- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (April 2, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465002153
- ISBN-13: 978-0465002153
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy 1st Edition
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[A] straight-forward, well-researched, and eye-opening book . This compelling testimony from young people around the country provides ample evidence for why this campus lifestyle should not be ignored.”
Freitas provides compelling evidence that far too many young adults live lives of quiet desperationsexually and socially...The End of Sex paints a vivid portrait of hookup culture There is much in The End of Sex to applaud.”
The book is informative, non-judgmental and a must-read for parents and for their university-aged kids although once you become immersed in it you'll be screaming (as I was), Oh spirit, show me no more.' But keep reading and start figuring out a new conversation with the kids or they may never know what love's got to do with it.'"
[A] scathing and reasoned attack on the casual-sex culture at American universities . [Freitas] encourages mindfulness and an open dialogue about what students want to get out of sex, and her remedies (which include temporary periods of abstinence and a return to the traditional date) should provide, if not solutions, at least inspiration for parents and college staff in talking to students about how to have better relationships, and better sex.”
"[An] important, wise, and brave new book...The short book, written in the style of an informative and impassioned pamphlet, is painfully accurate in its assessment of the idiocy that passes for sexuality in the dormitory. Freitas' argument is well-researched and well-grounded, and she is sharp enough to condemn hookup culture on sexual grounds, rather than ethical grounds.... Her indictment couldn't be stronger.... Freitas's work is important because it offers a third way toward sexual independence and autonomy in an America caught between Puritanism and pornography. Rather than morally condemning college students for promiscuity or telling them to treat romance with the detached analysis of the headhunter, she is promising them that better sexmore fun, excitement, and intensityis available."
Wall Street Journal
"Illuminating.... Using extensive survey research and dozens of interviews with young men and women on college campuses across the country, Ms. Freitas explodes the myth of the 'harmless hookup.'... Freitas's book is a timely and alarming wake-up call to students, college administrators and parents, and she presents a compelling argument against the hookup culture.”
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Freitas' conclusion about the hookup culture - that it "silences, shames, isolates, and disempowers students, quashing their ethics, desires, and differences, their need for respect and connection, and their need to be treated with bodily dignity, to express emotion, and the experience of pleasure" - is going to alienate some readers even before they crack open her book. Even if readers don't agree, though, there is an objective argument to be made about the consequences for this generation once they begin attempting to settle down and form long term relationships without the benefit of learning from the dating mistakes everyone makes in their teens and twenties. Not surprisingly, the most compelling portion of the book comes when Freitas discusses Kerry Cronin's work on the challenges and benefits of actually getting students to try dating rather than hooking up, since Ms. Cronin is one of the few people who've taken practical steps to address this gap.
Unfortunately, that is one of the few highlights.
First, the methodology for many of her arguments is simply atrocious. "The End of Sex" is largely composed of a quantitative analysis of the data set of Freitas' earlier book, Sex and the Soul, which received high praise from someone as distinguished as Harvey Mansfield for her qualitative approach as a "welcome change from the neutral questions and narrow statistics" of quantitative social science. While the in-depth interviews in "Sex and the Soul" certainly provided some interesting insights, Freitas - a professor of religion who is familiar with the classics but not qualitative methods - outsourced the data analysis after she completed her survey. Unfortunately, her decision to not seek the same assistance in setting up the survey proves fatal here.
While Freitas has gathered a sample of 2500 students in 7 undergraduate settings to discuss their habits, many of the answers received from this data set don't correspond to other research that's available, probably because there are some fairly obvious holes in how she collected and sorted the data. Among them is her bewildering decision to frequently categorize her results by the respondents' choice of college; about the only meaningful correlation suggested by this is the unsurprising revelation that evangelical college students have somewhat different values than their peers elsewhere.
In addition, much of her application of this data is equally questionable. One of the more eye-popping arguments she tries to form is that since 75% of her respondents disagreed with the question "sex is primarily the taking of pleasure from another person" it follows that that the same 75% therefore disagree with "the notion of hookup sex as a purely physical experience." A full dissection of the problems here would take several pages, but suffice it to say that Freitas is on far more solid ground reviewing philosophy than reviewing data.
A major concern in both books is that Freitas is largely silent on what might be a happy medium for young adults between the extremes of abstinence projects like Anscombe at Princeton (which she admires save for their problems with LGBT students) and the hookup raunch she condemns. The role of and health of sex as a part of a committed relationship is entirely omitted besides a suggestion that "(for) committed student couples...press(ing) pause on (their) sex life can be empowering." It's possible this might work for a small group of students, but overall this is not substantially more helpful than her belief that reading Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, St. Augustine's Confessions, and Plato's Symposium can serve a significant role in helping students not succumb to the temptation of hookups. Freitas is probably on to something when she suggests that colleges should consider spending resources to help students think about dating and relationships, and there is certainly a valued place within academia for the use of classics to help students grow into ethical and moral adulthood. However, it's not clear that her reading list would discourage hookup culture outside of the occasional philosophy department.
Finally, despite including panel discussions with with sociologist Mark Regnerus and incorporating his earlier comments on the same subject, it is particularly odd that Freitas does not address his more recent work on premarital sex among young adults. Consistent with other sociologists who have done work on this area, Regnerus' analysis suggests that the prevalence of the hookup culture is exaggerated, that it occurs far more at elite universities than the vast majority of other colleges, and that college student behavior in aggregate shows a lot more diversity than is claimed by media reports. Ironically, during her lecture tour for "Sex and the Soul" Freitas admitted that in interviewing students on a larger campus she found them participating in more traditional relationships and believed that the size of campuses might make a difference, but unfortunately that observation doesn't make it into this book.
2 stars; Freitas' heart is in the right place and she's done a lot of thinking, but this isn't an effective book. For a more balanced and statistically robust look at this issue, try Regnerus and Uecker's Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying instead.
Soulless, primitive, unfulfilling hookup sex seems to be the norm. What she describes sounds like hell. The social pressure to enter this sexual hell seems to overwhelm almost everyone.
I do not care about Freita's religious believes and do not share them. What I highly appreciate is her fact-oriented description of the college student's sexual behavior, based on hundreds (1,500?) of interviews. I know from the testimony of close relatives, girls at college, that the author's description of the "cultural" college atmosphere and sexual mechanics - drunk males using intoxicated females as instruments for masturbation - are accurate.
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