Full course description
About the Course
Sexual “hookups", or uncommitted sexual encounters, have become progressively more engrained in popular culture, reflecting both evolved sexual predilections and changing social and sexual scripts. Hookup activities may include a wide range of sexual behaviors. These encounters generally transpire without any promise of a more traditional romantic relationship, although our research shows that relationships sometimes occur and greater intimacy is sometimes desired. A review of the scientific literature suggests that sexual hookups are increasingly normative among adolescents and young adults in North America, representing a marked attitudinal shift in openness and acceptance of uncommitted sex. Various forms of uncommitted or “casual” sexual activity have been identified, from hook-ups to friends with benefits, and the last decade has witnessed an abundance of research on the topic of casual sex. This research has focused on the context of sexual activity between individuals not in a romantic relationship, and examined associations with individual differences including psychological traits, mental health outcomes including depression and self-esteem, alcohol and other drug use, condom use, and gendered social stigma resulting from engaging in uncommitted sexual behavior. We suggest that researchers and clinicians must consider the contemporary popular cultural climate in which (casual) sexual activities occur, in order to develop a comprehensive and synergistic biopsychosocial view of young people’s romantic and sexual lives.
The Kinsey Institute is a certified CE sponsor for the American Psychological Association. For questions related to the content in this course, please email KinseyCE@indiana.edu. Include the name of the course in the subject line of your message.
- Discuss stigma associated with engaging in sexual activity outside a committed relationship
- Distinguish between attitudes toward and actual experiences with sexual “hook up” behaviors, particularly among emerging/young adults
- Describe the psychological and social effects of sexual hookups, including desire for intimacy, relational aspects, and satisfaction.
- Explain research studies on associations between sexual hookups and psychological wellbeing, including self-esteem and depression, and risk-taking including alcohol and other drug use.
- Examine evidence for associations between casual sex behavior and nonconsensual sexual experiences, including sexual assault.
Meet the Instructor
Justin Garcia, MS, PhD is the Research Director and an Associate Research Scientist at the Kinsey Institute and the Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. His research program focuses on the evolutionary and biocultural foundations of romantic and sexual relationships across the life course. He is also Co-Chair of the Interdepartmental Graduate Committee on Human Sexuality, which directs the PhD minor in Human Sexuality. In addition, he is adjunct faculty with the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, and holds affiliate faculty appointments with the IU Network Science Institute and the Cognitive Science program at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he is also a Research Fellow with the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention in the School of Public Health – Bloomington. Since 2010, Garcia serves as Scientific Advisor to Match.com. In this role, Garcia provides expertise to Singles in America (SIA) , the online dating company's annual study on the attitudes and behaviors of single people in the United States.