With more emerging adults having casual sex, researchers are exploring psychological consequences of such encounters. Garcia, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Indiana University, Bloomington; and Chris Reiber, Sean G. Merriwether, Binghamton University, State University of New York February 2013, Vol 44, No.
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In this article, we review the literature on sexual hookups and consider the research on the psychological consequences of casual sex.
This is a transdisciplinary literature review that draws on the evidence and theoretical tensions between evolutionary theoretical models and sociocultural theory.
It suggests that these encounters are becoming increasingly normative among adolescents and young adults in North America and can best be understood from a biopsychosocial perspective.
Today's hook-up culture represents a marked shift in openness and acceptance of uncommitted sex.
This is consistent with the view of emerging adulthood (typical college age) as a period of developmental transition (Arnett, 2000), exploring and internalizing sexuality and romantic intimacy, now including hookups (Stinson, 2010).
Although much of the current research has been done on college campuses, among younger adolescents, 70 percent of sexually active 12- to 21-year-olds reported having had uncommitted sex within the last year (Grello et al., 2003).
The media suggest that uncommitted sex, or hookups, can be both physically and emotionally enjoyable and occur without "strings." The 2009 film "Hooking Up," for example, details the chaotic romantic and sexual lives of adolescent characters.
Another film, "No Strings Attached," released in 2011, features two friends negotiating a sexual, yet nonromantic, component of their relationship.
Today, sexual behavior outside of traditional committed romantic pair-bonds has become increasingly typical and socially acceptable (Bogle, 2007, 2008).