My Take: There’s nothing brief about a hookup
May 31st, 2011
11:58 AM ET

My Take: There’s nothing brief about a hookup

Editor's Note: Dannah Gresh is author of What Are You Waiting For? The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex.

By Dannah Gresh, Special to CNN

Recent studies have revealed some good news in the sex culture among college co-eds: there are more virgins among them now than was the case a few years ago.

These days, 29% of females and 27% of males between ages 15 and 24 claim to be virgins, up from 22% of both sexes in 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But among the college students who aren’t abstaining, we’re seeing more sex, thanks to casual hookups. According to recent research from Stanford University, the majority of college co-eds are still having sex, with an average 9.7 sexual partners for men and 7.1 for women.

Thankfully, we have more scientific information about casual sex than our parents did when they drove their Volkswagen buses to Woodstock for a dose of the sexual revolution. They wanted to think—as many of those cruising along the New Millennium highway still do—that we can engage in the act of sex without the emotion.

"Emma wants a relationship without the relationship. She just wants the sex,” actress Natalie Portman said of her role in the recent movie "No Strings Attached." “…I’m tired of seeing girls who want to get married all the time and that's all they're interested in. I think there is a wider vision of how women can conduct their lives and what they want."

Sounds so easy.

Just like the hippie culture found a pill that conveniently removed the “inconvenience” of pregnancy, today’s hookup culture believes it has found a recipe for removing the inconvenience of emotion: friends with benefits.

Scientifically, though, that’s impossible. We know that thanks to what neuroscientists have learned about a walnut-sized mass in the brain called the deep limbic system.

The deep limbic system stores and classifies odor, music, symbols and memory. In other words, it’s a place for romance, capable of processing a splash of cologne on your lover’s neck, a particular iPod playlist or a bouquet of red roses.

The brain chemicals associated with romance and sex wash over the deep limbic system during a wide variety of sexual experiences, according to research from the Medical Institute for Sexual Health.

Holding hands, embracing, a gentle massage and, most powerfully, the act of sexual intercourse work together to create a cocktail of chemicals that records such experiences deep into the emotional center of your brain.

It’s why we remember sexual experiences and images so clearly.

One of the critical neurochemicals released during sex is dopamine. Dopamine makes you feel good; it creates a sense of peace and pleasure. Anytime your body experiences pleasure, whether it’s good for you (working out) or bad (doing crystal meth), the limbic system gets washed in dopamine.

In essence, it is a “craving” chemical. It makes you want more. It creates addiction. Dopamine attaches you emotionally to the source of pleasure.

Another critical sex hormone is oxytocin, the subject of recent books like "The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love." The chemical is released during sexual expression. A tiny dose is downloaded during intimate skin-to-skin contact; a much bigger dose is released during orgasm.

In fact, the only other time as much oxytocin is released as during orgasm is when a mother is breastfeeding her baby. The mother feels its release and is bonded to her child, and the baby’s brain learns for the first time to enter into relationship by connection. I’d say the chemical’s job is to bond us for life.

The knowledge of sexual bonding is nothing new.

“Do you know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?” the apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament. “Do you know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’”

Christian author Lauren Winner translates those verses this way: “Don’t you know that when you sleep with someone your body makes a promise whether you do or not?”

The bottom line is that you get “addicted” and “bonded” to the people you have sex with, even if they are “just friends.”

That helps explain why Stanford sex researcher Paula England has said that “Some people are hooking up a bunch of times with the same person but are not calling it a relationship.” Maybe these people are not as unattached to their “friends” as they would like to think.

Here’s where the hookup culture starts to be a problem. What happens if you get caught up in the friends-with-benefits-game and have multiple partners? What happens when the partners you’ve become addicted and bonded to are gone?

You experience withdrawal symptoms in the emotional center of the brain.

Young women, especially, are likely to spiral into a depression when the source of their addiction isn’t interested in another hookup. A 2003 study from the conservative Heritage Foundation found that 25.3% of sexually active teenage girls experienced depression, compared to 7.7% of sexually abstinent girls.

