Donna Freitas, author of a book entitled Sex & the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses. has some bad news for those who think that sending their kids to Catholic colleges will foster chastity. It doesn’t.
Freitas, an assistant professor of religion at Boston University, surveyed attitudes toward sex at seven institutions of higher learning including at seven colleges, including evangelical Christian, Catholic, and public and private secular institutions. The result? The hookup culture is just as prevalent among students at Catholic colleges as at secular institutions. The Evangelicals, however, do better.
One would think the colleges would divide according to religious affiliation, but they don’t. It’s evangelical colleges and everyone else. Students at Catholic schools showed up as nearly identical with regard to their opinions about sex and religion as students at nonreligious schools. That’s a real wake up to Catholic colleges.
Second, across the board, almost everyone, both men and women, was dissatisfied with hookup culture. The fact that it’s both men and women is really important, because everyone assumes that hookup culture is really bad for women. Men are just as unhappy.
I asked them to talk about their romantic ideals. Almost all the students left sex — even kissing — out of the picture, and so romance was almost asexual whether you were evangelical or not. It’s a very traditional, romantic, asexual, a very restrained sense of eros, in their romantic notions.
Before you pack up those college age kids in a few weeks and take them to the dorm thinking they are safe because they go to a Catholic college, you might want to have a chat or two first.