Not down with hooking up: resisting the culture

The word “hookup” is as vital to the college vocabulary as pronouns. But for some college students, it’s just a word, not a lifestyle.

While hooking up – or participating in a casual sexual encounter with little or no emotional involvement – is the norm, some students choose not to conform to the culture.

Sometimes hooking up means kissing, but it often means more. Some students, however, still care about commitment and are trying to revive it in a generation where a booty call is more common than a boyfriend or girlfriend.

“I think that the idea of commitment isn’t dead for the majority of people that I know, commitment is just defined in different ways,” said sophomore Nate Loehr, who has been in an exclusive relationship since the beginning of freshman year.

“Both sexes are primarily interested in having a stable committed relationship, it’s just harder to find and a little more elusive,” Loehr said. “I’m more of a sentimentalist in that I would rather have a formal relationship than a kind of less formal relationship of hooking up without commitment.”

For some, looking for commitment in a relationship goes hand-in-hand with religious beliefs.

“It’s a touchy subject among young Muslims,” said Mehdi Alhassani, president of the Muslim Student Association. “You’re only supposed to court or date if you have intention of getting married.” And even a committed relationship, he added, doesn’t make pre-marital sex acceptable to practicing Muslims.

“Sex is something that’s a sacred thing that’s between you and the person that you really love. (Muslims) value marriage and love so much that they just want to be committed to the person that they love,” Alhassani said.

The Newman Catholic Student Center is promoting abstinence and attempting to attract a diverse group of students from different backgrounds with a six-week series of discussions on love, sex and dating beginning Oct. 5.

“Hopefully (the series) will involve other religious groups on campus and other students who are interested in getting another perspective on dating and abstinence, or a different religious perspective,” Newman Center President Megan Lehnerd said.

Seminarian Johnny Burns, who is training to become a priest at the Theological College at the Catholic University of America, will lead the series.

Word Up! Bible Study also works to spread the word about abstinence before marriage, catered to a college crowd, by discussing the Bible’s perspective on sex and dating at meetings and in their “Sexology” discussion series.

“We go over everything based on the word of God, everything that a college student is faced with,” said Rita Simha, President of Word Up! Bible Study Group. “We discover what the bible says about it and that’s what we talk about.”

While Simha promotes abstinence before marriage, she is quick to say that it’s not the same as anti-sex.

“Sex is not a negative thing at all,” Simha said. “I think that there’s a misconception that there’s a negative connotation to sex. Sex is beautiful when it’s done in its appropriate time – and that’s with a man and a wife.”

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