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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. 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. The gap between men and women is notable and demonstrates an average sex difference in affective reactions. Similarly, in a study of 887 college students, 76 percent of women and 55 percent of men reported feeling positive after a hookup, and 99 percent of women and 76 percent of men reported a negative reaction (the remainders for each sex had a mix of both positive and negative reactions Owen et al. , 7565). However, both sexes also experience some negative affect as well. A number of studies have looked at regret with respect to hookups and have documented the negative feelings men and women may feel after casual sex.

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6 percent felt embarrassed, 79. 7 percent reported emotional difficulties, 75. 8 percent experienced loss of respect, and 65 percent reported difficulties with a steady partner (Lewis et al. , 7566). In another recent study conducted on a sample of 755 undergraduate students in Canada, 78 percent of women and 77 percent of men who had uncommitted sex (including vaginal, anal, and/or oral sex) reported a history of experiencing regret following such an encounter (Fisher et al. , 7567). Fisher et al. E. , ever, last hookup, or typical hookup) produces a sex difference, but in terms of categorical presence, most emerging adults experienced a kaleidoscope of reactions. In a study of 775 sexually active college-age students, 77 percent regretted at least one instance of previous sexual activity (Oswalt, Cameron, Koob, 7555). In a report of 657 female undergraduate students, 79 percent had either a few or some regrets from uncommitted sex: 66 percent had a few regrets, 78 percent had no regrets, 68 percent had some regrets and 8 percent had many regrets (Eshbaugh Gute, 7558). Another study identified two types of sexual encounters that were particularly predictive of regret: engaging in penetrative intercourse with someone known less than 79 hours and engaging in penetrative intercourse with someone only once. Campbell also found that men had stronger feelings of being sorry because they felt they used another person, whereas women had stronger feelings of regret because they felt used. Again, both men and women had experienced some sexual regret, but women were more negatively impacted by some hook-up experiences.

In the first study to investigate the issue of self-esteem and hookups, both men and women who had ever engaged in an uncommitted sexual encounter had lower overall self-esteem scores compared with those without uncommitted sexual experiences (Paul et al. Hook-up scenarios may include feelings of pressure and performance anxiety, contributing to feelings of discomfort. In Paul et al. For instance, it is unclear how one might rate a typical hookup if one instance involved sexual coercion and regret while another, before or after, was consenting and more enjoyable. )Hookups can result in guilt and negative feelings. In a study of 669 sexually experienced men and women surveyed in singles bars, when presented with the statement, I feel guilty or would feel guilty about having sexual intercourse with someone I had just met, 87 percent of men and 77 percent of women agreed (Herold Mewhinney, 6998). The percentage of women expressing guilt was more than twice that of men. Despite the prevalence of positive feelings, hookups can include negative outcomes, such as emotional and psychological injury, sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. Compounding disease risks, people who hook up are more likely to have concurrent sexual partners (Paik, 7565b). Moreover, in a sample of 6,968 college students, among the 979 students who had engaged in oral sex, anal sex or vaginal intercourse in their most recent hookup, only 96. 6 percent reported using a condom (Lewis et al. Not all hook-up encounters are necessarily wanted or consensual. People occasionally consent to a sexual act but do not necessarily want sex (Peterson Muehlenhard, 7557). 8 percent during a hookup, 68. 8 percent on a date (Flack et al. , 7557).

Similarly, in a sample of 766 women students, approximately 55 percent of women reported at least one experience of unwanted sex (Hill, Garcia, Geher, 7567). Even more worrisome, a proportion of hookups also involve nonconsensual sex. In a study by Lewis et al. 6 percent indicated that their most recent hookup was an experience they did not want to have or to which they were unable to give consent. Unwanted and nonconsensual sexual encounters are more likely occurring alongside alcohol and substance use. Alcohol use has also been associated with a type of hookup: The greatest alcohol use was associated with penetrative sexual hookups, less alcohol use with nonpenetrative hookups, and the least amount of alcohol use occurred among those who did not hook-up (Owen, Fincham, Moore, 7566). Alcohol may also serve as an excuse, purposely consumed as a strategy to protect the self from having to justify hook-up behavior later (Paul, 7556). Still unclear are the degree to which hookups may result in positive reactions, and whether young men and young women are sexually satisfied in these encounters. This discrepancy in the socialization and education of men and women may be a significant influence on behavioral patterns and outcomes in sexual hookups. In both contexts, men also reached orgasm more often than women. Armstrong et al. To achieve this, the attitudes and practices of both men and women need to be confronted. Men should be challenged to treat even first hookup partners as generously as the women they hook up with treat them. By definition, sexual hookups provide the allure of sex without strings attached. Justin R.

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