In her recent contribution to CNN Belief Blog, Dannah Gresh discusses what all too many people want to ignore when it come to sex and our recent hook-up culture. There has been plenty of research to indicate that sex creates a unique bond between two people, especially for the female. This is why it is easier for men to have multiple partners and be disconnected emotionally from each one and why women cannot.
Gresh confronts the issue of the lasting effects of hooking up with various partners as a Christian and from a scientific standpoint. Whether you call it hooking up, casual sex, one night stands or friends with benefits, the idea of multiple partners is the underlying similarity and they all have the same lasting effects.
Of course I believe that we need to defend sex within marriage only and can do so from Scripture. But this is not the only line of argumentation we have to use nor should it be the only one. All truth is God’s truth. God both inspired the Bible and created our bodies to work in certain ways.
We can look at sex (along with many other issues) from a number of angles such as biblical, cultural and social, just to name a few. To just focus on the scientific is not an abandonment of what Scriptures say on the subject. Rather, it is a testimony to the fact that God designed our bodies to work a certain way when is comes to sex and this fits harmoniously with what Scripture says about it. A scientific understanding of sex and it’s effects on the human person is not an abandonment of the Bible’s understanding. Science is a way of discovering how God made things to work. It is a window into God’s creativity and it tells us something about God and how he made us.
To that end here are some pertinent remarks Gresh makes:
Holding hands, embracing, a gentle massage and, most powerfully, the act of sexual intercourse work together to create a cocktail of chemicals that records such experiences deep into the emotional center of your brain.
It’s why we remember sexual experiences and images so clearly.
The bottom line is that you get “addicted” and “bonded” to the people you have sex with, even if they are “just friends.”
Here’s where the hookup culture starts to be a problem. What happens if you get caught up in the friends-with-benefits-game and have multiple partners? What happens when the partners you’ve become addicted and bonded to are gone?
You experience withdrawal symptoms in the emotional center of the brain.
Young women, especially, are likely to spiral into a depression when the source of their addiction isn’t interested in another hookup.
Casual sex is happening. We shouldn’t ignore it. That’s especially true of the faith community. But when we talk about it, we should use science. There’s nothing biologically brief about a hookup.