Sex and the Soul

Sex and the Soul : Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America's College Campuses

3.6 (145 ratings by Goodreads)
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Many young people grow up with a very simple notion of religion and sex: they don't mix. Sex outside of marriage is wrong, and that's all there is to it. But young people are surrounded by pressure to have sex, and once they go away to college, that pressure can become unbearable. College is also a place where many students question the faith they inherited from their families. Is there a relationship between sexual exploration and spiritual exploration? Can romantic relationships and sexual promiscuity shift, split, or even shatter religious identity? Is the much-hyped "hook up culture" during college a reality-or do students just take it on "faith," without investigating whether activities behind closed doors support this perception? Donna Freitas sought answers to these and many other questions from students themselves across the United States. She conducted a survey of over 2500 students at a variety of American colleges and universities-Catholic, Christian, public, and private secular-as well as over 130 in-depth interviews. Her findings will surprise you. Yes, students are having sex and questioning their faith. But they're not happy about it.In fact, many are troubled by the hook-up culture on campus, but feel powerless to do anything about it. Behind closed doors, they're not talking about having sex, but about how they wish they could stop. They also, however, feel let down by their churches. They want a faith that is relevant to their sex lives, but one that offers solutions that account for their real experiences and difficult questions, not simply more prohibitions. Steering the conversation away from bromides and jeremiads, Freitas both tells the stories of college students and lets them speak for themselves, offering us a window into what's really happening on campus today. This book will be invaluable to high school and college students, parents, teachers, administrators, religious leaders, scholars, and anyone interested in what college students have to say about the state of college sexual morality, romance, and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 35.56mm | 635.03g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • ill
  • 0195311655
  • 9780195311655
  • 835,116

About Donna Freitas

Donna Freitas is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Gender at St. Michael's College in Vermont. She received her Ph.D. from Catholic University. In addition to writing books, Donna regularly contributes to a number of magazines, newspapers, and webzines, including Beliefnet, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Christian Century, and School Library more

Review quote

"Freitas... has carried out the most extensive empirical research to date of college students' sexual practices, sexual ethics, sexual confusion, and sexual heartache... An unequivocal must-read for church leaders, college and seminary professors, and parents." --Perspectives: A Journal of ReformedThought"In Sex and the Soul, Donna Freitas models a lovingly Catholic attention to evangelicals, a surprisingly evangelical attention to Catholics, and a passionate, creative attention to the desires of all college students. Freitas is America's foremost young writer on how religious traditions impact everyday life." --Tom Beaudoin, author of Consuming Faith"Sex and the Soul is both disturbing and hopeful. Donna Freitas is a skilled and sympathetic interlocutor, and her prescriptions for addressing the 'hookup culture' merit serious consideration." --Randall Balmer, author of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture inAmerica"Relying on exhaustive research and analysis, this unflinching work delivers both a widely comprehensive and deeply intimate portrait of hook-up culture in this formidably spiritual generation, examining its contradictions, broken hearts, and impossible promises like no one has before. Sex and theSoul should be required reading for anyone interested in today's campus culture -- and tomorrow's adulthood." --Lauren Sandler, author of Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement"How to explain the rise in the 'spiritual but not religious' option among U.S. college students? Might sex have something to do with it? In this provocative book, one of the country's foremost scholars of religion and youth culture answers this question with an emphatic YES! At the heart of this pathbreaking (and heartbreaking) book are the stories of college students 'searching alone' for ways to bring their bodies into conversation with their beliefs. Smart, learned, beautifully written, and above all humane -- this book should jump-start a national conversation on how the sexual revolution has trapped students as much as it has freed them." --Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know -- and Doesn'tNamed one of the Best Religion Books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly ''Fascinating, disturbing...Freitas's tone is engaging and her writing persuasive...Freitas's work chronicles a poignant spiritual loss that students themselves articulate and mourn.''--Publishers Weekly"Candid, disturbing, yet ultimately hopeful...Throughout this beautifully written book, Freitas presents students' feelings and experiences in an unflinching yet compassionate way. You care about these young people and their struggles. This book is a great service to students, parents, and those at colleges and universities who want to prepare young adults not just for the workplace but for healthy and fulfilling lives." --Christian Science Monitor''Fascinating...provocative...Anyone with any interest in mentoring young people should read this book and its recommendations, because there's great hope and wisdom in them.'' --The Weekly Standard''A wonderful, mind-clearing book...Freitas's book is a boon to anyone who not only cares about our nation's young people, but who has previously learned about this phenomenon only through rumors or anecdotes. Read her book, based on dozens of interviews, for the real scoop.'' --James Martin, SJ, America''Freitas's book should scare Catholic parents into asking some honest questions early and often.... Freitas has opened those dorm rooms a crack and allowed us to hear how we're doing. We need to listen up.'' --Commonweal"The level of technicality of the writing is formal but also easily understood. The author descibes her ideas and findings in general yet detailed ways and provide helpful definitions and explanations of terminology." --Hennie Weiss "Sex and the Soul is s powerful read and excellent...The candid, eye-opening narrative removes the barriers of ignorance and equips individuals to dialogue more openly about spirituality and sexuality." --Christy Rowden "In general, the book provides a quality read for those interested in how religion intersects with the sexual decision-making of young adults." --BYU Studies Quarterlyshow more

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION ; 1. The Varieties of College Religious Experience ; 2. Romance: Purity Princesses, Chivalrous Warriors, and First Time Hopes ; 3. Bedroom Communities: Sex on Campus ; 4. Religion & Sex on Campus: God vs. My Boyfriend ; 5. Building a Better, Sacred Canopy on Campusshow more

Rating details

145 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
5 20% (29)
4 38% (55)
3 28% (40)
2 11% (16)
1 3% (5)
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