The study found that 14.3% of sexually active girls attempted suicide, compared to 5.1% of their virgin peers.

And when a person graduates from the hookup scene and tries to have an intimate relationship with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with, things can get complicated.

There are already a lot of other people he or she will be addicted to, and that creates more chaos for the exhilarating but challenging task of building a life of intimacy together. The Kinsey Institute notes that one of the five factors that predict infidelity in a relationship is “having had a high number of prior sex partners.”

Casual sex is happening. We shouldn’t ignore it. That’s especially true of the faith community. But when we talk about it, we should use science. There’s nothing biologically brief about a hookup.

In the interest of full disclosure, my motivation here is my Christian faith. I believe sex to be an incredible gift from God, meant to transcend the physical to discover something emotional and spiritual with another person.

But since my faith may alienate some of you from my message, I ask you not to think too hard about religious differences. Stick to the facts.

The good news is that we are seeing an ever-so-small rise in the number of young people choosing abstinence.

What are they waiting for? Some mind-blowing pleasure and an incredible intimacy–without all the baggage of a broken heart.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dannah Gresh.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Sex • Sexuality

soundoff (846 Responses)
  1. Wendy Crane

    This is a great article regardless of what you believe. I only wish I had had this kind of information and someone who was brave enough to talk to me more about the consequences of my choices while I was growing up. Great job Dannah!

    June 1, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • SeanNJ

      I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that if someone had talked to you, you wouldn't have listened.

      June 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  2. craighurst

    Dannah, thank you for posting this. This is the kind of stuff that needs to be discussed by Christians and non-Christians alike because it is true regardless of your religion.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  3. Kurt

    The Virgin Mary was abstinent and look what happened to her.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • tyrone2.2

      She actually wasn't a virgin. Biblical scholars attest that the word in its original translation simply meant young. So, a lot of that mythology has to be rewritten.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  4. Adelina

    Present secular Americans are not the true descendants of former Americans who cultivated and formed USA. They are incapable of understanding their fathers and mothers even in 60's. The land of America should belong to some other people, not the secular Americans.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • myweightinwords

      You have an interesting view of America, Adelina. Wrong in many, many ways, but interesting.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • gozer

      so glad America does not belong to idiots like AddledBrain Adelina.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Adelina

      I mean, "their fathers and their mothers of 60's." I'm not good with English prepositions and articles. Sorry. Americans, I love you. It's just that if you are too stupid, you'll find yourself kicked out of your land next morning. So take heed and listen to the church like a good civilized person would do.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Maybe those "outsiders" who came in can smell the rotten things much more then the ones whose noses have been accustomed to the smell, and got disensitized to it!

      June 1, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Adelina

      @My-, don't you watch CNN international news? My opinion is nothing peculiar! We have very strange people on earth REALLY hating America! I was very busy defending USA when I used to be able to comment there! But it's a fact you guys are new species who cannot understand even your own parents' generations. Close to Sodomites. Read Rev. Martin Luther King to retrieve some sanity. This happens all because you guys try to make sense out of America without using Christianity.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Adelina

      Yes, Prism. Sometimes I wonder how a normal Christian person is surviving the American society... I hope ordinary Americans are more normal than the American news and Hollywood movies. No wonder some nations think America must be destroyed or subdued. American Christians need to be more vocal to show the world America has some normal human beings.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Adelina: You win. You've beaten me into submission with your giant stick of stupidity. Well played.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Actualy Sean, Adelina has not displayed trates of "stupidity"! There are some here who have, but it's not worth pointing the finger.... But to say what you said about her, it just reveals things about you...

      June 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • tyrone2.2

      "Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law." – Thomas Jefferson

      June 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • Adelina

      Thomas Jefferson didn't know what he was saying. He must have been another denier of Americans being from Britain. Ignorance is a bliss for a president or for a people for some time.

      June 2, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • Frogist

      @Adelina: "if you are too stupid, you'll find yourself kicked out of your land next morning." What a wonderful sense of manifest destiny you have.

