I have written a new book that has just been published by Union Hill Publishing. The title is Sex at First Sight: Understanding the Modern Hookup Culture.
I find that many adults are not familiar with the word hookup. It is a description of the new perspective of sex that young people, particularly college students, have embraced.
A hookup is simply when two people accept and participate in casual sexual encounters that focus only on physical pleasure. The act involves no type of relational commitment or emotional bonding. In most colleges today, sex has become another form of recreation that you fit into your schedule – study at the library, workout with Paul, hook up with Jennifer.
Hooking up has now become the norm as students have learned merely to treat each other as objects that exist for the sole pleasure of providing pleasure for each other.
My first thoughts of writing this book began several years ago after hearing a speech by an Ivy League rugby coach. He was talking about relationships and at a certain point said, “If you were to listen to my players talk about their sex lives, you would think they are participating in a double X-rated movie.” Then he said, “I am afraid we are going to lose this next generation of kids.” I am not exactly sure what he meant when he said “lose” them, but I shuddered. I have three children in this very generation.
So if you are wondering why a sixty year-old man would write this book, I guess you can say that I wrote it for my children and their generation.
One of the most enlightening truths provided by my research is that when human beings deviate from God’s plan for sexuality, it has a devastating impact on a culture.
Andy Stanley points out how most of the major social problems in America are caused by or fueled by the misuse of our sexuality. Think of the consequence of teen pregnancy, addiction to pornography, AIDS and all other sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, the psychological and physical effects associated with rape, sexual abuse, incest, and all of the other sexual addictions. And then most significantly, when you include adultery which often leads to divorce and the breakup of the family, you can see how out-of-control sex can have far-reaching, damaging consequences to our society.
Stanley then asks a great question: If we could eliminate all of these sex-related social ills from our society, imagine the resources we would have available to apply to the handful of issues that would remain.
I also stumbled upon a most interesting study. In 1934 prominent scholar J. D. Unwin published a book entitled Sex and Culture. Unwin had spent many years closely studying eighty-six different civilizations. His findings startled many people, including Unwin himself, as all eighty-six demonstrated a direct tie between absolute heterosexual monogamy and the “expansive energy” of civilization. In other words, sexual fidelity was the single most important predictor of a society’s ascendancy and strength.
Unwin had no religious convictions and applied no moral judgment. “I offer no opinion about rightness or wrongness.” Nevertheless, he had to conclude, “In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a completely new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial sexual restraint.” Clearly civilizations flourish when they demonstrate premarital sexual restraint and faithfulness and fidelity in marriage. For Roman, Greek, Sumerian, Moorish, Babylonian, and Anglo-Saxon civilizations, Unwin had hundreds of years of history to draw upon, and he found no exceptions. These societies flourished culturally and geographically, during eras that valued sexual fidelity. Inevitably, sexual standards would loosen, and the societies would subsequently decline, only to rise again when they returned to the more rigid sexual standards.
Unwin seemed at a loss to explain the pattern. “If you ask me why this is so, I reply that I do not know. No scientist does . . . You can describe the process and observe it, but you cannot explain it.”
Philip Yancey, after reading Unwin’s book says:
Unwin preached a message that few people want to hear. Without realizing it, though, Unwin may have subtly edged toward a Christian view of sexuality from which modern society has badly strayed. For the Christian, sex is not an end in itself, but rather a gift from God. Like such gifts, it must be stewarded according to God’s rules, not ours.
Christianity teaches that there is a divinely established moral order, and that we as human beings just can’t decide for ourselves what is moral. When we choose to defy God’s moral order, there is a price that we pay.
If a culture or civilization is no more than a composition of thousands or millions of families, it would stand to reason that each family’s teaching and treatment of sex is an important ingredient in, not just the family’s foundation, but also in the foundation of the larger civilization. With Sex at First Sight I am hoping to transform and strengthen young people, their families, and our larger culture.