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.
This feature will provide you with updates on critical developments in psychology, drawn from peer-reviewed literature and written by leading psychology experts.
"CE Corner" appears in the February 2012, April, July/August and November issues of the Monitor.
The media have become a source of sex education, filled with often inaccurate portrayals of sexuality (Kunkel et al., 2005).
The themes of books, plots of movies and television shows, and lyrics of numerous songs all demonstrate a permissive sexuality among consumers.
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).
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.
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.
In one study, among participants who were asked to characterize the morning after a hookup, 82 percent of men and 57 percent of women were generally glad they had done it (Garcia & Reiber, 2008).