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).
However, this same study found that feelings differed during hookups compared with after: During a typical hookup, 65 percent of participants reported feeling good, aroused, or excited, 17 percent desirable or wanted, 17 percent nothing in particular or were focused on the hookup, 8 percent embarrassed or regretful, 7 percent nervous or scared, 6 percent confused, and 5 percent proud (Paul & Hayes, 2002).
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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 number of studies have looked at regret with respect to hookups and have documented the negative feelings men and women may feel after casual sex.
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).
Today's hook-up culture represents a marked shift in openness and acceptance of uncommitted sex.
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 1960s, 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.
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.