Hooking Up and Emerging Adults’ Relationship Attitudes and Expectations
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The dating landscape has changed markedly in recent years, with many emerging adults taking a less committed approach to relationships and sex (e.g., “hooking up”). Delayed marital transitions and declining rates of marriage have led to concerns that the rise of the “hookup culture” is associated with a devaluing of marriage. Previous research on associations between sexual attitudes or overall sexual experience and marital attitudes has produced inconsistent findings and is not representative of modern union formation and sexual norms. Using a sample of 248 emerging adults, we examined associations between engagement in casual sexual behavior (i.e., hooking up) and expectations for future committed relationships and marriage as well as attitudes toward current relationship involvement. Contrary to concerns about the devaluation of marriage, results indicated that level of engagement in hooking up was not associated with expectations for involvement in future committed relationships, including marriage. However, hooking up was associated with less favorable attitudes toward current relationship involvement. These findings suggest that engagement in hooking up is a time-specific behavior that aligns with the self-focused nature of emerging adulthood, rather than indicating a lack of interest in future committed relationships or marriage.
KeywordsCasual sex Hooking up Sexual behavior Romantic relationships Marital attitudes Emerging adulthood
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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