Monday, October 10, 2011

Jesuit Asks, "Does Hooking Up Work?"

University Jesuit asks students ‘does hooking up work?’

College students have heard umpteen lectures and presentations on the phenomena known as the hook up culture. A hook up is a sexual encounter anywhere along the continuum from kissing to oral sex to intercourse. The fact that, for some, oral sex is as normal and common as a good night kiss still amazes people my age.

The key meaning to a “hook up” is that there are no expectations of the often drunken bump and grind developing any further. A hook up is not “just kissing.” Do it and done: that’s the deal. Don’t call me. Don’t look at me at meals or at Mass. What we did then stays then.

But is this true? Can “what happens on the hill, stay on the hill” or does the reality make an appearance in classrooms and dorms? Does the reality and do the aftereffects last for days, even years?

People are inherently real. There are no “take backs” to our freely chosen actions. What we do “echoes for eternity,” as Russell Crowe said in Gladiator. You will always be connected to those with whom you swap spit. Give an STD or STI(does calling it an STI make it any less diseased or deadly?) to someone and that person will remember you forever. Remember Herpes: the gift that keeps on giving.

More importantly, I ask young adults: Does the practice of engaging in multiple “hook ups” work? Will a man or woman who had multiple sexual partners make a good husband or wife? Is hooking up good training for life?

There’s an old saying in Jesuit circles: We form our habits and our habits form us. Those whose sexual practices militate against fidelity, monogamy and meaning during their late teen and young adult years will not easily settle down once they marry in their late 20s or early 30s.

Tiger Woods wasn’t able to turn off the hook up game after he married, and now his wife and kids and golf game are all suffering. John Edwards will never be president, largely because he couldn’t say “No” to a videographer. And does any young woman really want to grow up and become Snooki or Chelsea Handler?

John Van Epp writes in “U.S. Catholic” that the marriages of those who wed in their early twenties are often more stable than those who marry later. Teen marriage divorce rates are high, but those who choose and commit in their early 20s often last. Van Epp cites a study done by Tim Heaton, who found that those who settle down early, don’t play around and don’t cohabitate are more likely to find longevity and happiness in their marriage.

“Furthermore, there may actually be increased risks associated with delaying marriage to the end of your 20s or into your 30s. For instance, waiting to get married often leads to more premarital sex, premarital cohabitation, and premarital births, which are all associated with higher rates of marital instability. In addition, there is a smaller selection pool as you reach your early 30s (by age 30, 75 percent of the population are married). At that point, the chances of achieving a quality relationship lower because of the difficulty with finding a suitable partner,” Van Epp wrote.

Van Epp argues that what happens in one relationship carries over into other relationships.
“[W]hat occurs in relationships, no matter how insignificant, carries some measure of influence on you, the way you think and what you take into your next relationship,” Van Epp said.
As scripture says, in what is both an encouragement and a warning, “You reap what you sow.”

Research has shown that what most people really want is to find one person and settle down for life. No one desires divorce. We are made to connect and commit (animals may be promiscuous, and that is one of the reasons we call them animals and not human). Animals cannot choose freely, be moral or practice justice.

Hook ups preclude the formation of loving and life giving relationships and therefore are inherently unjust. Hooking up often doesn’t even result in good sex. Hooks ups are mostly horny, alcohol soaked bodies engaging more in mutual masturbation than in true love making.
We need to learn how to love. Our culture and society need to practice reconciliation, the putting back together of that which is broken by sinfulness, selfishness and enslavement.

Sex is like dynamite. Used wisely and well, our sexual powers make for liberty, love and life. Used indiscriminately and stupidly, sex explodes and destroys those who use and abuse one another.

Our souls are imprinted by our choices. “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities,” Dumbledore told Harry.

Find the courage and wisdom to choose what is sane, moral and just. Avoid the insanity and destructiveness of the hook up culture. Strive to be real. Real men and real women form real relationships, long and life lasting unions that lead to faith in one another and God. Don’t be afraid. Have the courage to choose love and life. Your kids will thank you.

Commentary By
REV. Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph. D.
Jesuit Community

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Blogger Garrett said...

Great post. Very true in my life in every aspect.

