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By Sheeri Mitchell

Luke 6:38 (New International Version)

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Watching one of my new favorite shows, which revolves around high-schoolers (my term for adult actors who portray teens on T.V.), on the CW (I know, which one doesn’t?), I was reminded of the criteria for “hooking up.” There isn’t any – not really. If (s)he is cute “enough” and willing, it’s a perfect match made: here on earth, for: as long as it lasts. The attitude is that as long as both people consent, what’s the big deal? Nobody gets hurt. Everybody leaves happy and satisfied, right? Ummm -let’s examine that.

Whenever the conversation steers around to biblical morality, folks get nervous because they think all they’re gonna hear about is what they can’t do and condemnation for what they’ve already done, or are in the habit of doing. But I’m here to encourage you to consider looking at “hooking up” from a different perspective. Instead of asking why we shouldn’t, let’s ask “Why should we hook-up?”

Before continuing, let’s define the term. To “hook up” with someone is to encounter them sexually on some level. At its most “benign” hooking up is tongue-kissing and heavy petting (i.e. groping). In the instances where alcohol is involved, I prefer to call it “drunken fumbling.” No part of the body is off limits to wandering, prying, poking, prodding hands and fingers, and/or darting tongues. At its most extreme, hooking up involves, but is not limited to, penetration. Anal, oral, vaginal insertion of the penis or another object for mutual satisfaction is usually the focus of the encounter.

Now that we’re clear on what hooking up is, let’s examine why we should do it.

Hooking up is exciting.

To spot someone you find attractive and set about getting close to that person as a means of sexual conquest can be an entertaining and engaging endeavor. One of the benefits is that a long-term commitment is neither required nor necessarily expected. So a person is free to satiate a natural urge without having to expend the energy required to sustain a relationship or (depending upon the people involved) a conversation. It’s as easy to understand as the concept behind fast-food restaurants. Drive up, grab what you want, fill up, move on. Although hook-ups can often serve as the introduction to longer term relationships, the name itself explains the point. Hook ups are temporary. You hook up. You unhook. You get on with your life.

I know and have known over the years several men and women who conduct their entire dating lives this way. Some have “broken down” and gotten married as a last resort to ending up alone, once they got older. Some are determined to maintain their bachelor or bachelorette status – maintaining that the freedom they experience is worth it. Almost every one of the people I know who have pursued a hook up lifestyle, however, have at some point confessed to just feeling tired. For some of them, there came a point when hooking up was not enough anymore. Their hearts desired more than a temporary fix could provide. While their souls ached to belong to and to be accepted by someone, their physical encounters prevented just that. While hook ups can be convenient, like fast food, building a life around them can lead to long term problems and possibly death. But if you are not a spiritual person and figure that you may as well die happy, then you might not be like any of the folks I know, and growing tired of the repetition might not be something you’ll ever encounter.

Hooking up is an easy short cut to physical intimacy.

At least for the few moments that the people involved come together (no pun intended) there exists a semblance of closeness. Body to body, heartbeat to heartbeat, warm skin to warm skin, gives two people a glimpse of something profound and beautiful. The fact that what they experience is a counterfeit of true love is besides the point. For the moment, they experience a one-of-kind-experience (as unique as they are) with another human being – one that is as old as humanity itself – and gratifying, at least until it’s over.

Hooking up teaches us how to treat sex purely as a biological function.

“It didn’t mean anything,” says the girlfriend who sleeps with her best friend’s man. “It just happened,” the cheating boyfriend offers lamely. I’d add “sheepishly” except that the more sophisticated and advanced we become as a culture, the less embarrassment we feel over doing “what comes naturally.” Sex is just sex after all – no biggie. If God didn’t want us to have it, he would have never invented it. Does He put restrictions on it?

Hooking up keeps things light and fun.

All that is required to hook up time after time is to make sure that you don’t cultivate any feelings above your waist for another human beings. Two consenting adults don’t need permission to objectify one another for the sake of being able to connect at will and at random. It really only becomes a drag if one or the both of them start to get too attached and insist on forcing a relationship out of a purely physical encounter. Squeezing blood from a turnip is probably easier and much more gratifying. But to each his own.

