Your Take: Rethinking the hookup culture
June 1st, 2011
01:02 PM ET

Your Take: Rethinking the hookup culture

On Tuesday we featured a guest My Take from Christian author Dannah Gresh: There’s nothing brief about a hookup.

Gresh encourages young people to abstain from sex because of her religious values but also presented a neuroscientific case against casual sex:

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.

There was plenty of discussion about the post, which has fetched more than 600 comments so far. Here's a sampling:

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.

I think she really overreaches with her conclusions, and it's her faith that leads her to do it. The idea that you will have difficulty forming a bond with your eventual life partner because you are actively addicted to a number of previous partners at the same time is utterly ridiculous. I had about 10-12 partners before I met my wife and we have been happily married for 21 years. I have fond memories of my life before I met my wife and wouldn't change anything (except for a few mistakes on my part). My wife and I have had no problem "bonding" emotionally or otherwise.

Excellent article. The more we look the more we find that science and actual life experience reinforces the plan that God set in motion.

I appreciate the author's honest "full disclosure" and while I'm sure that causes the article to be biased, I do not feel that it discredits it.

This is a your mileage may vary thing, from my experience and observation.

I'm at the point where I'm not looking for random hookups, but I do love each of my partners. Yes, partners.

I can't be with each one all the time, based on our different life situations. But I do want to talk each one of them, chat with each one of them about their day, their hobbies, political views, etc. I want to hold hands with each one of them, spend quiet time with each, and be with each one whenever it's possible. And they want the same things with me.

I also know people for whom there is "the one" that they've found and they're happy.

So what do you do when it's too late to be abstinent?? I agree that some people are able to have random hookups and not feel attached, I know many people that have. I am not one of those people. I have had some random hook ups too but I always felt guilty or just regretted it after, either because I was hoping it would lead to at least dating for a while or just because I wish I hadn't done it to begin with. What are people like me supposed to do now that it's too late???

I don't see anything wrong with two consenting people engaging in some fun with "no strings attached". Unfortunately, most college kids are woefully unprepared for what the college environment is like. We don't prepare them for the level of freedom and indulgence they experience. I've had my own phase of random hookups and the sad reality is that someone always ends up getting hurt, either me or my partner. I wish I could communicate to younger people that ultimately, it really isn't worth the heartache.

Thanks for the comments. Feel free to keep the conversation going here or in the original post.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith & Health • Sex • Teens • Trends • United States

soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. SocialScienceWriter

    A critique of Gresh's editorial, written by a group of relationship researchers from different universities. http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/home/2011/6/3/our-take-on-theres-nothing-brief-about-a-hookup-the-devil-is.html

    June 5, 2011 at 6:44 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ SocialScienceWriter

      If D. Gresh never wrote the article, and if no one ever dared to raise their voices about devastating consequences our society is suffering because of pro-mis-cuity, immorality and se-x-ual perversions practiced in our midst... if none of them ever spoke out, it would be still an undeniable fact!
      The website you referred to is no less bias then what they accuse Gresh to be....

      The bottom line is, it DOES NOT matter how many studies are and have been sponsored, and how many 'experts' are paid to do them... Our society, our people are hurting, and their lives ARE forever altered BECAUSE they have been sold a lie, and like a dumb herd of sheep, have swallowed it hoo-k line and sinker! It looks like so have you!

      The trends prevalent in our society, and the consequences so many are suffering on count of lifestyles they have allowed themselves to fall into, are clear evidence that what Ms. Gresh wrote, is the truth.
      But the reason she is being rejected by so many is because she is openly professing her Christian faith. I am co-nvinced based on my many observations, that so many of those who have hatred for Jesus Christ and for anyone who professes faith in Him, would rather drink a cup of po-ison served to them, then take one that would help them, from someone who professes Jesus Christ! ....And that's exactly what they are doing, literally, taking po-ison that's slowly killing them! ....But in spite of it, that's the kind of sentiment they have!

      Therefore, it is no brainer that they will fight with anything they find available to discredit those who are speaking the truth....So, the rest is NOT hard to guess!

      P.S.This post was a response (in part) by me to another poster, on related blog, but it was fitting to post it again as a response to your post.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  2. PRISM 1234

    It is a grieving thing to read comments of people whose posts reflect just how deep have they have sunk . If people only knew where the road they're on leads them!

    What does this generation of people have to offer to to their posterity?
    If the people like those whose posts we read here, are the ones whose views, teachings and counsel our children will inherit, what will their destiny end up to be?
    There is a book named "The Epidemic" written by Robert Shaw M.D. It didn't make a best seller, but the reason "why" is even more THE REASON to take to heart what it says!
    This book is NOT for cowards! And although it's theme is directed toward parenting our children, it reveals the underlying problem of rottenness of our culture...
    If something does not drastically change,.... if people that make up our culture do not take it to heart, our enemies will not have to come here to attack us. We will destroy ourselves!

    June 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  3. Jon

    Of course friends with benefits have an emotional bond - albeit weaker than between people who are dating. That's why its called "friends" with benefits and not strangers with benefits.

    June 2, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  4. holycow

    Se-x is no big deal unless you're not getting any.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:59 am |
  5. Reality

    The Hammer:

    The dangers of casual/hookup se-x or non-casual se-x/marriage if you do not practice safe s-ex: PREGNANCIES/ ABORTIONS AND/OR ST-Ds

    For those who partake some science and 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 STDs.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  6. jabba the hut

    I've not had any bad experiences. I've even made good friends this way. No joke. My best female friend began as brief hookup in Hawaii and now we have an incredible platonic relationship.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  7. Tim

    I don't care how much you preach against copulating outside of marriage and/or monogamy. My guess is that "Christian women" will still seduce me.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  8. frank

    Celibacy causes rickets!

    June 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  9. James Black


    June 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  10. Carlito Swagger

    I'm 21 and had three partners in my life and all three weren't worth my time. Therefore, I have become celibate until marriage

    June 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Peace2All

      So... are we to take from your posting that 'they' (the 3 partners) weren't good enough somehow for you...?

      Not a very big sampling, relatively speaking.

      Is it possible that, maybe you were, hmmm... 'doing' something wrong...?


      June 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Ian

      Let's see. What's the common factor here?

      June 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Eric

      I'd like to ask the group if anyone thinks having a 4" length is necessarily a bad thing? Not that I've had tons of women (well, I had one that was about a ton) but no ones ever complained to me, or at least not to my face. I did hear some snickering when one of my ladies went to the bathroom and made a phone call – – I thought she was calling over one of her friends for a three some, but I guess I was wrong. She said she has another "date" and she had to leave. I told her that I was a man of substance and had enough to satisfy her friends. I guess she didn't believe me.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • JohnR

      Something that has always bothered me: Why is the diminutive of 'Carlos' 'Carlito' and not "Carlitos" or "Carlosito"? It's ... just ... not ... RIGHT!!!!!!

      June 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
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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.