In Response to: The hookup culture [6]

“The hookup culture” by professors George and Londregan deserves a thoughtful response (particularly their eloquent online letter, rather than the procrustean version required to fit PAW’s 300-word limit). Casual sex in the absence of emotional commitment has become common at many colleges, and carries the potential of both emotional and physical harm. I support the authors in their call “to establish a center to support students who seek to lead chaste lives.” Beyond this, however, we part company.

I have seen “Sex on a Saturday Night” numerous times. It is not “ostensibly” designed to discourage date rape, it is so designed. Sexual situations are portrayed to heighten awareness of what may go wrong: “Forewarned is forearmed.” Some skits end with the couple beginning a friendship and agreeing to postpone sex. “Safer Sex Jeopardy” has a different purpose, desensitizing “taboo” topics so that couples can talk comfortably about sex, including pregnancy and STD prevention. It seems hard to oppose this, unless one’s banner reads, “Ignorance is bliss.”

Finally, I object to the uncritical imposition of the professors’ personal value judgments, as if their concepts of morality are unarguable. They equate chastity with “traditional moral virtues,” and criticize University events “that tend to reinforce libertine attitudes toward sexuality.” They seem to forget that what counts as traditional moral virtues depends on whose tradition is being referenced. Further, my dictionary defines “libertine” as “dissolute,” a grossly unfair characterization.

I agree that all sexual values (that do not harm others) deserve support from the University, including chastity before marriage. I do not agree that within the broad range of human sexuality, one approach should be regarded as more moral and decent than others. And I certainly hope there will be no objection to sexuality, pregnancy-prevention, and STD education.