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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 February 2012, April, July/August and November issues of the Monitor.
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.
However, both sexes also experience some negative affect as well.
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.
In a qualitative study that asked 187 participants to report their feelings after a typical hookup, 35 percent reported feeling regretful or disappointed, 27 percent good or happy, 20 percent satisfied, 11 percent confused, 9 percent proud, 7 percent excited or nervous, 5 percent uncomfortable, and 2 percent desirable or wanted (Paul & Hayes, 2002).
However, this same study found that feelings differed during hookups compared with after: During a typical hookup, 65 percent of participants reported feeling good, aroused, or excited, 17 percent desirable or wanted, 17 percent nothing in particular or were focused on the hookup, 8 percent embarrassed or regretful, 7 percent nervous or scared, 6 percent confused, and 5 percent proud (Paul & Hayes, 2002).