We’ve Been Sold a Lie


The idea that we should save physical intimacy for marriage, or even a committed, long-term, loving relationship, has long since given way to the promise of as much guilt free, casual sex as we desire.

The quaint, old notion that we should ‘save ourselves’ for one person comes from an era that encouraged sexual repression; a remnant of a time where we were expected to adopt someone else’s strict moral code. Welcome to the new order. Welcome to the ‘hook-up’ culture.

But is the ‘hook-up’ culture delivering on its promise?

Columnist Miranda Devine suggests that rather than providing the freedom it promised, the hook-up culture encourages “behaviours and attitudes that damage women, and threaten the health of society.”

And it’s not just Devine trying to impose her moralistic ideas on the rest of society. She backs up her thoughts with recently published research.

Sex and human connection, let alone love and compassion, have effectively been decoupled in the hook-up culture, in which dating has given way to no-strings-attached physical encounters.

The term “hook-up” is exactly as dehumanising it sounds, and a fascinating study by the American Psychological Association last month shows how disconnected are the sexual behaviours and private internal desires of young men, and especially young women. – Miranda Devine

We’ve been sold a lie.

We forgot that actions always have consequences and that some of those consequences won’t become apparent immediately. Intimacy isn’t just about sex, so when we disconnect physical intimacy from a deeper knowing of someone else, the intimacy that comes from long term commitment and the desire to always seek the best for the person we love, we don’t just break someone else’s moral code, we break something deeply embedded in the human soul.

Sex without commitment doesn’t provide the safe environment that fosters the security and acceptance that we so desperately seek. Not only does it not satisfy in the short term, it can rob us of contentment in the future.

In a new book, The End of Sex – How Hook-up Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled and Confused About Intimacy, Donna Freitas has compiled eight years of research into a revealing exposition of Gen Y life.

“Amid the seemingly endless partying … lies a thick layer of melancholy, insecurity and isolation that no one can seem to shake. College students have perfected an air of bravado about hook-up culture though a great many of them wish for a world of romance and dating.”

Among her most striking findings from American college campuses is that 41 per cent of students “expressed sadness or even despair” about hooking up. These students suspected it robbed them of healthy, fulfilling sex lives, positive dating experiences and loving relationships. At its very worst, hooking up made them feel ‘’miserable’’ and ‘’abused’’. – Miranda Devine

So the very thing that was supposed to provide freedom seems to be leaving young people feeling unfulfilled and empty.

People have been looking for physical closeness as ‘entertainment’, without the commitment and constraints, and it’s just not working. While many might claim that they want one-night-stands and ‘relationships’ without the strings, the evidence clearly shows that at the heart of it all, we still yearn for deeper relationship.

Saddest of all is that while most men and women did not expect a romantic relationship as the outcome of a hook-up, fully one third of men and almost half of women “ideally wanted” such an outcome.

Anyone who has much to do with young people will have observed a sadness beneath the polished, perfected surface of Gen Y’s smiling girls.

As the mother of boys I have had only glimpses of the existential pain of young women but it is enough to make my female heart ache. – Miranda Devine

Let me encourage you to read the full article by Miranda Devine.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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