Online dating (or Internet dating) is a system that enables people to find and introduce themselves to new personal connections over the Internet , usually with the goal of developing personal, romantic, or sexual relationships. Individuals occasionally consent to engage in a sexual act but do not necessarily want sex ( Peterson & Muehlenhard, 2007 ). In a sample of 178 college students, participants noted that a majority of their unwanted sex occurred in the context of hookups: 77.8% during a hookup, 13.9% in an ongoing relationship, and 8.3% on a date ( Flack et al., 2007 ). Similarly, in a sample of 761 women students, approximately 50% of women reported at least one experience of unwanted sex ( Hill, Garcia, & Geher, 2012 ). Of those women, 70% experienced unwanted sex in the context of a hookup and 57% in the context of a committed romantic relationship ( Hill et al., 2012 ). Even more worrisome, a proportion of hookups also involve nonconsensual sex.
Across gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, nearly all adult Americans experience sexual activity, including sex beyond the context of a marital union ( Finer, 2007 ; Garcia & Kruger, 2010 ; Herbenick et al., 2010 ). It is important to note that uncommitted sex and one-night stands have been studied outside the current hookup culture” frame ( Boswell & Spade, 1996 ; Cates, 1991 ; Hatfield et al., in press ; Maticka-Tyndale, 1991 ). Uncommitted sexual encounters became a topic of particular scientific interest beginning in the mid 20th century ( Ellis, 1958 ; Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948 ; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953 ), and especially during the sexual liberation period of the 1960s and 1970s ( Altman, 1971 , 1982 ). Attention to causal sexual encounters among men who have sex with men also emerged as an area of study during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s until today.
Sexually reproducing organisms pay many costs, including the time, energy, and resources spent in finding and attracting mates—tasks that are unnecessary for asexual reproducers ( Daly, 1978 ). Offsetting the costs of sexual reproduction in large-bodied organisms is the benefit sexual reproduction provides against easy colonization by parasites and pathogens ( Van Valen, 1973 ). Sexual reproduction scrambles up genes, creating genotypes that are novel environments and forcing the parasites and pathogens to begin anew in their quest to exploit the host.
Last, the cross-cultural data provide a unique understanding of sexual behavior and romantic attachments; some societies engage in sex for pleasure and others for procreation (see Hatfield & Rapson, 2005 ; Gray & Garcia, 2013 ). Westernized culture often views sex as something for pleasure and fun (despite the frequency of behavioral patterns such as using the sexual missionary” position and reduced uberhorny.com review female sexual stimulation), which dramatically influences our sexual perceptions, purposes, and pleasures ( Hatfield & Rapson, 2005 ; Gray & Garcia, 2013 ).
Further, the findings that a majority of both men and women are motivated to engage in hookups, but often desire a more romantic relationship, is also consistent with a more nuanced evolutionary biopsychosocial perspective that takes into account social context and the cross-cultural and biological centrality of the pair-bond ( Fisher, 1992 ; Jankowiak & Fischer, 1992 ; Pedersen et al., 2011 ; Gray & Garcia, 2013 ). Hookups, although increasingly socially acceptable, may leave more strings” than public discourse would suggest.
Hookups may be characterized as a form of casual sex” or uncommitted sexual encounter.” Hatfield, Hutchison, Bensman, Young, and Rapson (in press) define casual sex as outside of a ‘formal’ relationship (dating, marriage, etc.), without a ‘traditional’ reason (such as love, procreation, or commitment) for doing so” (p. 3). Paul, McManus, and Hayes (2000) omitted the possibility of hooking up with previous partners or friends, by defining a hookup as a sexual encounter, usually only lasting one night, between two people who are strangers or brief acquaintances.