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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 1920s, with the upsurge of automobiles and novel entertainment, such as movie theaters.

Today, sexual behavior outside of traditional committed romantic pair-bonds has become increasingly typical and socially acceptable (Bogle, 2007, 2008).

Influencing this shift in sexuality is popular culture.

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In a large Web-based study of 1,468 undergraduate students, participants reported a variety of consequences: 27.1 percent felt embarrassed, 24.7 percent reported emotional difficulties, 20.8 percent experienced loss of respect, and 10 percent reported difficulties with a steady partner (Lewis et al., 2011).

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.

Today's hook-up culture represents a marked shift in openness and acceptance of uncommitted sex.

Similarly, in a study of 832 college students, 26 percent of women and 50 percent of men reported feeling positive after a hookup, and 49 percent of women and 26 percent of men reported a negative reaction (the remainders for each sex had a mix of both positive and negative reactions; Owen et al., 2010).

However, both sexes also experience some negative affect as well.

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

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