Gospel Hope in Hookup Culture

Owen Strachan | January 23, 2017


If you’ve followed major trends in American life, you’ve heard of “hookup culture.” A brand-new book, American Hookup, by sociologist Lisa Wade shows that boundaries-free sexuality is now the dominant force in shaping campus sexual culture. Wade’s text, driven by reports from students themselves, shows that many are bewildered and broken by modern sexual codes. Wade believes the solution to this reality is to dive further into hookup culture. “We need to say yes to the opportunity for casual sexual encounters,” she argues, and to “a way of being sexual that is forward-thinking and feels good” (25, 246).

I’ve interacted with Wade’s work for the Center for Public Theology, and believe there’s a better approach. Here are four ways we may respond to hookup culture with the biblical sexual ethic.

1. Promote an ethic that focuses on the whole person, not ‘hotness.’

The “ultimate goal in hookup culture,” according to Wade, “isn’t just to hook up, it’s to hook up with . . . a hot person” (34).

Christians aren’t squeamish about beauty and sexual attraction. God clearly wants married couples to enjoy the gift of sex (Gen. 2:24–25; Song of Songs). Sex comes from the pure mind of…


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