Customer Reviews: Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children
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on July 18, 2009
As a retired psychiatrist and internist, I found the book informative and challenging for today's adolescents and young adults especially. The chemical changes that occur in the brain as a reaction to exciting events (values neutral) in one's life are verifiable and the behavioral conditioning that occurs is scientifically true. That is why behavior that has been conditioned over a period of time and becomes habitual is very difficult, but not impossible, to change. Harvard research psychiatrist George Vaillant reported that long term follow up studies has shown that the ability to delay gratification and tolerate frustration are key ingredients to a happy and successful adjustment in life.
Other studies have shown that the refusal of people to delay gratification and engage in irresponsible behavior partly explains the marked increase in marital and family fragmentation, sociopathic behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, criminality, suicidal ideation, selfishness and self centeredness, hostile intolerance to differing viewpoints, and a lack of concern, compassion and sensitivity towards others. The challenge is to weigh the long term consequences of immediate gratification behavior, return to greater civility and become more respectful of other's feelings, attitudes and values.
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on November 1, 2008
This book is a must read for every healthcare professional, educator, pastor, parent, teen, and abstinence organizer. It is Phenomenal. It is informative on every level. Just as another commentator wrote: "It exposes the dark side to teen sexual behaviors." I agree totally. We need to really sit down and start evaluating why these young people are in such trouble. As a Registered Nurse who sees young people daily, I am comfounded as to why they are so angry. This may be one of the root causes. I see them hurt and confused, and frankly they are so young and "Boy and Girl Crazy:, for lack of a better word. This book will give us a professionals, parents, and as adults an insight on something that these kids are do closed mouthed on. Please take the time to read it. You will be amazed as to what you will learn, and how true this book actually is. I am recommending it to everyone that I know.
Tracy Tucker, R.N., Indiana.
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on September 2, 2008
This is one of the most important books any parent will ever read. Why? In scientific terms (that non-scientists can understand) it lays out the convincing evidence that sexual activity before adulthood/marriage not only can be psychologically and emotionally damaging to men and women, but can create a chemically patterned response in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, affecting even future relationships. Know a man who goes from woman to woman to woman, unable to commit to any lasting relationship? Have a female friend that consistently chooses bad/abusive men to 'love'? There is no mention of "GOD", or religion, other than in a generalized way, which means that you can feel comfortable in sharing this book both with people of faith and non-religious folk. After reading it the first time, I ordered 5 more copies for friends and family.

A must have for anyone with children, anyone who works with children, or who once upon a time........was a child.
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on November 21, 2010
Being a woman who supports no sex until marriage this book has validated everything I have seen and experienced amongst my friends.

I haven't met or known one of my girlfriends in NYC, that engage in casual sex, who have found any sort of fullfillment from this lifestyle. In fact I have only seen extreme heartache, humiliation and anger from every one of them.Regardless if they are 19 or 40.

Men have argued with me up and down how wrong I am. However, I have watched these men them go from girl to girl, cohabitating etc, never being able to love or have a mature relationship because all they base it on is sex from the very beginning.

In ten years take a guess as to who will have a happy marriage,meaningful life and divorce free future. I'll make a sure bet it won't be them .
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on November 7, 2008
The book should be required reading for young people who are just starting to think about their sexuality as well as on college campuses. I particularly liked the way the information is presented. It is based on scientific evidence and can't be condemned by anyone who is ready to negate anything that encourages abstinece as coming from the "religious right".
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on October 20, 2008
Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children by Joe S. Mcilhaney, Jr., MD and Freda McKissic Bush, MD ...WOW! What a POWERFUL TOOL to help guide your children through the minefield of teen years when new hormones are raging and threatening to make your teen out of control and have the potential of ruining his or her life. Now, with this excellent book, you have the necessary FACTS of the risks posed by promiscuous and premature sexual activity, instead of just speaking in terms of morals or family values. In the last thirty years studies of the brain have revealed how damaging immature sex and sexual activity with multiple partners can be, not only in terms of the 25 new sexually transmitted diseases, (most of which are viral and hav not cures), but also in terms of promoting low self-esteem and suicide. The statistics of casual sex in high school and college are astounding, with over 50 - 75 percent of children 15 - 19 being participants in some form and over 70 percent of college students having frequent sex. The book gives the new facts, which give parents non-embarrassing tools for talking to children about uncommitted and casual sex. It also outlines dangerous situations which parents can help their young people avoid so that they can make wise decisions regarding sex. THIS BOOK IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST FOR ANY PARENT!
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on August 12, 2014
I originally ordered "Hooked," by Joe S. McIlhaney and Freda M. Bush, because in reading about gender, I had encountered references to recent brain research on sexuality and wanted to know more about it. My initial reaction to the book was one of deep suspicion. The original publisher, Northfield Publishing, is apparently a subsidiary of Moody Publishers, a prominent Evangelical publishing house. Although I am a Christian (Eastern Orthodox), I tend to be skeptical about much Evangelical writing because it is often simplistic or based on proof-texting. As a result, after reading "Hooked," I promptly ordered several non-religious books on the same subject to see what the science really said. My conclusion was that "Hooked" is scientifically accurate. Therefore, it is worth reading. . .if you can tolerate some irritating features.