      June 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  5. Guest

    As a teen in the demographic discussed above, I find this hard to believe.
    I have had a number of "casual hookups" as you called them yet I am
    hardly addicted to any of them. I'm am in contact with very few of these
    people and hardly felt depressed or lonely when the hookup was finished.
    Also as a female, I view this simply as a desperate attempt by the christian church trying to justify
    it's out of date standards and rules

    June 1, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Jude G.

      Yep, you might be the exception. Also, note your life is not over yet, plenty of time remaining to experience a severe depression that may or may not have something to do with your lifestyle.

      June 1, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Brian

      my, aren't you grown up and independent.

      June 1, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Adelina

      Christian church always teaches good, upright and wise things. Rebellious kids are stupid and ruin their lives.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • Lisa

      I thought like you when I was a teenager. It happened when I got married. The guilt of my past relationships hindered my relationship with my new husband. Yes, though you may deny it right now, you do think of these people, and they are forever connected to you.
      ONe thing that changed me was when I had a daughter. I didn't want her to behave the way I had as a teenager (I still don't). I hope you find more value in who you are, that you don't have to live a life like this. You are worth waiting for, and even though you have given yourself to others, it's not to late to decide now to wait for the one who's willing to wait for you.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I'm 42, so I don't think anyone can say I feel the way I do because I'm too young to know better.

      I have had a number of casual hook ups in my life. I have friends with benefits. There is no addiction. There's mutual agreement that hey, we both need something, why not give each other a hand?

      Currently, I don't have room in my life for a "life long relationship" and it isn't something I desire. And, as a woman, I don't see anything wrong with getting my needs met, whether I do it on my own or with a friend.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • PRISM 1234


      It is in human nature to su-pp-ress things that are down deep inside of us.... The secret , hidden things that are deep inside your p-s-y-che will surface at some point in your life, unless they are dealt with, and you be healed.
      The e-pid-emic of depression among women in this country is ski-rac-ke-ting, and there is a co-nection between it , and the proje-ct-ion of society's wiew of them, and lifestyles they have allowed themselves to fall into and/or has been imposed on them, either by being all-ured into by false expectati-ons, or by circ-um-stances they find tehmselves in, and feel tra-pped by them....
      You see, the promise that fighters for "Women's Liberation" heralded decades ago was a bag full of lies, baited by some valid truths... But when there are lies mixed with truth, it is always the case that what is rotten ultimately will corrupt what is good, unless the rotten is exposed and dealt with.....

      Just take a look at the picture above this article. ....What does it portray... do you know? There is so much amiss in or modern world... l but it is because people are rejec-ting the wisdom of ages past, thinking they have outgrown it... And now the results are showing, as they will also in your life, if you do not come to the One who alone can heal your soul!

      June 1, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • civiloutside

      Those of you condescending to Guest for "thinking she's the exception," I'd like to point out a fact about the statistic that seems to be getting overlooked. The percentage of "active" women reporting depression, while higher than those of the "abstinent" population, is still only 25.3%. In other words, it's the unhappy women who are the exception. Guest's experience is the *majority* experience by a fairly wide margin.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • myweightinwords


      What lies? Women and men alike suffer from depression, and yes it has reached epidemic proportions, most likely because we are a country of workaholics and stressed out people with too much pressure, not enough vacation time and a grim financial picture. Add to that the chemicals in our food, in our water, the pills we take to cure one thing only to cause another and on and on.

      It isn't because we get more s-e-x or because we're "liberated".

      June 1, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      "What lies? "
      The ones by which you keep on deceiving yourself... But you can't bury them forever, friend! They will surface sooner of later, and stare you in the face!

      June 1, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • myweightinwords


      Your response says nothing. If you expect to engage in a reasonable conversation you need to be more clear.

      What specifically do you mean?

      June 1, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      If the things I've written in my previous comments are a riddle to you, how would any of further explanation speak to you more? I suggest then that you read them again and think about them.... I really don't expect to engage with everyone in reasonable conversation, because I am painfully aware that many people can not do that, for lack of understanding. Conversation is like a building a structure, if the bricks don't fit, you don't use them, since building with them would be futile......

