Hook-Up Culture

David Randall

NAS President Peter Wood writes in the New Boston Post on hook-up culture on campus, and its discontents:

As it happens, I am an anthropologist and I take a somewhat off-shore view of how societies regulate and channel human sexual appetites. The main point, as I wrote in a long article in The Weekly Standard last year, is that the choices are consequential for society as well as the individual. Right now we are in the midst of a generations-old unraveling of the social forms that fostered long-term pair-bonding and stable conditions for child rearing.

No one really likes to hear this. Our culture right now floats on the pleasant illusion that we can relax or eliminate the taboos on casual sex without facing any significant social costs. Sex is supposed to be harmless fun and self-exploration.

But even if it seems like that for a while, it is never just that. Humans have a profound need for attachment. It wasn’t hard to see that at Bowdoin, where a great many students who hooked up began awakening to regrets after a few years. The “rape crisis” on campus is largely an expression of these regrets writ large.

Dr. Wood's article continues a conversation at the NAS relating to "rape culture" on campus; previous contributions include Glenn Ricketts on "Sexual Misconduct on Campus:  Big Report, Little Information" and Peter Wood on "How the Next President Can Fix Higher Education."

Image Credit: Alvesgaspar, Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Apollo and Daphne, cropped.

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