Earlier this year, two football players at Vanderbilt University went to trial for charges of rape and sexual assault of a Vandy coed. Both players were 19 at the time of the incident.
During the trial it was learned that the young woman had passed out drunk. The two young men also were quite intoxicated.
In making a defense for the players’ deplorable behavior, their lawyers explained that their clients were “too drunk to know what they were doing.” They tried to excuse the players’ behavior because they now live in a new culture of binge drinking and liberal, promiscuous sex. They blamed it on the modern, hookup culture. It as if they were arguing that this is what is happening on college campuses today, and, therefore, their clients should be absolved of guilt.
The players were found guilty and are likely to spend ten to fifteen years in prison.
Many social scientists are beginning to wonder what type of impact the hookup culture will have on students who are participating in it. Will it have an impact on their future relationships and their future sex life? How is it impacting college life?
In the best-selling book, The End of Sex, Dr. Donna Freitas, after interviewing 2,500 college students about the hookup culture, discovered just how sad and unhappy they are about hooking up. They all fear that it will rob them of healthy, fulfilling, sexual relationships in the future. In Freitas’s own words, “At its very worst, hooking up make students feel miserable and abused, and some students claimed that all it took was a hookup gone wrong, and your college experience could be ruined – that one night could make or break your life at college for good.
So many of the students regret the missed opportunities of relationships that could have been.
She goes on to say:
On a personal level, most of these same students didn’t want to be thought of merely as someone to have sex with after a night of drunken partying, or someone to walk away from without a care. Men and women both spoke of how they wanted to be made to feel special, to experience what it was like when someone else wanted to know everything about them. They yearned for someone to make an effort to create a beautiful setting in which such knowing and being known could occur, for someone who would set aside lavish amounts of time for this to take place. That women and men harbor secret wishes for what appear to be the old-fashioned trappings of romance seems symptomatic of hookup culture’s failings. What they want is everything that hookup culture leaves out. The hookup is not liberating at all if what young men and women really want is to go out on dates.
Another major problem that no one talks much about is sexually transmitted diseases. When I was in college, there were fewer than a handful of sexually transmitted diseases. Today there are at least twenty-five.
Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist in the UCLA Health Service, reports in one study that 43% of college coeds who went in for their yearly exam were notified that they have HPV (human papillomavirus), otherwise known as genital warts, which can cause certain cancers. She wonders who so many students, who have generally been through sex education programs and have heard about the importance of practicing safe sex, end up with HPV. Although student health services across the country work frequently to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, the surge in STDs is due largely to the reckless hookup culture.
Grossman goes on to say that HPV is so common and contagious in the college population that most young women are infected after having sex with only one or two partners. She points out to all young college women in particular, “You’d be wise to simply assume that your sexual partners have HPV infection.”
Finally, one of my great concerns is how pornography is impacting the minds and souls of our students.
As one counselor told me, “pornography is the 500 pound gorilla in the world of addictions. It is easy to access, easy to hide, and very difficult to stop once it has taken hold of your life. Furthermore, it can have devastating effects on your relationships and your future sex life.
Pornography can easily help a person to escape from real life and all of its pain, but it creates all types of problems, many of which evolve slowly so that you never see them coming until they are quite serious. The most alarming consequence is that it causes sexual desire and functioning difficulties, and it often shapes one’s sexual interests in destructive ways.
I recently had a woman tell me of a young couple whom she knows. They were recently married, and both of them were virgins on their wedding night. However, on the first night of their honeymoon, the husband could not perform sexually. He confided that he had been hooked on porn for years. I do not know how this story ended, but what a devastating blow this must have been to each of them as individuals and, more importantly, to them as a newly-unified couple.
(Next week will be my last post on this subject. We will consider what God had in mind when he gave us our sexuality.)