In the first three chapters of their book, the authors present the major findings of contemporary neuroscientific research on sex and the brain, including findings on the role of neurotransmitters and brain plasticity. These findings include the following: (1) Sexual activity stimulates emotional bonding mechanisms in the brain; (2) The breaking of those bonds can lead to depression; (3) The bonding mechanism in the brain weakens if one engages in numerous casual sexual encounters; and (4) Sexual activity is potentially addictive because of the part of the brain that controls it. The authors explain all of this in accessible language, using a wealth of diagrams.

In the remaining four chapters, McIlhaney and Bush discuss the moral implications of these findings. Their presentation is consistent with traditional Christian morality although they never identify it as such. Essentially, they argue that young people should avoid early sexual activity and that the emotional side of sexuality should be integrated into all of our thinking about sex. In their view, sexual relations are best when integrated into a long term, committed relationship, i.e., marriage. Unlike many Christian moralists, however, they do emphasize that sex is good, natural, and extremely pleasurable.

Irritating aspects of the book include scattered sidebars that contain quotations from various young people about their sexual experiences and the "To Think About" questions at the end of each chapter. I suspect that the book was designed for use in adult Christian education classes, though this is not explicitly stated.

"Hooked" provides an accurate introduction to the brain research on sexuality. Moreover, it discusses the social and personal implications of those findings. If you are a traditional Christian believer or an open-minded non-believer, you should find this an informative, readable introduction to the subject. However, you might wish to supplement "Hooked" with more scientifically oriented material.
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on August 13, 2011
This book has terrific content and for those who want to learn about this topic or wonder how to teach their children, peers or anyone about sex before marriage. A magnificent learning/teaching tool!

In short, the book describes what Sex really is, what counts as Sex according to the brain and then explains all the psychological and emotional repercussions on the brain as a consequence to any kind of sexual activity.

Every statement is supported with facts and stats and this is another huge argument as to why we should wait to be involved in sexual activity until we're in a truly lifelong relationship (usually only found in marriage).

This book does not talk about God, or faith. Every argument is purely scientific and based on statistics and recent studies. A little preview.

Reasons to remain Abstinent:

1.- Possible Sexually Transmitted Disease (as of 2008 more than 70 million americans were living with some kind of sexually transmitted infection and each year, a whopping 19 million new cases are contracted)
2.- Possible Pregnancy
3.- The REAL Psychological and Emotional Risks one takes while having "casual sex" (there's no condom or contraceptive for protecting the influences of sex on the brain) backed up with results from recent studies.

This book is the real deal and it is a great tool for parents, teachers and religious people who'd like to have more arguments as to why we should be abstinent outside of marriage. It scientifically shows how and why we are made to share this part of our lives with only one person. We were created that way.

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on February 12, 2009
This is a very understandable book for non-scientists. Authors McIlhaney and Bush explain what neuroscience has discovered occurs in the brain during sexual activity, and how sexual activity affects brain development. They recommend what a person should do for the best sex. You will have to read it to find out what that is!
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on December 26, 2009
This book combines two priorities, on the one hand it is an interesting summary of psychological, neurochemical and imaging medicine for lay readers. It is well referenced and easy to read.

On the other hand it seeks to justify and defend traditional family values, the judicious choice of a life partner and particularly focusses on the emotional havoc done by multiple short term sexual relations. In this it is plentifully furnished with short testimonials, has a gentle, persuasive and sympathetic tone.

There are plenty of illuminating sociological statistics which highlight just how caustic an amoral lifestyle is:

*80% of unwed teen fathers don't marry the mother of their baby.
*20% of 12-18 yr oral contraceptive users get pregnant within 6 months.
*cohabiting couples show much more violence than married couples, are more likely to divorce if they do marry after cohabiting than those don't cohabit first, most cohabiting relationships break up or end up in marriage after 2 year.
*Unfaithfulness is reported 4 x more often by cohabitees than married couples.
*in one sample (NCPT 2007), 70% of female and 55% of male high school students wish they had waited rather than rushed into sex.

So far so good, but the problem is that very often the science is used to justify the ethics in a way that seems stretched and speculative. The retrospective claim about the development of the brain is used to justify waiting till personal judgement is better settled in the 20s - good sense, but is this conclusion really vindicated by MRI and PET studies per se? The overemphasis on the importance of oxytocin and vasopressin in bonding is claimed to justify not rushing for a 'quick fix' - is this really demonstrated by case control studies with behvioural correlation? - I don't see the evidence here if so. Dopamine is described rather simplistically as the risk/reward hormone, and promiscuity to a kind of addiction to a 'dopamine rush'. All this looks tendentious, and may mislead parents into simplistic and mechanistic discussions.

This book is illuminating, sympathetic and well intentioned, but it also suffers a serious flaw. There are vital moral grounds for the sanctity of marriage. These need to be championed vigorously, and our societies have vandalised them at tremendous cost to our children. However trying to sneak these precepts in under the guise of over-extrapolated science alone is unnecessary and needlessly gives detractors legitimate fuel for criticism.
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