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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).
The themes of books, plots of movies and television shows, and lyrics of numerous songs all demonstrate a permissive sexuality among consumers.Similarly, in a sample of seventh, ninth and 11th graders, 32 percent of participants had experienced sexual intercourse and 61 percent of sexually experienced teenagers reported a sexual encounter outside a dating relationship; this represents approximately one-fifth of the entire sample (Manning et al., 2006).On average, both men and women appear to have higher positive affect than negative affect after a hookup.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.Another film, "No Strings Attached," released in 2011, features two friends negotiating a sexual, yet nonromantic, component of their relationship.