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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.
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.
Hookups are becoming more engrained in popular culture, reflecting both evolved sexual predilections and changing social and sexual scripts.
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The media have become a source of sex education, filled with often inaccurate portrayals of sexuality (Kunkel et al., 2005).
The themes of books, plots of movies and television shows, and lyrics of numerous songs all demonstrate a permissive sexuality among consumers.
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.
In a large Web-based study of 1,468 undergraduate students, participants reported a variety of consequences: 27.1 percent felt embarrassed, 24.7 percent reported emotional difficulties, 20.8 percent experienced loss of respect, and 10 percent reported difficulties with a steady partner (Lewis et al., 2011).
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.