It is probably not surprising to learn that a hookup culture of casual sex exists on college campuses. What might be shocking are three discoveries made by sociologist Donna Freitas in her groundbreaking research and book Sex & the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses (Oxford University Press). After many years of surveying and interviewing college students, here’s what she learned: First, most students don’t want to participate in the hookup culture, but feel pressured to for lack of an alternative. Second, while many students identify themselves as “spiritual,” their spirituality has very little influence on their sexuality. Third, even though most students are frustrated and have been hurt by the hookup culture, they have very few places to openly discuss their concerns.
Freitas also interviewed students at evangelical colleges. While the hookup culture was not as prevalent, students still felt like they had limited ways to discuss sexuality on campus. There was intense pressure to be engaged before graduation (“ring by spring”) and students who were in sexual relationships didn’t have many people with whom they could confide. Freitas concludes, “The prevailing religious message about sex among students is either to guard purity with one’s life or to see sex as irrelevant to one’s spiritual practices and religious commitments.”
Because we must address this sobering sexual reality, I spoke with college ministry veteran Mindy Meier, author of Sex and Dating: Questions You Wish You Had Answers To (Intervarsity Press), about Freitas and her research…
Download the full interview (.pdf) here.View comments