Tue Oct 18, 01:10:00 PM 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to explain what it was like for me while I was in high school and college and the dating world so you could better understand what and how people act.

I have seriously dated nine women. I have had one one-night-stand. It was a mistake on several levels and very stupid, at least to me.

Of the nine relationships I had before I met, dated, and married my wife, I genuinely believed at the time I was dating them that I loved them, and I think I did. Those nine relationships were monogamous until two of them cheated on me toward the end of the relationships. And not to make myself out to be some kind of angel, I had my part to play in the sadness and arguments and pain at the end of all of my relationships.

I look back on those relationships and am thankful for them, the good and the bad. The bad parts helped me to grow and to learn what I really wanted in a lover and a friend and a mate for life.

Before I met my wife my life was a disaster. I did not want the kind of casual relationships that some of my friends were having and I was lonely, but I also did not want to date someone just because I was lonely. My friends told me that I was lonely because I was picky. I agreed with them completely. This did not prevent me from occasionally kissing someone on the occasional date or out with a bunch of a people in a bar or nightclub, hoping that this person could be a good match for me as a girlfriend and maybe even a wife.

I thank God that I met and married my wife and that I have two great children. We are trying to raise them in the Catholic faith, which means we do not get to Church that often.

We are also very displeased with the Church on its stands on homosexuality. I grew up with a man that said he always knew he was gay and I have seen that person truly love and be monogamous with another man, another human being. If God is love, then how could he not have been present to them?

We are also deeply disturbed by the entire pedophilia scandals with having our families having known people who have suffered from these tragedies, with one of them ending in a suicide. But we still think the Church is good, and in my view it is a little broken, just like the people who comprise it.

Tue Oct 18, 01:11:00 PM 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, as you say so clearly in this article "People are inherently real." So real, in fact, that we do actually feel lonely and in need of contact with another human being, even if the affection shown is only for a moment. I truly wish we could all be saints and choose to do only what God would want for us; however, we are human. We have both the emotional and the physical needs that GOD gave us. Is it ideal to "hook up"? Hell no. But I, being the God-created, inherently real creature that I am, sometimes get overwhelmed by loneliness....the need for affection. So every once in a while I find myself making the un-ideal choice to hook up. It happens. It sucks, but it happens. I won't hate myself or make apologies for it. I don't see how that serves God, either. It also seems unfair to make blanket statements about "habits". Being single is not a "habit", it's a circumstance. And furthermore, it's not necessarily even a desired circumstance. I pray to God everyday to find my life partner, my spouse. Unfortunately, God hasn't seen fit to answer my prayers quite yet. Until then...I'll continue to pray, try to avoid "hook up" situations, and try not to hate myself if I succumb to my human-ness (as the author of this article seems to want). I'll also continue to hope that God can still love me, inherently real as I am.

Tue Oct 18, 02:43:00 PM 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I agree with you that multiple relationships is not a good thing I must say that it does not doom that person to a lifetime of failed relationships or make them a worse husband or wife. I had a series of dysfuntional and short term relationships in my teens and early twenties. I have been married for over 25 years now.

Tue Oct 18, 06:01:00 PM 2011  
Blogger dp001 said...

Taking guidance from a priest on sexuality is too much like asking a vegan to teach me how to grill a steak.

The term "hook up" and the tawdry word play of "mutual masturbation" cheapens the sincere state of mind of those of us who believed that "this partner" was the one.

Human sexuality is complex and life-altering. The guilt of poor decisions of intimacy is more than a moral hangover - it is a chronic sense of failure and foolishness that drives people into the darkest depths of guilt.

It is poor form to insult those who give themselves to another sexually. Using the logic of this article, two good Catholics who love each other and have every intention of getting married should break it off in shame and "get thee to a nunnery".

Tue Oct 18, 11:05:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Ryan O'Connor said...

Not a bad article, but it was obvious by paragraph 4 what the conclusion was. I would of appreciated a more in-depth look at the other article for why this "might" work. At least be honest and take a good look at why people are doing this, not just bash people over the head that what they are doing is "wrong".

Thu Oct 20, 04:47:00 AM 2011  
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