These developmental shifts, Garcia's systematic review of the literature suggests, is one of the factors driving the increase in hookups, a "popular cultural change that has infiltrated the lives of emerging adults throughout the Western world." The review shows that hookups are becoming increasingly normative among young adults and adolescents in North America and have taken root throughout the Western world, which represents a notable shift in how casual sex is perceived and accepted.

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'When teenagers fool around before they're ready or have a very casual attitude toward sex, they proceed toward adulthood with a lack of understanding about intimacy.'" Nationally, women now outnumber men in college enrollment by 4 to 3, leading some researchers to argue that the gender imbalance fosters a culture of hooking up because men, as the minority and limiting factor, hold more power in the sexual marketplace and use it to pursue their preference of casual sex over long-term relationships.

One study has found that the strongest predictor of hookup behavior was previous experience hooking up.

Self-esteem is also an indicator: men with high self-esteem and women with low self-esteem are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, but hookups are less likely among both genders when they have high self-esteem.

Most predictors among males and females rarely differ.

On the other hand, hook up culture is thought to be oppressive and monolithic, with intimacy only occurring within a specific context.

Jennifer Aubrey and Siobhan Smith have found that between genders there are minimal differences when it comes to behavior and frequency in hookups; on the other hand, women still face a harder social stigma, on account of the fact that their social status decreases with increased sexual partners, while men's social status increases with more sexual partners. Currier, she explores how the phrase "hooking up" conveys different meanings depending on whether a man or woman uses it when describing their sexual encounters; furthermore, Currier notes that men use "hooking up" to emphasize their masculinity and heterosexuality whereas women use the phrase to preserve their femininity by being strategically ambiguous in order to downplay their sexual desires.Some people worry that if society disconnects intimate sexual behavior and emotional connection that teens who hook up will have trouble forming relationships later in life.Journalist Sabrina Weill asserts that "casual teen attitudes toward sex — particularly oral sex — reflect their confusion about what is normal behavior," and adds that they "are facing an intimacy crisis that could haunt them in future relationships.People are marrying and beginning families at ages later than previous generations while becoming sexually mature at an earlier age.As a result, Garcia and other scholars argue that young adults are able to reproduce physiologically but are not psychologically or socially ready to 'settle down' and begin a family.Research on hookups is not seated within a singular disciplinary sphere; it sits at the crossroads of theoretical and empirical ideas drawn from a diverse range of fields, including psychology, anthropology, sociology, biology, medicine, and public health." The hookup culture is vaguely defined due to a variety of perspectives taken on this subject related human sexuality.