Via Not Everybody’s Doing It: Busting the Myths That Fuel Hookup Culture, on the unhappiness a lot of students seem to feel about sex on campus, I came across this interview. Here's a chunk of the first question:
You conducted an extensive study of sexuality amongst students at secular and Christian colleges. What was your approach, and why did this seem important to you?
I had spent a lot of time in the classroom, talking about the relationship between spirituality and romantic relationships. My college students are generally sexually active; most are involved in romantic entanglements, and almost none are married or even seriously contemplating marriage and starting families. In one particular class I taught, I learned a great deal from my students about how disempowered they felt over their own sex lives and how unfulfilling they were. The students felt as though the surrounding culture, and especially the student culture on campus, told them that they should celebrate and enjoy the things they were doing. Yet when they were honest, they saw that they were unhappy. I was disturbed by how powerless they felt, and found it interesting that, even though they were strongly resistant to institutional religion, they wanted to look to spirituality for guidance and for a way out of their unfulfilling sexual habits.
Once they realized they were all unhappy with it, the students were passionate about trying to change the sexual culture on campus. I was curious whether students felt the same way in other places, and whether it would make a difference if the schools were religious affiliated. I wanted to examine campus cultures elsewhere and how they were experienced by students individually.
... one of the most interesting findings had to do with the stark divide between evangelical and secular or Catholic schools. I can discuss the findings at evangelical colleges or the findings everywhere else. They're so different. And the finding that was most interesting for Catholics is that student attitudes at Catholic schools toward sexuality and faith are essentially identical to student attitudes toward sex and faith at secular institutions. Catholic schools might as well be public schools when it comes to those attitudes.
Her experience at Catholic schools appears to reflect a seeming reality that most Catholics aren't really very Catholic... only nominally so. (See, e.g., the small percent showing up at mass regularly, following that church's teachings re: birth control, etc.)
On how men feel about hookups Frietas has the following to say:
... with a very few exceptions, guys don’t like hook-up culture either. They don’t want to rack up their number of sexual partners. They feel it gets in the way of real relationships. But there is a stigma among guys about critiquing hook-up culture. Expressing an interest in romance or dating is a mark against them, while hooking up is how they prove their masculinity to other guys. They felt trapped as well.
... The issue is that hook-up culture rules the day. The social ethic is so powerful that students are afraid to say anything against it. College students also feel that they are more or less abandoned to deal with sex on their own.
Ah... pluralistic ignorance.
(Given that the previous quote comes from a Catholic news source, it should be noted that Frietas doesn't appear to line up all that closely with the Catholic church's teachings - to quote the Boston Globe: "She doesn’t actually oppose casual sex, she just hopes young adults can have an array of options.")
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