Apparently the culture of casual sex hook ups and “friends with benefits” relationships now rampant on college campuses and elsewhere in American life isn’t living up to expectations.
In her book The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy, researcher Donna Freitas reveals that although she expected to find that the vast majority of college students revel in the casual sex ethos, “instead I encountered a large percentage who feel confined by it or ambivalent about it.”
Even more surprising, Freitas discovered, “Such hypersexuality can be just as oppressive as a mandate for abstinence.” She adds that hookup sex “has a lot less to do with excitement or attraction than with checking a box on a list of tasks, like homework or laundry.”
I’m not surprised that college students, or older generations for that matter, find such emotionally-uninvolved sex oppressive. Young people are often disappointed with early sexual experience that may be painful or even abusive and that will negatively affect their entire life. For one thing, we haven’t provided any meaningful education on sexuality, emotions, or intimacy.
We cram young heads with academics without giving them the skills for life. Freedom is the profound yet paradoxical privilege of our age. We can have sex with whomever we like, with almost as little judgment as there ever has been. Yet most of us know from experience that a genuine encounter with someone we care for deeply can be infinitely more exciting and pleasurable in its intensity than any casual sex.
Such intensity spirals from a fullness of feeling called intimacy that originates at the heart, and sexual energy is most potent when it expresses sincere affection and pure love.
Casual sex is a myth created to sell condoms, cologne and everything else. Even leaving aside the emotional mayhem that can arise from casual sexual encounters, promiscuous sampling turns sex into a shallow performance for the sake of spontaneity, fleeting and foolish at best.
While we’ve been conditioned to search for sexual excitement outside of ourselves, the quest more often than not ends up costing us that energy rather than giving it. In fact, no searching is required for sexual arousal. Like nature, sex is not sensational, just miraculous.