Women Aren’t Victims Of The Hookup Culture, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 11 2012 @ 10:25am

A reader quotes David French from our previous post:

Ask a woman working two jobs to provide for three kids by two different deadbeat dads if the hook-up culture has empowered her.

Nothing in hookup culture prevents the use of birth control.  The root causes of generational fatherlessness and poverty are more about lack of comprehensive sex education in schools and access to health care, ie, birth control.  Yet why am I not surprised that the same cultural conservatives who decry sexually liberated behavior also oppose anything but abstinence-only programs and try to defund Planned Parenthood?  Opposition to sexual freedom is all about the rear-guard action of cultural conservatives unable to adapt to modernity.

Another writes:

Rod Dreher doubled down on his belief that gay promiscuity is a "culture of death" by saying that the heterosexual "hook-up" culture is also part of a "culture of death." He brought up his daughters and how he's trying to raise them to be, I guess, virgins till they're married. I'm also the father of two girls, and I see youthful sexual adventure as normal healthy exploration of this beautiful world – finding out what their bodies do, trying out relationships and especially trying out sex without relationships.

I don't want my girls to become self-destructive with compulsive, dark, promiscuous sex. But I also don't want them to marry as virgins and find out they're completely incompatible with their husbands. It's so normal and healthy to explore sex as a young person that it seems weird and life-denying and actually kind of perverted to abstain completely. I know some people find happiness and security in a difficult virtue. But it's mostly the phrase that keeps sticking in my craw – culture of death. Culture of death? Sex is the foundation of life!

Another is also animated over the phrase:

Gay culture is the "culture of death"?  Conservatives like Dreher spend most of their time insisting that gays cannot participate in traditions like marriage, while then turning around and lamenting the iniquity of gays who won't settle down. You can't lambast people for not making the choices you would deny them or not accept.  Conservatives have the power to promote monogamy and commitment in the gay community by simply allowing gay people to get married (which they're going to do whether anyone recognizes it or not) and not being huge assholes about it.  Calling out the promiscuity of parts of the gay community while refusing to recognize the monogamous inclinations of so many other gay men is just dishonest.  Refusing gays marriage in their culture, and then complaining that not enough gay men get married is ridiculous.  They can't have it both ways.


About all this hookup culture stuff: I just don't get it. When was this magical time when nobody was having sex except when they were in love? Was it in the '60s, during the "Summer of Love"? Probably not. Was it in the '70s, when cocaine was everywhere and HIV was nowhere? Not exactly. Was it in the '80s, the days of hair metal and still more cocaine and clothes so overtly sexualized that they're a joke now? (I mean, I wouldn't have had sex with anyone with that hair, but it didn't seem to bother them then at all.) So it must have been the '90s, when Ecstasy set off a new generation of ravers obsessed with physical pleasure.

You see where I'm going with this. All this noise about a "hookup culture" is the anxiety of a generation who screwed their way through their youth and are now raising children, desperate to find some line of demarcation between their own behavior and what they wish their children wouldn't do. I don't care what the statistics say, I really don't. I don't think for a minute that you can trust ANY self-reported sex or drug statistics.

So what are we worried about? America hasn't had a prudish culture since at least the '50s, and even then, I'd bet my boots it was just going on behind closed doors. My grandmother got pregnant out of wedlock at 17 in 1951, after all. The only difference was that she was bundled off, married at shotgun-point, and forced into the kitchen for 40 years. Goodbye and good riddance, as they say, to all of that.