Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Feb. 14, 2003 / 12 Adar I, 5763

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Look who lost the revolution | On Valentine's Day, one might ask: What's love got to do with it?

Answer, "not much," if you are a very young woman or girl and having sex with a whole lot of guys.

Apparently that description fits enough middle and upper-middle-class educated suburban girls these days that even the oh-so-politically correct Washington Post was a bit - just a bit - scandalized.

There writer Laura Stepp wrote recently of an 11th-grader in a very affluent suburb of Washington who, like apparently so many other girls her age, had regular "buddysex," or sexual encounters with so-called "friends," "in this case a half-dozen private-school boys, no strings attached." As this young girl described it, ". . .I didn't' even think of having a serious relationship. There was no romance. None." No intercourse, mind you, but lots of oral sex. That, according to Stepp, is no longer seen as sex by adolescents. And no, it's not all Bill Clinton's fault.

Welcome to the "girl hookup" culture.

Dozens of girls described it for Stepp.

A senior at one suburban Washington high school said, "she knows only three girls at that school who are involved in serious relationships. That's it. For most of the rest, hooking up is it."

Were some of them exaggerating? Undoubtedly. But this is a widespread phenomenon. As Pia Nordlinger outlined it for the "Women's Quarterly," (a publication of the independent Women's forum in Arlington, Va.) "...College these days is all about 'hooking up.' A 'hook up' is a night of naughty romping that may or may not include sexual intercourse. The 'relationship' usually ends when the girl tiptoes out the door next morning."

Both the Washington Post and the Women's Quarterly report that alcohol, specifically binge drinking, is a huge part of the "hook up" culture.

That may be one reason that in 1997 almost one-third of college women revealed in the Details Magazine "Sex on Campus" survey that "they had had sex with someone they didn't even like." Ouch. Why? "It just happened," they typically said.

Nordlinger is explicit in describing the scene. She went to many college campuses and discovered that "hooking up" was typical, but "dating" was an almost nonexistent phenomenon of the past. "When it comes to sex, a young man entering college today has it made" she writes. "He won't have to shell out for flowers, a pricey dinner or a sappy chick flick. He won't even have to call her the next day. Guess who won the sexual revolution?"

Indeed. (At least the guys think they won. It seems to me this is a game where both sides lose.)

In any event, both reporters found young women and girls over and over again wistfully longing for a little romance, a little courting, maybe a few flowers and yes, a call the next day. But rarely to any avail.

Interestingly, girls are not becoming more promiscuous, writes Stepp. In fact while more high school girls are having oral sex than 10 years ago, fewer are having sexual intercourse - 43 percent in 2001, vs. 51 percent in 1991. It 's just that now, the guys don't even pretend to be romantically interested in them.

It was probably inevitable that the "sexual freedom" that reached college campuses decades ago, and has now enslaved a generation of young people to the meaning of "it just happened," has crept down into the high schools and grade schools as well.

So, now what?

Well first, we need some moms and dads to step forward. Why are all these high school girls and guys off getting drunk and having sex in broom closets, as one girl described it, anyway? Whose alcohol and broom closets are they? Parents today are so terrified of their teens. And why not? They've too often been scared of their kids since almost the day they were born. The notion that they could step in, be a part of their teen's life, sometimes imparting wisdom, other times laying down the rules, but always leading, guiding and setting standards because mom and dad really do know best - well that is just not part of our modern lexicon.

What a loss. Most teens report that, perhaps even unbeknownst to their parents, their folks have a huge impact on their values and behavior - and that impact can be for the good.

Involved parents may not be the whole answer - but if these kids' own moms and dads won't intervene to protect these young people from themselves, who else is going to care enough to even try?

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.


Betsy Hart Archives

© 2001, Scripps Howard News Service