Soulless Sex

The End of Sex - How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy Donna FreitasBasic Books, 2013; 240 pages, $25.99 If you have read one piece decrying the hookup culture on college campuses, you may feel you have read them all.  Hooking up degrades women, making them feel trapped, vulnerable, and alone.  Hooking up pairs well with pornographic role-playing and copious amounts of alcohol, blurring the lines between drunken sex and sexual assault.  In her new book The End of Sex, Donna Freitas echoes this assessment of the hookup culture on college campuses.  What distinguishes hers from other books is this: she also laments that the hookup culture deprives students of a meaningful sex life. Unlike many authors on this subject, Freitas argues that the hookup culture “promotes bad sex, boring sex, drunken sex you don’t remember, sex you could care less about, sex where desire is absent, sex that you have ‘just because everyone else is, too’ or that ‘just happens.’”  Students, however, want to have a “a meaningful sex life, even a soulful one.”  Freitas wants students “to feel empowered,” “to look forward to the promise of sexual intimacy,” and “to look back on their experience with excitement and pride.”  The End of Sex, therefore, attempts to provide students alternatives to the soulless sex of hooking up and to advise college professors and administrators how to foster a healthy campus environment towards sex.  Despite Freitas’s seeming philosophical critique, her solutions are less than profound. The End of Sex is an outgrowth of Freitas’s 2008 book Sex and the Soul, in which she interviewed students at private-secular, public, Catholic, and evangelical colleges about their attitudes towards religion and sex.  The result was a fascinating exploration of students’ deepest longings.  She discovered that students could
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