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Episode 134: Sex Nerd Sandra
Casual Sex with Dr. Zhana…

Sex Nerd Sandra #135: Casual Sex with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS? Sex Researcher and Developmental Psychologist Dr. Zhana Vrangalova geeks out on casual sex’s effect on mental health. Facts are presented, myths are busted and she sets us straight on whether someone must always gets hurt. PLUS BONUS SEX DUNGEON STORY! Sandra drags a vanilla friend to a kinky theme park. Feelings ensue. TOPICS: Casual Fling, Early Warning Signs, Tiny Breakups, Mental Health Factors, Defining it, F*** Buddies, The Romantic Continuum, Commitment, Positive vs Negative Reactions, Emotional Well Being, Authenticity, Safety, Reasoning, Pleasure, Drunk Hook-ups, Bonding Science, Social Stigma, Self Esteem, Doing it Well, College Dating Shifts, Swingers, Jerks, Pleasure Gap Research, Slut Shaming, Women’s Sexual Pleasure, Orientation Influences on Hook Ups, and SO MUCH DATA.


Zhana Vrangalova is a sex researcher who studies how various expressions of sexuality (particularly casual sex, promiscuity, and nonheterosexuality) are related to psychological health and wellbeing.


She holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University. She is currently an adjunct instructor at New York University and soon-to-be a post-doc at the National Development and Research Institutes in New York. She tweets daily about the latest sex research studies published in academic journals and blogs bi-weekly about the science of casual sex on Psychology Today.

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  1. Muse says:

    I was the manager at the Crucible that night. I’m really glad to hear you had a good time with us. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you have if you’re not clear on the rules. We’re even a lot nicer about it than the rush hour commuters.

    Pony Play tends to take up some space, but we have a lot of pony players and puppies at Camp. We’re actually doing a whole Rope Academy at Camp Crucible this year.

    The Dungeon Monitors you saw are out some nights, and we do try and keep it safe and comfortable for people with our volunteers.

    Anyway, glad you had fun at our place, and we’re happy to have you back, with or without your friend :).

  2. Fiddle says:

    I’m happy to say I was one of the DMs the night you visited the Crucible. Come back often! Always happy to help people be safe. And please introduce yourself to the DMs next time, we can provide some insights from what we observe.

  3. Jonathan says:

    This episode was freaking epic! Thank you!

  4. ROAD TRIP !
    As the owner and designer of the Crucible, I can’t tell you how psyched I was to hear your glowing review of our little kinky nitch in our nation’s capital. You’re more than welcome to come back any time. Oh, and BTW, if you’re looking for Pony Play, try our camp event. It’s 9 days long, and has as huge pony play aspect ~

  5. DCEdninja says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to the Crucible (I was the guy setting people on fire). I’m sorry I missed Catalyst Con this year.

    Next time your in town contact me and I’ll get you back in the Crucible.

  6. kaykay says:

    And by the way, I am a huge fan of the Sex Nerd Sandra podcasts,
    it’s just that i would have loved to see various people discussing such an interesting and multi- layered topic.

    kaykay love 🙂

  7. kaykay says:

    Maybe I haven’t phrased my comment in a clear way.
    I meant that there are many other different angles to be taken into consideration , to come to an all encompassing conclusion about casual sex.

  8. RD says:

    @kay I’m still not quite sure what you think is misinformative – the findings discussed in the podcast were given with the information that most of the studies were performed on college students. The conclusions of the studies aren’t meant to be indisputable or absolute, and this podcast isn’t designed to be a lecture, it’s a discussion of the studies and results thereof.

    Nice links by the way.

  9. kaykay says:

    Taking college students, who barely know anything about their sexuality and who are just starting out with their sexual exploration,
    as the example from which we draw all our conlusions about casual sex ,doesn’t seem to be the most convincing method in finding out about people’s attitudes towards it. Taking for granted that they don’t lie about their feelings and desires, when female sexuality is still being harshly judged and shamed and when female orgasms seem to be considered a great plus, rather than a birth right seems to be problematic.

  10. That’s a big accusation without any details. Thank you for linking to another podcast. I would appreciate some time code or other specifics to help me find support for your perspective.