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Does Our Celebration of a Lack of Virtue Portend US Collapse?

Careless Love: Hookup Sex Culture a Symbol of America’s Declining Character

By —— Bio and Archives--July 17, 2012

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Does it matter what people do behind closed doors? In fact, a nation’s character is uniquely exposed by its sex life. For example, in ancient Rome, despite adulterous and homosexual acts being illegal between citizens—adult and pedophile activities were rampant between Roman men and their slaves. This occurred since slaves were not persons, but things (res) that could be treated however the owner chose. Obviously, such corrupt practice degraded the entire nation, helping lead to its demise. In the same manner, the US is also in grave peril from our increasingly unfettered approach to dating, procreation and family life. When even our president advocates for easy and late-term abortions for his own daughters, we realize how savage and short-term our values have become.

So how is America’s character revealed in its sexual mores? The American family has endured much destruction the last few decades. For example, the NY Times recently reported half of all children born to women thirty and under are now born out-of-wedlock. This single statistic represents shocking tragedy for several reasons. First, fatherless-ness is the leading cause of US poverty. Second, millions of children are at risk for a staggering increase in crime, substance-abuse, and mental-health issues. Third, and perhaps most troubling—entire generations are being instructed by implication that fathers are nothing, and fatherhood’s symbolism and authority meaningless compared to libidinal urges or the right to simply create an ad hoc family from one parent.

The hookup culture focuses on dessert before dinner; fleeting experiences over real life; and ascribes the most cynical values to all. To promote these values now means sowing them into the lives of our children, and so making them the bedrock weltanschauung of America itself. Therefore, these cultural folkways pose the gravest danger imaginable to the longterm viability of our once great land.

I. What is “Hookup” Dating?

So how is “hooking up” defined? A “hookup” normally means traditional dating is tossed out. Instead, a physical encounter is consummated. After the 1960s Sexual Revolution, Americans took a more relaxed and liberated approach to dating which became increasingly tolerant of premarital sex and unmarried cohabitation. But one element remained true, that some form of courtship still existed. Some time was spent between the sexes before physical interaction took place.

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laura Sessions Stepp in Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both, there is no clear-cut definition of the term “hookup.” Stepps says her study group of college students described hookups initially as: “Third base and beyond,” “More than making out,” “Don’t have to work at it,” “Immediate gratification,” and “Fast food.” After some prodding they added, “No relationship,” “Lack of communication,” “Increases cynicism,” “No emotional fulfillment,” “Doesn’t teach intimacy,” and “Postpones marriage.” One young man admitted, “If a girl offers, I’m not going to turn her down. But I’m also not going to call her up and ask for a date afterward.”

The importance of a courtship period preceding marriage has become increasingly apparent. Divorce rates are up—The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%; for second marriage is 60%; for third marriage is 73%. So increasing numbers choose to avoid the institution altogether. Further, with other groups such as gays, and possibly in the future polygamists, being given the franchise, this choice seems astute to many. But such unplanned and impulsive hookup coupling must explain at least some of the rampant seducing of America’s students by randy female teachers, many of whom are both attractive and already married. Also the apparent rise of female infidelity matching men’s rates, in addition to the fact 70% of divorces are initiated by women. Overall, the WSJ reports infidelity rising among younger persons from their comfort of having already had many partners before marriage.

What is remarkable about the hookup culture is how it empowers men at the cost of women. For example, Stepp quotes a young lady of upper middle-class background who was lured into the hookup culture her freshman year: “The girls made all the effort. The guys didn’t have to do anything.” This quote well sums up how the tables have turned away from old dating routines. In fact, many young Americans will hookup many times without any “dates” or dinners or movies being shared. One researcher summed up hooking up: “Students rarely go on formal dates but instead attend parties in large groups, followed by “hook ups”—unplanned sexual encounters fueled by alcohol.”

II. What is the Problem With a Hookup Culture?

The challenge with hookup culture ethics is the continual willingness to sacrifice all standards for short term gains. Examples abound. An economic version would be long term deficit spending for programs that are not even seriously scrutinized for cost-cutting. A health example is employing liposuction to remove fat instead of exercise. A religious example is insisting all religions represent the same god instead of taking the time for a deep study and careful conclusions. A political variety is taking an untested person who spouts simplistic and wildly boastful claims of DNA-derived leadership skills, electing him and then adding hot water to create a ~new~ George Washington. Oops! So the failure of hooking up romances shares the same foundational flaw of philosophy as that of many other issues in America.

Traditional relationships end their first phase with engagement, followed by a wedding, then consummated during the honeymoon. This is presumably after months or years of interaction without first “going all the way.” This is a learning period which then sets the foundation for a future life of partnership and compromise. The alternative, whether cohabitation, hooking up, or other methods add risk to the venture, summed up in the traditional observation, “Marry in haste; repent at leisure.”

At a deeper level, the hookup culture represents a lack of seriousness at the human endeavor that is truly remarkable. Not coincidentally, one of the longstanding goals of leftism and all progressive ideology is the overturning of traditional society as part of the sacred Revolution. In the wake of this it is obvious that the family—the core unit of society—will lie in a shambles as big government is sent in to pick up the pieces.