      June 1, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Evelynda

      II"m also in the 75% majority who have felt no depression or sense of loss from casual hook-ups. In fact, they provide some of my fondest memories.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Guest: Enjoy your life and don't let these fearmongers deter you. You have found a part of yourself others are just too scared to deal with. Rejoice in that! No one should make you feel guilty because your way is different from theirs.

      June 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      " Enjoy your life and don't let these fearmongers deter you. You have found a part of yourself others are just too scared to deal with. Rejoice in that! No one should make you feel guilty because your way is different from theirs."

      Yeah, Guest, that's exactly what the the Father Of Lies is telling you to keep you exactly where you are, and where he wants you : in the grip of his hand...... But of all subtle lies he has schemed up and sold to gullible mankind , the chief one is that he doesn't even exist ! Yet, he has plenty of his faithful servants who are busy doing his work, being deceived themselves, they do his will, speaking for him – as the words above from this poster are evident....
      But this is an old story, which goes to the dawn of creation....
      Yet, the great thing is, even in the confusion of many voices that are out there, we human beings have been given the ability to KNOW the difference between truth and lies, and it is imprinted on our consciences. We have also been given the free will to choose which path we will follow.... And whose voices we follow, it will determine the outcome of our destination . That's where the heart of the issue lies!

      June 3, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  6. ellenodonnell34

    So, now we faithful are called to accept all the science they have denied for centuries – or is it just science created by a think-tank with our agenda at heart? I implore all fellow Christians, as well as followers of Christ, to accept the science of evolution, lest we be seen as hypocritical. i, too, am skeptical of why feeling emotion is a bad thing. Research shows that, on a day-to-day basis, mothers are far less happy than people without children. But, the peaks of happiness are far higher when they do happen. Sounds similar. Does the author propose people stop being mothers, so as to avoid depression and lackluster days?

    June 1, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Jude G.

      Really? Our moms (yes, yours and mine) would disagree. Ok, even if they were less happy than most single women that wouldn't be a scientific sample. Seriously, which study(ies), are you referring to? I'm open to check it out.

      I'm leaving you with this question anyway: What's happiness anyway?


      June 1, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • Adelina

      Happiness for hedonists is dung. Hedonists don't deserve happiness that's why you don't have it.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • tyrone2.2

      It's very true.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Frogist

      @ellen: You can add that since incidents of post partum depression also occur to new mothers maybe motherhood is a bad thing. That's the logic the author uses and it's useless.

      June 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  7. Reality

    The dangers of casual or non-casual se-x if you do not practice safe s-ex: PREGNANCY/ABORTION AND/OR ST-Ds

    For those who partake some statistics of epidemic proportions:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (S-TDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with S-TDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from: http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/20/yes-o-ral-se-x-is-se-x-and-it-can-boost-cancer-risk/?npt=NP1

    "Yes, o-ral se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens: O-ral se-x carries many of the same risks as v-a-ginal s-ex, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of o-ral cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 'se-x.'"

    And this: "CON-TRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE (Guttmacher Insti-tute data)

    Cont-raceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002

    Method........ No. of users (in 000s)........ % of users
    Pill ..................11,661 .................. 30.6
    Male condom ...6,841................... 18.0 "

    The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (

    i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
    x 62 million (# child bearing women)
    x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
    x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =

    1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
    during the first year of pill use.

    (And the abortion rate in the US is? 1,000,000/year)

    For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)

    1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

    The Gut-tmacher Inst-itute notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
    (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

    o Conclusion: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male con-dom have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or con-doms properly and/or use other safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs

    May 31, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  8. joey

    sounds like you just have more liars.

    May 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  9. Wanda

    I'm so glad to see stuff like this on a major news site. It's such good material that young people and their parents need to be aware of. As for the naysayers about the study she cites, it doesn't really matter if the study was funded by a Christian organization or not. The facts of the study remain and facts don't lie.

