There are things that strike fear in a mother's heart. Thinking about my boys starting college and the "hook-up" culture that is so pervasive is one of those things. Ok, honestly, thinking about the things that go on in the middle school years strikes even more fear, especially since that is only a few short years away. I was propositioned for the first time when I was eleven years old by a twelve year old boy. Thankfully, I had the moral fiber to say "No." I'm trying to instill my children with the same moral fiber, but I know it is an uphill battle. Moral fiber vs. surging hormones. The hormones often win.
The November issue of "US Catholic" offers an interesting article on
Sex, lies, and hook-up culture. It is an interesting interview with Donna Freitas, author of Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America's College Campuses. She surveyed 2,500 students and interviewed 111 about religion and sex at seven colleges - Catholic, evangelical, public, and private. Interestingly enough, the evangelical colleges lacked the casual sex culture. So, what can we learn from them? Frietas states that "To be young and evangelical is really to be immersed and participating in or creating a youth culture. They are interpreting scripture, writing books on dating, overseeing their own faith lives, and holding their peers accountable." In contrast, young Catholics feel that they aren't allowed to have such ownership of their faith and sexuality. They feel if they wrote books on Catholic dating, they would be censured by the hierarchy. They don't feel that they have the ability to speak authoritatively about their faith and experiences.
Frietas suggests beginning discussions about sex with young people with a discussion on respect for the human person. Young people need to reconsider what they want out of their male-female relationships. Most do not want or enjoy the hook-up culture, they just don't know what to do about it. They need to have safe places to have the conversations and begin to change expectations.