Hooking up is a form of freedom.

I am certain that no HIV/AIDS patient would disagree with this statement. Hooking up leaves you free to contract every sexually transmitted disease in existence, which is not really a problem since health care is inexpensive and relatively easy to come by, especially if you’re unemployed and living in the United States. For those who live life with no restraints, refusing to get tested for STD’s is the ultimate expression of freedom. Refusing to get tested means that you have no responsibility to share any unpleasant news about your health with your sexual partners, because you have no knowledge that anything is wrong with you. Ignorance is bliss after all.

Hooking up is great practice for divorce.

I can think of no better way to ensure that you will experience divorce than by sleeping around or committing to sexual serial monogamy – and not for the reason you think. In a mutually exclusive relationship, like marriage, habitually having sex with someone who is not your spouse can certainly put a quick end to it. But the truth is that many marriages survive adulterous affairs. Hooking up and sexual serial monogamy program us to give ourselves physically to another then leave. In this case, sexual serial monogamy may be even more harmful because it mimics marriage more so than hooking up does. Really they are just two sides of the proverbial coin. Hooking up is the practice of seeing what you want and going after it. You have sex and then leave right away. While sexual serial monogamy involves developing an emotional and spiritual bond, reinforcing it with a sexual bond, then breaking up – y’know – eventually. But again – you may be one of those people who thinks divorce is great. In fact, you may be one of those people who refuses to marry because you’re convinced that divorce is inevitable. And in the case of sexual serial monogamists – you just might be right.

In summary, we should engage in hooking up because:

Hooking up is exciting.

Hooking up is an easy short cut to physical intimacy.

Hooking up teaches us how to treat sex as a biological function.

Hooking up keeps things light and fun.

Hooking up is a form of freedom.

Hooking up (or it’s close cousin, sexual serial monogamy) is great practice for divorce.

When I look at this list, albeit incomplete, all I can see is that hooking up and sexual serial monogamy are frauds. They profess to offer (in theory) what in fact they cannot produce. As exciting as hooking up can be, nothing is more soul-stirring than the genuine, committed love between a man and wife, which culminates in hot, steamy or slow sensual sex (take your pick). Sex like this is enhanced because it is a by-product of an intimacy born out of communion – an exchange of thoughts, feelings, deeds, goals, plans, hopes, dreams, accomplishments, struggle, triumphs, and tragedies – not the microwave of a crowded club perfumed by cologne, sweat, body heat, pheromones, and alcohol. Although sex is a biological event, it is a beautiful and unique way God has gifted a husband and wife to achieve unity, not just of body, but of souls. Sex is a soul-joining act, sacred – set apart for – and most beautiful within a God-ordained marriage. To treat it as anything less is to cheapen and distort it. Although many people claim not to have a problem with divorce, many divorced people often regret theirs. I have yet to meet a couple who entered marriage hoping that it would end in divorce. Why is that?

I think it’s because we are designed to engage in life-giving relationships. We are designed to benefit from intimacy – true intimacy. Fraudulent intimacy, which is usually physical only, destroys our souls and hardens our hearts. Fraudulent intimacy is based on taking, sucking, stealing, and perverting. True intimacy is based on giving, often sacrificially for the good of another human being. Where fraudulent intimacy objectifies, true intimacy cherishes and imparts value, leaving those who participate in it built-up, encouraged, strengthened, hopeful. Did you experience any of these from your last hook up?

When we learn to tell counterfeit from True Love, then we stand a chance at discovering a glimpse of the true communion for which we were ultimately created. All love has but one Source. The true love we experience in this reality is but a small, tantalizing taste of what awaits us in eternity. That is why counterfeits exist. If you can manage to clutter your life with fakes, you will remain distracted long enough to never pursue the The Real Thing (and we’re not talking soda here), until you run out of time. No one lives forever. Stop wasting your time. You deserve better. Don’t settle.

I encourage you, Family, don’t be duped, punked, played, tricked, or deceived. Whatever and wherever you invest your time, energy, talents, efforts, love is what you will have in the end. With that truth in mind, I assure you that hooking up is not the move. You are far too valuable to engage in such debasing behavior.

Be blessed Family!