    May 31, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Once you've reached the age of consent, your parents have no business in your s-ex life.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  10. Adelina

    Waiting itself shapes dreams and character beatifully. Play-boys and play-girls never get the best of human life including the imm-ense sense of wonders that could be brought only by suffering from doing what is right and honorable. Animal-like humans only have animal life.

    May 31, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Aww... I think we're seeing Adelina's romantic side...

      June 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  11. Adelina

    What a young man needs is an adventurous world with one maiden who keeps her purity and waits for him alone. What a young woman needs is a man of character and of compotence and courage who will give his life to protect her and brings her into a new wonder world. Casual s-e-x destroys every sense of meaning and honor and value.

    May 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Mary

      And he develops his compotence [sic] by banging all the women that she gets to look down on for the rest of her life. Even though they were essential to building her throne. Nice!

      June 1, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • Adelina

      Mary, one man for one woman. One woman for one man. For life. No ands, no buts.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  12. Joanne

    Despite what everyone may say, I can't agree with you any more. It saddens me to see a lot of my peers hook up with people and they end up being so broken. I personally believe that people should treat their bodies like holy temples, and it breaks my heart to see so many girls give their bodies to boys they hardly know.

    May 31, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Yes, Joanne, what you said is so right! The way of those who have rejected and silenced he voices of their consciences in which God put His laws to guide them, leads to death! God has put certain knowledge of right and wrong in every human heart. But when mankind rejects His laws, they are left to their own devices, and the consequences of them....

      Every time one desecrates his/ her body and cheapens it by using it to gratify it's car-nal drives(lusts), something within this person dies. That' s why their view of what love is becomes warped, and their relationships are built on sinking sand, because they have lost the capability to really love someone. But even if they find someone thy really could love, their relationship is so polluted, that they can't normally function, and sustain that relationship.
      Tha t is what our God-less culture has created. It is only reflection of the condition our society is in. Your comment is a gem of truth, and no, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS, because it is the truth. And Truth DOES NOT depend on any man's opinions!

      June 1, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Anyone that participates in a "casual hookup" and comes out broken clearly expected something more from the relation-ship and did not communicate clearly with their partner.

      If both people are open and honest about what they expect, what they want and what they do not want, there is no cause for harm.

      But honesty is hard sometimes, and women, in particular, often think that slee-ping with a guy they really like will change the guy's mind about being with them in a more com-plete way. That's totally on the woman and has nothing to do with the s-e-x.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Frogist

      @Joanne: "it breaks my heart to see so many girls give their bodies to boys they hardly know."
      But it doesn't break your heart to see so many boys give their bodies away?
      I am sincerely tired of the double standard that places men as conquering heroes whose se-xual morality is infallible, while women are either victims of being duped into "giving their bodies away" or harlots who dared to do the taking. Not only is it completely erroneous, but it sets men and women on opposite sides of some social battlefield. Either we agree that men and women are completely responsible for their own se-xual selves and both are equally victorious. Or neither is responsible and are equally tarnished. We cannot have it both ways!
      Understand, I'm not targeting you, Joanne. I just think that these discussions of celibacy are unfairly aimed at young women or girls who dare to step beyond that invisible line in the sand of se-xual conformity and get stomped on over and over again. It's either defer to the demure, virgin, princess image, no matter how careful or honest or smart you are about what you want. OR have the wrath of society hurled at you for making choices that are appropriate for your needs. Men suffer not nearly the consequences women do socially and I feel that's perpetuated by the implication of comments like "it breaks my heart to see so many girls give their bodies to boys they hardly know."
      Again, I have nothing against you personally, Joanne. I just cannot stand the still ingrained double-standard that lingers in our society.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  13. HeavenSent

    Heaven won't even send me a brief hookup.


    May 31, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      You said "I DRINK MY PEE, let's get party!"

      Somehow I believe you do!

      June 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  14. Laurie

    It seems to me that the author of this article genuinely cares about young people and is trying to warn them that there are emotional consequences ahead for the indulgences they choose for themselves, or fall into, now. Look at the gaff she's taking in the process, the personal attacks and derision. I think she's one brave woman, and I'm betting she'll stand her ground. We'll be hearing more from her–count on it.

