"College students today enter a low hook-up culture when they leave the classroom," warns Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield in his WSJ review of the newest overwrought book about college kids fucking. "In case you don't know, a hook-up is a brief sexual encounter between two partners who don't necessarily know each other before and who don't necessarily want to know each other after." Sounds costly. "And it's free." Well, that's a bonus! "The sort of transient sex that once was available to men only for money can now be had, without paying, from college women - as long as the man is a fellow student and minimally artful about his approach." Good lord, is that new? I don't remember that. "If he is thwarted in one overture, he may try another with a reasonable prospect of success." That, sadly, is just the intro paragraph.
The new book, by Boston University professor Donna Freitas, is called Sex and the Soul, and it's an exposition of college sex youth sex hookup soul religion relationships problems whatever shall we do blah blah blah. But honestly, Professor Mansfield's review is pure gold. Who would have thought a Harvard man could sound so formal, stilted, and full of shit?
No doubt lurid anecdote and popular myth cause us to exaggerate the actual frequency of campus hook-ups: Most college students do not share in these delights. But most students also believe that "everyone does it," even if the individual student, for some reason, cannot locate a partner. Thus an active minority sets the tone and makes hooking up a "culture."