By now, you should know how important it is to save your syntax in SPSS. Well, despite your best efforts, sometimes accidents happen. The last couple of summers, I did data management for a longitudinal study of college students’ sexual behaviors. Once, after I hit a flow state and didn’t look up from my computer for hours, my stomach’s aggressive growling jerked me back to reality. Adhering to my policy never to work when hungry, I decided to close my SPSS file and have some lunch. But when SPSS prompted me to save my syntax, my hypoglycemic brain directed my fingers to click “don’t save.” I noticed what I was doing a split second before I clicked the wrong button, but it was already too late! My last four hours of work were gone. Or were they? (They weren’t.)
Between the time we hit puberty and the time many of us get married, we engage in a variety of sexual relationships and experiences. These experiences nurture skills that enable us to effectively choose and interact with our partners. Research focusing on romantic relationships has found that participating in romantic relationships helps us grow in a number of ways, including:
The skills that romantic relationships foster (Collins, Welsh, & Furman, 2009; Davila, Steinberg, Miller, Stroud, Starr, & Yoneda, 2009; Davila, Stroud, Miller, & Steinberg, 2007) help shape the long-term committed relationships that many people have as adults. However, romantic relationships are certainly not the exclusive context in which people develop sexual and interpersonal competencies. Many individuals participate in casual sexual experiences like hooking up and friends with benefits. How might these experiences also shape our development?