What’s wrong with just hooking up with a girl?

The term “hooking up” can mean a lot of things, but it always means some kind of casual sexual contact, up to and including intercourse itself. Regardless of what you mean by it, you should not be having sexual contact with anyone who is not your wife. Even if you both like it, it shows mutual disrespect because you are exchanging a sign of commitment, love, and unity that does not exist.

Speaking of such relationships, Pope John Paul II said, “Deep within yourself, listen to your conscience which calls you to be pure. . . . A home is not warmed by the fire of pleasure which burns quickly like a pile of withered grass. Passing encounters are only a caricature of love; they injure hearts and mock God’s plan.”[1] In the long run, no one benefits from these kinds of relationships.

I read of one young husband who said, “I would do anything, anything, to forget the sexual experiences I had before I met my wife. . . . The pictures of the past and the other women go through my head, and it’s killing any intimacy. The truth is, I have been married to this wonderful woman for eight years and I have never been ‘alone’ in the bedroom with her.”[2]

When you “hook up” for fun, physical intimacy begins to lose its depth, greatness, sacredness, and power to bond two people. Sex is shared as easily as a handshake, and the couple lose all reverence for the sacredness of each other’s body. You begin thinking that physical pleasure is basically for fun and can solve the problem of boredom or loneliness. This leads to the idea that as long as two people agree to do something, then it is OK to do it.

Often this is nothing more than two people agreeing to use each other for mutual gratification. They receive the physical pleasure of being held and the emotional pleasure of being desired, and they remain together so long as they are a source of pleasure for each other. This is not far from prostitution.

You both desire and deserve love. But as long as you are treating one another as objects, you will never be satisfied because neither of you is giving or receiving real love. Have the courage to admit your mistakes with women, and do not fall back into the habit of using them or allowing yourself to be used by them. If you cannot lead a woman to holiness when you are not that interested in her, how will you lead a woman to God when you are head over heels in love with her? If you can be trusted with the smaller things, you will be responsible with the larger ones.

When you do meet someone you are seriously interested in, take it slow. Intense physical intimacy at the beginning of a relationship is a cover-up for the absence of love that failed to develop. The real love that you long for takes patience and purity. In fact, purity is the guardian of love.

[1]. Pope John Paul II, address, April 29, 1989, Antananarivo, Madagascar. As quoted by López, ed., The Meaning of Vocation, 28.
[2]. Tom and Judy Lickona, Sex, Love & You. (Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria Press, 1994), 74.

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