What Everyone Should Tell Their Kids About Hooking Up

Originally published Thursday, 03 May 2012.

Does the hook-up culture surprise you?

It doesn’t surprise me.

As a culture, we prize independence and choice.  This trend applies to everything: from how we decide what stuff to buy, to how we approach our relationships.

Case in point:  one of the biggest trends in marriage today is, well, marriage not.  

The University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project, has identified a growing group of “non-married adults cohabiting.” (The old term: shacking up.)  Many don’t feel that the benefits of marriage are worth the price of commitment.

This trickles down into the young adult world, and feeds the hook-up culture.

Here’s what I think we should tell our kids about it:

God’s design for marriage isn’t about you getting what you want.  It’s about giving. Committed and full life giving to one other person: emotionally, physically, fiscally, legally, socially.  A whole bunch of -ally’s.

Through giving, we grow. We are changed. That’s the plan God has for our hearts.

There is really no other relationship like marriage.

It’s not an easy plan, though, and I can understand trying to get around it.


There are many ways to do so.


And hooking-up is one of them.

In hooking-up, sex gets separated from full life commitment.  This unbundles the design that God created for sex.  Hooking-up really shouts: “What can I get out of you without having to completely give to you?”

Our kids need us to help them stop and pause over that one:  “Is that what makes a good friend?  A good spouse?”

There are lots of resources out there for how to introduce the topic of sex to kids of various ages.  But this is a different and equally crucial conversation.

This conversation is about the Godly intertwining of love, sex, and commitment.

It should match what your kids can understand.   Start low and go slow, is the old saying in medicine.

But start! Now is better than never.

Start the conversation.

Question: Do you talk to your kids about the meaning of sex in love and marriage? About the hook up culture?  What do you say?


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The best way we learn is from each other.  You have a unique wisdom and insight that can truly bless others!  So jump in and add your voice.  I love to read what you share.


Dr. Ann is a Christian M.D., wife to her wonderful husband, and mom to a terrific gang of three.  At The Marriage Checklist Ann blogs about marriage, motherhood, and more!  She is syndicated on Crosswalk.com, and has been featured on BlogHer.com, MichaelHyatt.com, Fox news, and Good Morning America.  

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Are you ready then?  Let’s go!

Copyright Dr. Ann 2012