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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.Garcia and others have noted that the "past decade has witnessed an explosion in interest in the topic of hookups, both scientifically and in the popular media.The term "hooking up," meaning an instance of casual sex, differs from hook up culture.

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.

It is hard to make sense of the hookup culture with understanding why it exists in society and why individuals participate in the culture.

For 50-plus types unwilling to walk — possibly rewalk — the path that leads to romance, rings and relocation, the prospect of a "friend with benefits" is looking less and less like a millennial indulgence.

After all, it gets awfully lonely waiting around for "the one." Perhaps you've decided that what you need at this point in your life is someone to talk to and laugh with — someone with whom you can share the sheets, but not the tax refund.

Sixty-something sexologist Joan Price, for one, endorses "gray hookups," but with a couple of strong caveats: The people involved must be emotionally capable of handling their status as noncommitted bed partners, and they must protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.

In a national study conducted in 2012, the Center for Sexual Health Promotion found sex partners over 50 twice as likely to use a condom when they regarded a sexual encounter as casual rather than as part of an ongoing relationship.

The next morning (or even that night) come the recriminations: Was it wrong to give that person the sexual green light when you had no intention of rekindling the emotional side of the relationship?

Marilyn, a 57-year-old single colleague of mine, recently reconnected with someone she had worked with many years ago. "No," Marilyn said with a laugh, "it's better than that: I'm in like with him — and that's exactly where I want to be." She further confided that they planned to make their reunions "a regular thing — if four times a year can be called 'regular.' But I think that's about all I really want." Marilyn's casual approach to maintaining a friendship with benefits typifies the mindset of older folks who have reconciled themselves to having "great fun" even if it's "just one of those things." And episodic pleasure-seeking may be more common than you think: In The Normal Bar, a book I wrote last year with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, we reported that 61 percent of female survey respondents who had partners fantasized about someone they had met.

Further evidence of Roving Eye Syndrome came from a study of sexuality in the United States commissioned by AARP in 2009: It found that 6 percent to 8 percent of singles age 50 and up were dating more than one person at a time.

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