Research on the sexual behavior of young adults has documented a casual/regular partner distinction in terms of condom use and perceived risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). How this population distinguishes between the 2 partner types has not been known, making it impossible to assess the rationality of this strategy. In the present study, college students' conceptions of casual vs. regular partners were explored and used to create 3 sexual partner scenarios: casual, regular with insufficient risk information (regular emotionally safe), and regular with sufficient risk information (regular objectively safe). Participants rated the target partner in terms of emotional safety, AIDS/STD risk, and likelihood of condom use. Results showed participants to be blurring emotional with physical safety; i. e., employing an emotionally based strategy in rating perceived risk.