respond. Patience is important so that you get the ‘verbal’ message being relayed and concentration is important so that you read the ‘non-verbal’ message being relayed.

Modesty is also important so that you let the other person talk with interrupting her even if you feel your person is being attacked.

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Go on as many dates as you want to horn your communication skills. Errors that you do on your first experience will be rectified on your second experience and so on and so on.
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MAKE TIME

They say experience is the best teacher and you know what, this is very true for those looking to learn the art of communicating better with ladies. You may read a lot of stuff online but if you do not practice what you are learning, then it’s safe to say you are wasting your time. In order to learn how to communicate better with ladies, you need to make time to ‘actually’ communicate with the ladies. Go on as many dates as you want to horn your communication skills. Errors that you do on your first experience will be rectified on your second experience and so on and so on. As you do that, you will realize that you are actually perfecting your communication skills from just communicating.

Married men can also make time to learn how to communicate better with their spouses. Rather than chatting about what kids want for the holidays or who is going to fetch groceries from the mall, you need to make time (an hour or two) every day where you just talk about different stuff not related to family life.

Even when you are involved in an argument, always make sure that you remain calm and composed and ensure that you always show her the caring side despite the circumstances.
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BE COMPASSIONATE

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When communicating, it’s important that you do not take any conversation as an argument in which one party has to lose and the other win. Communication is not about winners. Even when you are involved in an argument, always make sure that you remain calm and composed and ensure that you always show her the caring side despite the circumstances.

To learn more about communication skills with ladies, signup here.

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People who prefer casual sex still desire intimacy

Those who prefer sexual hookups to traditional relationships more likely to want affection.

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Casual sex among emerging adults can be a source of intimacy, and often is. This is according to a new study conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including Binghamton University faculty and researchers at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute.            

Intimacy through casual sex: Relational context of sexual activity and affectionate behaviors” – published in the Journal of Relationships Research –  was designed by Ann Merriwether of Binghamton University and Justin Garcia of the Kinsey Institute, and conducted with Sean Massey of Binghamton, Amanda Gesselman of the Kinsey Institute, and Susan Seibold-Simpson of SUNY Broome.

Researchers sent a voluntary online questionnaire to several hundred college students, and asked about their affectionate and intimate activities during sexual encounters in the contexts of both romantic relationships and casual sex hookups. The researchers found, as they expected, that partners were more likely to engage in affectionate and intimate activities in relationship sex than in casual sex– but the rate of these acts in casual sex was much higher than hypothesized.

Ann Merriwether, a developmental psychologist and lecturer at Binghamton, said casual sex is largely misinterpreted in today’s society.

“We have a stereotype that casual sex (hookups) are just about meaningless sex, but this research shows this is not necessarily true,” said Merriwether. “It shows intimacy is important and desired by many people, especially those who prefer hookups to more traditional relationships.”

Justin Garcia, research director of the Kinsey Institute and Ruth Halls associate professor of gender studies at Indiana University, said they’ve been working on the topic of casual sex for over 10 years with a focus on integrating concepts from evolutionary and gender theories of human behavior, and are conducting further studies as part of ongoing collaborations between researchers at the Kinsey Institute and Binghamton University.

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“We are continuing to explore dynamics of casual sex behavior, and how interpersonal factors like intimacy and demographic factors like gender and sexual orientation influence the motivations, experiences, and outcomes of sexual activity across different relationship contexts,” Garcia said.

The students were randomly selected from a university in the US Northeast and answered questions about whether or not they engage in affectionate and intimate acts during sex, including cuddling, spending the night, eye gazing, and engaging in foreplay. They also indicated which of these acts they preferred during casual (hookup) sex or sex in the context of a romantic relationship.

The researchers hypothesized women would report being more likely to engage in intimate acts in all scenarios. The information they found supported this hypothesis, but the data also showed many men were likely to engage in intimate acts as well, with no gender difference found in relation to engaging in foreplay or eye gazing.

The participants specified which type of sexual context they preferred: sex in a long-term relationship or in casual hookups. Study coauthor Sean Massey, a social psychologist and associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at Binghamton, said the team found results they had not anticipated.

“Young adults who indicated they prefer casual sexual encounters over relationship sex were more likely to want affection and intimacy from them,” said Massey. “This suggests they seek to meet their need for intimacy through those casual encounters.”

Massey hopes this study will help to eliminate some of the stigma that still surrounds casual sex and increase public understanding of uncommitted sexual encounters among college students and emerging adults.

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