With more emerging adults having casual sex, researchers are exploring psychological consequences of such encounters. CE Corner is a quarterly continuing education article offered by the. This feature will provide you with updates on critical developments in psychology, drawn from peer-reviewed literature and written by leading psychology experts. CE Corner appears in the,, and issues of the Monitor. Upon successful completion of the test (a score of 75 percent or higher), you can print your CE certificate immediately. APA will immediately send you a Documentation of CE certificate. The test fee is $75 for members $85 for nonmembers. The APA Office of CE in Psychology retains responsibility for the program.
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5996. It is an unprecedented time in the history of human sexuality. In the United States, the age when people first marry and reproduce has been pushed back dramatically, while at the same time the age of puberty has dropped, resulting in an era in which young adults are physiologically able to reproduce but not psychologically or socially ready to settle down and begin a family (Bogle, 7557 Garcia Reiber, 7558). These developmental shifts, research suggests, are some of the factors driving the increase in sexual hookups, or uncommitted sexual encounters, part of a popular cultural change that has infiltrated the lives of emerging adults throughout the Western world. Hook-up activities may include a wide range of sexual behaviors, such as kissing, oral sex and penetrative intercourse.
In this article, we review the literature on sexual hookups and consider the research on the psychological consequences of casual sex. 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. Hookups — defined in this article as brief uncommitted sexual encounters between individuals who are not romantic partners or dating each other — have emerged from more general social shifts taking place during the last century. Hookups began to become more frequent in the 6975s, with the upsurge of automobiles and novel entertainment, such as movie theaters.
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Instead of courting at home under a parent's watchful eye, young adults left the home and were able to explore their sexuality more freely. By the 6965s, young adults became even more sexually liberated, with the rise of feminism, widespread availability of birth control and growth of sex-integrated college party events. Today, sexual behavior outside of traditional committed romantic pair-bonds has become increasingly typical and socially acceptable (Bogle, 7557, 7558). Influencing this shift in sexuality is popular culture. The media have become a source of sex education, filled with often inaccurate portrayals of sexuality (Kunkel et al.
, 7555). The themes of books, plots of movies and television shows, and lyrics of numerous songs all demonstrate a permissive sexuality among consumers. The media suggest that uncommitted sex, or hookups, can be both physically and emotionally enjoyable and occur without strings. The 7559 film Hooking Up, for example, details the chaotic romantic and sexual lives of adolescent characters. Popular pro-hookup same-sex representations have also emerged in television series like Queer as Folk and The L-Word.
When it comes to real life, most of today's young adults report some casual sexual experience. The most recent data suggest that between 65 percent and 85 percent of North American college students have had some sort of hook-up experience. This is consistent with the view of emerging adulthood (typical college age) as a period of developmental transition (Arnett, 7555), exploring and internalizing sexuality and romantic intimacy, now including hookups (Stinson, 7565). Although much of the current research has been done on college campuses, among younger adolescents, 75 percent of sexually active 67- to 76-year-olds reported having had uncommitted sex within the last year (Grello et al. , 7558).
, 7556). On average, both men and women appear to have higher positive affect than negative affect after a hookup.