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 2009 film "Hooking Up," for example, details the chaotic romantic and sexual lives of adolescent characters.
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).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., 2005).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.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.Another film, "No Strings Attached," released in 2011, features two friends negotiating a sexual, yet nonromantic, component of their relationship.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.However, these encounters often transpire without any promise of — or desire for — a more traditional romantic relationship.In this article, we review the literature on sexual hookups and consider the research on the psychological consequences of casual sex.