Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children

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Puritanboard Amanuensis
McIlhaney, Joe. M.D. Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children

Thesis: sexual activity releases numerous chemicals into the brain that create emotional and neurological bonds between the participants. These bonds are values-neutral, even if the activity isn’t. The implication is that someone can find himself or herself bonding with the other even if he isn’t aware of it.

The authors give scientific explanations on what happens to the brain when the body engages in physical touching, sexual activity, etc. The chemicals create something like an addiction. For married couples, this is good. Sex makes them addicted to each other. I think there are passages in Paul and the Gospels where it says the same thing from a spiritual perspective (“one flesh,” “come together,” etc.).

But here’s the thing. This book got many angry because it seemed “preachy.” It isn’t. There is almost no discussion of religion or ethics. In fact, much of it is quite compatible with an evolutionary perspective (at least in the sense of the chemicals could be seen to further the continuation of the species, etc.). Why did people get mad? Because it tells the truth about hookup culture.

The book’s value is that it explains why premarital sexual activity is harmful at a deeper level than just “pregnancy” or “STDs.” Young people often need to know the rationale behind the prohibition.


Staff member
It is interesting to me that the general conclusions you describe are almost exactly what my farm-wife grandmother used to talk about in the 60s. She didn't talk about chemicals in the brain, but she warned about deep connections you'd get when you weren't ready for them, and how that would mess up finding and living with one you want to be with for life.

She wasn't religious, either. But she was astute.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Casual sex and p0rn - the two tar pits that are messing up 100s of millions of relationships.


Puritan Board Sophomore
People who engage in casual sex and the hookup culture aren't completely oblivious to this either (though they rarely openly admit to it).

I remember in my teens a family member known for his numerous sexual encounters telling me about his latest bacchanal episode with a girl at a party, and how he hoped it wouldn't "get weird" between them now.

"Get weird?" my prurient teen mouth inquired.

"Yes," he said. "Sometimes after you have sex with someone, it just gets weird between you. I don't know how to explain it."
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