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Researcher probes the meaning of sex in Sept. 18 lecture about college’s ‘hookup culture’

Where else but in college can young adults learn so much, meet so many people and have so much fun? “Hookup sex” is a big part of this culture, nationwide, but while it’s supposed to come with no strings attached, this form of frequent, casual sex can create an enormous amount of stress and drama among participants, says author and lecturer Donna Freitas.

Freitas will meet with Salve Regina undergraduates when she presents, “The Truth About Hookup Culture (and Figuring Out the Meaning of Sex Within It)” on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in Bazarsky Lecture Hall, located in the O’Hare Academic Center.

"Hookup sex is fast, uncaring, unthinking, and perfunctory,” Freitas writes in “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy,” which was published last April. “Hookup culture promotes bad sex, boring sex, drunken sex you don't remember, sex you could care less about, sex where desire is absent, sex that you have 'just because everyone else is, too,’ or that ‘just happens,’ she writes.

“They have been taught to believe that hookup culture is normal, that everyone is enjoying it, and that there is something wrong with them if they don’t enjoy it, too. What could be better than sex without strings? Yet, in fact, many of them — both men and women — are not enjoying it at all.”

Freitas, who taught religion at Boston University and at Hofstra University, has written many books, both nonfiction and fiction, including “Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses.” She is currently a non-resident research associate at the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame.

Additionally, she has written for several national newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Newsweek. She has also been invited to discuss her work on NPR, The Today Show and other media outlets.

Her talk is sponsored by Salve Regina’s departments of Religious Studies & Theology, Sociology & Anthropology, Student Affairs, Athletics and First Year Experience.