This June 15 Rolling Stone article had my stomach doing flips in sadness and disgust. The attitude toward sex at Duke – and probably many college campuses – is heart-breaking. The emptiness and brokenness of the “hookup” culture should make our American culture in general and Christians in particular do some soul-searching about what sex and relationships are for.

Here’s a tidbit of the powerful article, which features some telling quotes and an astute reference to Tom Wolf’s I Am Charlotte Simmons:

The vagaries of sex on campus have created a specific ”hookup culture” at Duke, one that Charlotte Simmons fans might quickly recognize. As one male student describes it, it ”exists in a whirlwind of drunkenness and horniness that lacks definition — which is what everyone likes about it [because] it’s just an environment of craziness and you don’t have to worry about it until the next morning.”

But this culture has its downsides, say some students. ”I think the ease of hooking up has, like, made people forget what they truly want,” says Naomi. ”People assume that there are two very distinct elements in a relationship, one emotional and one sexual, and they pretend like there are clean lines between them.”

Or at least boys do, she believes. Girls fake it. If so, they’re faking well. One male student I met told me he’d ”never seen some of the catty, cougarlike behavior like I have at Duke, even in the clubs of New York City” — where he’s from, he adds. There, he says, ”guys have to go all-out” to get girls to go home with them. At Duke, ”there’s kind of a mutual acceptance that stuff can happen in one night, on your way back from Shooters.”

After reading this article, Switchfoot’s lyrics to their song “Easier Than Love” hit home more than ever:

Sex is currency
She sells cars,
She sells magazines
Addictive, bittersweet, clap your hands,
with the hopeless nicotines

Everyone’s a lost romantic,
Since our love became a kissing show
Everyone’s a Cassanova,
Come and pass me the mistletoe

Everyone’s been scared to death of dying here alone

She is easier than love
Is easier than life
It’s easier to fake and smile and bribe

It’s easier leave
It’s easier to lie
It’s harder to face ourselves at night,
Feeling alone
What have we done?
What is the monster we’ve become?

Where is my soul?

Numb

Sex is industry,
The CEO, of corporate policy
Skin-deep ministry,
Suburban youth, hail your so-called liberty

Every advertising antic
Our banner waves with a neon glow
War and love become pedantic,
We wage love with a mistletoe

Everyone’s been scared to death of dying here alone

She is easier than love
Is easier to life
It’s easier to fake and smile and bribe

It’s easier leave
It’s easier to lie
It’s harder to face ourselves at night
Feeling alone,
What have we done?
What is the monster we’ve become?

Where is my soul?
Numb
(Yeah!)
Numb

Numb
(Yeah!)
Numb
It’s easier than love,
It’s easier than love

It’s easier than love,
It’s easier than love

She is easier than love,
It’s easier than love

Everyone’s been scared to death of,
Everyone’s been scared to death of,
Everyone’s been scared to death of dying here alone,
alone

(Sex)
It’s easier than love,
It’s easier than love,
It’s easier to fake and smile and bribe

It’s easier to leave,
It’s easier to lie,
It’s harder to face ourselves at night
Feeling alone,
What have we done?
What is the monster we’ve become?

Where is my soul? (Where is my?)
Where is my soul?
Numb

Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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  • makelovehappen

    >> The emptiness and brokenness of the “hookup” culture should make our American culture in general and Christians in particular do some soul-searching about what sex and relationships are for.

    Excellent post, Andrew. The switchfoot lyrics hit the nail on the head. The ugly way sex can alienate a person from their soul is – as you say – heart breaking … and in a way that I think everyone can relate to.

    I still have a question. You appeal to “what sex and relationships are for”. What are sex and relationships for?

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