A new study reports that–guess what–casual sex in college can be depressing.

Who knew?

The study, by researchers Catherine Grello and Deborah Welsh of the University of Tennessee and Melinda Harper of Queens University of Charlotte, and titled “No Strings Attached: The Nature of Casual Sex in College Students,” concludes that college-age women tend to feel more depressive symptoms after hook-ups than college-age men.

Here’s a report from the University of Illinois’s Daily Illini (hat tip: Snoring Scholar via Modestly Yours):

“The study found that 18 percent of women and three percent of men who participated in the study thought their most recent casual sex experience was “the beginning of a romance,” and this disparity, the authors said, could be the reason for the difference in depressive symptoms. The study’s sample included 404 undergraduate students in introductory psychology courses at a large public university in the southeastern United States. The study excluded the results from lesbian, gay and non-traditional students – those married or older than 21.”

The study also noted that casual sex more often occurs between “friend” (the quotes are in the study–those fabled “friends with benefits”) than between strangers. And the more casual sex a young woman has, the more likely she is to experience depressive symptoms.

As you might expect, the study is alreay being pooh-poohed by the sexual-liberation crowd:

“‘People should do what most fits with their values,’ said Debby Herbenick, a psychologist and lecturer at The Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana in Bloomington.

“Herbenick said she prefers to use the term ‘uncommitted sex’ rather than casual sex to describe the encounters in the study because it better describes the type of relationship people are engaged in.

“‘For some people, there are benefits,’ she said, adding that practicing communication and sexual skills may benefit people engaged in these kind of non-committed relationships.”

Ah, the Kinsey Institute. So objective. Yes, “uncommitted sex” might leave you depressed. But there’s a silver lining: you’ll be a lot more adept at “uncommitted sex.”