    May 31, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • dfca

      I agree. It amazes me how harsh some of these comments are. It's one thing to respectfully debate but to attach the author is ridiculous. I've read several of her books and I know that she just wants the best for others.

      May 31, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Tammy

      Amen Laurie!

      May 31, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Tina

      I think the problem here is that she takes her own beliefs (completely valid and respectable for her own choices) and presumes to generalize them onto others as a whole. She also does this without ever stopping to think that the experiences and cultural positioning of others might be different than hers. Where I come from, we call that stereotyping, and thoughtful people strive to avoid or work past it.

      June 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Artist


      I think the problem here is that she takes her own beliefs (completely valid and respectable for her own choices) and presumes to generalize them onto others as a whole. She also does this without ever stopping to think that the experiences and cultural positioning of others might be different than hers. Where I come from, we call that stereotyping, and thoughtful people strive to avoid or work past it.
      Translation she has issues and I am guessing she is quite lame.

      June 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  15. Craig

    When citing the study, the author seems to be completely ignoring the distinction between correlation and causation. Without that consideration, the "facts" the author cites aren't helpful.

    May 31, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Improv

      *blink* If the study was wide enough and/or corrected for other factors then it could very well be argued that promiscuity was the cause of depression in these young people. Certainly the biological evidence is compelling.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  16. chimerstry

    Dear Ms. Gresh,

    I admire your desire to engage in fact-based discussions of this topic. I think that it's a view that is rare in this topic. We should take science into account as well as personal beliefs. It's an admirable endeavor.

    However, I think your selection of facts needs a little work. In particular, the study from Heritage Foundation may have been published in 2003, but it uses data collected in 1996. That'd be in the open paragraph of "Data Sources and Methods" It took them several years to get their study edited and published, as is common in science. You are drawing conclusions about today's society using the observations which are 15 years removed.

    More recent data should be publicly available through PubMed Central. I hope you can find more recent articles, to help you further your discussion and your knowledge.

    A librarian

    May 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  17. Karisa

    Thank you, Dannah, for articulating well one of the many reasons I have chosen to remain abstinent until marriage.

    May 31, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Jack

      This article actually completely misrepresents the neurobiological basis of addiction. I don't know whether or not this author knew she was completely misrepresenting the facts, but she has clearly mislead many readers. Addiction does not work in the way that she implies, and it is a shame that this article is even on CNN. It is one thing to state opinions, and it is another to misrepresent facts. Do some research on this subject. I think you will find it is much more interesting and complicated than this article conveys.

      May 31, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      It's easy to be abstinent when you're ugly.


      May 31, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • chestah13

      @ Jack, please explain what those misinterpreted facts are, otherwise your claim is no more foundational than you think Ms. Gresh's is.

      May 31, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Tom Tom Piper's Son

      I'm 45 yrs. old, divorced 4'9" tall, 216lbs, measures 44, 45, 43, ugly and never been laid for more than half of my life, a water phobic that taking a bath would bring me fever and an Atheist.

      June 1, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Frogist

      @HeavenSent: That was particularly mean.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  18. farside6262

    Yes, a study from the conservative (understatement) Heritage Foundation found a higher rate of depression among young women who were not virgins...well, duh.
    Did anyone bother to ask if we were comparing Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm to some molested child from the inner city?

    May 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  19. Angela

    It's very sad and disappointing to see an article on CNN so imbibed with prejudice, bias, and uncritical thinking.

    May 31, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • farside6262

      Well, it is in the "religion" section. What would you expect?

      May 31, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  20. bobincal

    The prevalence of genital herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection is greater than 20% among adults in the United States.[1] According to the recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, among race and gender is 20% in white women, 15% in white men, 55% in black women, and 35% in black men. It is incurable and can be spread without symptoms. Asymptomatic Shedding is the release of the virus on the skin when there are no symptoms.

    May 31, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.