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Help us improve your experience by providing feedback on this . With more emerging adults having casual sex, researchers are exploring psychological consequences of such encounters. By Justin R. Massey, and Ann M. This feature will provide you with updates on critical developments in psychology, drawn from peer-reviewed literature and written by leading psychology experts.

To earn CE credit, after you read this article, purchase the online exam. Upon successful completion of the test a score of 75 percent or higher , you can print your CE certificate immediately. For more information, call , ext. Purchase the online exam. It is an unprecedented time in the history of human sexuality.

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. Hook-up activities may include a wide range of sexual behaviors, such as kissing, oral sex and penetrative intercourse.

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. 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.

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 s, 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 s, 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.

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