So the error in hookup thinking develops on a number of fronts. First, it is a moral compromise which cannot help but cause inefficient and conflicted results in personal life. Second, it is a lack of standards which will spread out across the psyche to all areas of morality. Third, it is a repudiation of traditional religion and all that stands for. Lastly, it necessitates an embrace of the all-encompassing government as a safety net for catastrophic failure. So in that sense it is a political implosion to the lowest standards—a race to the bottom for an entire nation.

III. Impact of the Hookup Culture

Is there really any impact at all to our evolving sexual mores and family relations? After all, as humans evolve, isn’t it logical that as our sexual habits and morals develop that we would also incrementally improve in our ability to socialize without negative repercussions? In fact, even small changes in America’s beliefs and practice in the area can net huge aggregate change, such as a few abortions turning into 55 million deaths which led to tens of trillions in lost tax base, for example (see The Economic Disaster Inflicted by Abortion: Roe v Wade as Financial Holocaust)

Yet, the negative aspects of hooking up are easy enough to assess. First are the obvious health issues associated with any increase in recreational sex, such as proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases. Add to this unwanted pregnancies and a spike in fatherless households. But the emotional damages are even more alarming. For one cannot enter into sex-before-relationship scenario without a depressing decrease in each party’s ability to trust, connect and bond in the future.

The emotional harm suffered is more long-lasting and deeper in women than men because of profound differences between the two sexes in how sexual relations are experienced. Stepp describes how typical it is for young women to get involved with a man sexually and then become devastated when he is uninterested in a post-hookup relationship. This persists despite the understood ground rules, yet these women are often torn apart by the experience. As one author comments,

Women don’t want sex for long without an emotional connection, a sense of caring, if not real, commitment, from their partners. As one student wrote in a paper for my class, “We are told not to be sexual prudes, but to enjoy casual sex, we have to be emotional prudes.”

The ultimate impact of such thoughtless and uncommitted encounters is the coarsening of the inner person across the culture—especially women. Of course this causes marriage with these women to generally degrade, as incipient trust, bonding and intimacy are all badly affected by such poor decision-making. Bottom line—a history of women hooking up reduces their ability to bond with any one man. They become less devoted and trusty wives and more likely to bail after getting itchy feet.

And it’s no shock that a culture encouraging women to think of sex as a meaningless, fun activity unattached to any single person, will also tout abortions, employment in the porn industry, general promiscuity, and indifference to the womanly arts. Such women morph into mirror images of men in their feminist values and ruthless pursuit of careers over all else, and actually become less than men in their ability to successfully adapt and function. Overall, traditional femininity and the differentness inherent in the female psyche is treated as a sick joke by our increasingly simplistic society. This is tragic, since women have traditionally been the nurturers, but are now simply unisex workers fighting for their place in an increasingly dog-eat-dog society.

IV. Spiritual Implications of the Hookup Culture

Chastity, or sexual purity, is not just a psychological or health concern, but a spiritual topic as well. Scripture has much commentary upon the subject of coupling. The marriage ceremony is itself an important spiritual symbol, both positively and negative. For example, while the relationship between Christ and the Church is described as a marital union, Israel is often depicted as living in adultery to Yahweh. For instance, Hosea begins:

When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.

The Forerunner Commentary explains the metaphor of Israel as prostitute in 2 Kings 17:14-16

This was Israel’s great sin, typified as prostitution: debasing themselves and God through the adoption and practice of the way of the heathen, and rejecting the way, providence, and sovereignty of God for something far inferior, corrupting, and shameful. In the midst of His law, God warns Israel—and thus us as the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16)—that to do things as the heathens do them constitutes harlotry. His terminology is in His instructions to Israel in Leviticus 20:2-8 is extremely clear.

The main point here is that sexual incontinence is not simply a sin to the biblical writers, but more importantly the symbol of the most depraved kind of religious apostasy. It cannot therefore be considered a coincidence or an incidental fact that tainted love is symbolic of the greatest betrayal known to man.


The hookup culture is actually the relational wing of modern society which has been despicably influenced by socialist policies. For example, the idea of the hookup culture was popularized by porn magazines of the early 1990s, according to Stepp. Porn itself has been relentlessly championed by liberals and socialists for decades. This fits in with the larger flight from responsibility seen in many areas of American culture, and is an actual plank in Communism’s attempt at world conquest as detailed the famous Communist Goals posted in the Congressional Record in 1963:

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.

Conservatives should not be astonished at the recent legal inroads non-traditional unions have seen when marriage itself was left in tatters by easy divorce. Further, the incidence of premarital sex, cohabitation and gay rights themselves are inevitable after pornography and abortion make the idea of a strong national marriage foundation a grotesque joke. Things are simply running their normal course of evolution and decay since most who could have stood up against this madness did not bother to make a stand against these things. But such an environment of compromise does have dire implications for America in terms of ability to sacrifice for higher objectives in a time of crisis.

Kelly OConnell -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. He was born on the West Coast, raised in Las Vegas, and matriculated from the University of Oregon. After laboring for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland, he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia, where he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government. He spent a stint working as a researcher and writer of academic articles at a Miami law school, focusing on ancient law and society. He has also been employed as a university Speech & Debate professor. He then returned West and worked as an assistant district attorney. Kelly is now is a private practitioner with a small law practice in New Mexico.

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