Sexual hookup culture: A review

  • Garcia J
  • Reiber C
  • Massey S
 et al. 
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"Hookups," or uncommitted sexual encounters, are becoming progressively 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. A review of the literature suggests that these encounters are becoming increasingly normative among adolescents and young adults in North America, representing a marked shift in openness and acceptance of uncommitted sex. We reviewed the current literature on sexual hookups and considered the multiple forces influencing hookup culture, using examples from popular culture to place hooking up in context. We argue that contemporary hookup culture is best understood as the convergence of evolutionary and social forces during the developmental period of emerging adulthood. We suggest that researchers must consider both evolutionary mechanisms and social processes, and be considerate of the contemporary popular cultural climate in which hookups occur, in order to provide a comprehensive and synergistic biopsychosocial view of "casual sex" among emerging adults today.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Hooking up
  • Hookup
  • Human sexuality
  • Mating strategies
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sexual scripts
  • casual sex

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  • Justin R. Garcia

  • Chris Reiber

  • Sean G. Massey

  • Ann M. Merriwether

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