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.

This feature will provide you with updates on critical developments in psychology, drawn from peer-reviewed literature and written by leading psychology experts.

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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.

This is consistent with the view of emerging adulthood (typical college age) as a period of developmental transition (Arnett, 2000), exploring and internalizing sexuality and romantic intimacy, now including hookups (Stinson, 2010).

Although much of the current research has been done on college campuses, among younger adolescents, 70 percent of sexually active 12- to 21-year-olds reported having had uncommitted sex within the last year (Grello et al., 2003).

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.

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.

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.

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).