The End Of Sex
"The great irony of 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. Women and men both learn to shove their desires deep down
into a dark place, to be revealed to no one. They learn to be ashamed
if they long for love, and embarassed if they fail to uphold the
social contract and do not happen to enjoy no-strings-attached sex
Even though I don't officially work at the University, I find
that a lot of students talk to me about very personal matters:
relationships with families and significant others, faith, peer
pressure... Recently some have expressed discomfort with peer
pressure to hook up. This is something I was not really up on. Not
only did I attend college in the 20th century, but I graduated from a
Christian school where dancing was taboo. Additionally I do not watch
television which might keep me more up on trends. I was very glad
when Orono Public Library's new book shipment included Donna Freitas'
The End Of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy,
Sexually Unfilfilled, and Confused About Intimacy, in which I found
the above quote.
Freitas, herself, was unaware of the hookup culture until she
was teaching an undergraduate class. A student expressed
dissatisfaction with it and her fellow students agreed. They wanted
meaningfulness in sex and relationships and felt cheated by what they
saw as the social norm. They began to explore the issue with their
peers, even creating a newspaper for this purpose. Freitas wondered
if students at other universities shared these feelings.
Hooking up, according to Freitas has three componants. Sexual
intimacy happens. The act is brief time wise. It's meant to be
strictly physical, lacking in communication and attachment. The act
itself is not new. In my day some people had what we called one night
stands. What has changed is how it seems to have become acceptable to
the point where students who don't want to engage can be seen as
Fortunately Freitas does not speak from a moral majority
abstinence only perspective. She wants students to enjoy a wide range
of sexuality options and engage in ones that will help them find
fulfillment and feel good about themselves. For some busy students
not wanting to add commitment to the pressures of college life hookups
can work. But for many others the act itself and the pressure to act
like they're fine with it when they aren't can lead to isolation and
alienation. She uncovers some of the factors that contribute to
this. In two particularly revealing chapters she shows how the
stereotypes that accompany hookup culture don't do college women or
men any favors.
I would recommend this comprehensive yet highly readable book
to college students, parents, and all who are involved with student
campus life: deans, faculty, and residence life folks. The final
chapter includes some concrete steps that educational institutions can
On a personal note, Saturday, May 9, was a very special day for the
Hathaway family. Our Katie graduated from UMaine summa cum laude and
Amber's fiancée was awarded his masters. The ceremony was lovely. We
then had an extended family graduation party.
A great big shout out goes out to Katie and Brian. WAY TO GO!!!
We're all so proud of you!
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod