by NeW summer intern Catie Verano, student at Hillsdale College
This week, the Online Book Club is discussing the conclusion of “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.”
During a lecture Freitas recently gave, a young woman asked,
“‘Why does sex have to be any different than, say, taking a walk by myself? What distinguishes sex from all the other things we do that aren’t such a big deal?”(181).
Apparently, no one could answer the question, but most thought that it was a big deal. Freitas encouraged her audience to consider what good sex was. What should it feel like? Who should it be with? What kind of setting is best? Most students had never considered these questions.
“The great irony of the hookup culture– whether pre-, during, or post-college– is that it’s ultimately a culture of repression. If the Victorian era represents the repression of sexual desire, then the era of the hookup is about the repression of romantic feeling, love, and sexual desire, too, in favor of greater access to sex– sex for the sake of sex” (182).
The hookup culture teaches men and women to be ashamed of their romantic longings and to hide these needs and desires. It stunts a man’s emotional maturity and hardens a woman’s heart. Both parties train themselves to be uncaring and distant after an act that naturally brings two people close.
But who is to blame for the rise and dominance of the hookup culture? Certainly we can accuse our society’s obsession with pop stars, television, technology, as well as the easy access to and abundance of pornography. However, the hookup culture is most prominent on college campuses.
Freitas suggests that one solution might be bringing a student’s everyday experiences into the classroom. As they discuss politics, philosophy, literature, etc., why not encourage them to draw from their own experiences and encourage the connection between critical thinking and critical living? Just as universities encourage pondering over questions like, “Who am I? What does it mean to be human? What is the good, the true, and the beautiful?” so should universities encourage students to examine their sex lives within their college experience.
1) Do you believe universities should consider discussing sex more openly in the classroom?
2) Why do you think there is a disconnect for many students between thinking critically in the classroom and thinking critically outside the classroom?
3) Are there any other ways we can decrease the hookup culture’s dominance on campus?