Hooking Up is like Having Sex with a Vending Machine, With One Exception: the vending machine takes change

By Mark Kurowski
Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When I was a student, “hooking up” meant I was going to call someone and get together with them for a casual evening.  It could be a man or a woman and we were just going to watch television, go see a movie or some other non-sexual activity.  Today, the meaning is very different.

“Hooking up” is a physical and emotional relationship between two people who may have a sexual relationship  or a near-sexual relationship without necessarily demanding or expecting the extra commitments of a more formal romantic relationship. (Wikipedia).  In other words, “Hooking Up” is using people as an object.

When we think of using people as slaves to make our economic production, we are horrified.  When we hear of people using others as scapegoats and using the “final solution,” we are mortified.  Somehow, when it comes to issues of sexual gratification our attitude becomes much more functional: “hey, whatever works for you,” we say.  At their foundation, slavery, internment and hooking up all have the same foundation, they dehumanize people.

What should separate human beings from animals is the ability to control the sex drive.  Sex has a function in life that is more than just reproduction. It is to express an undying love and commitment to someone else.  If it isn’t, then we are no different than animals, nor are we different than simple dispensing machines.  Hooking up denies our humanity.  It reduces sexuality to nothing more than an urge looking for satisfaction.

Besides the usual comments about sexually transmitted diseases, the fact your “connection” probably has “connected” with many others, and that it is a denial of a person’s sexuality, hooking up takes a tremendous psychological and emotional toll on its participants.  My office has been riddled with women AND men who have found out that their “hook up” was with someone with whom  they could have just as easily fallen in love.  If they had waited, they would have had the protection of sexuality to go with the sex.

Hooking up forgets that committed sexual relationships are a testament to the fact that sex should get better with the duration of a relationship.  Committed relationships probe the depths of pleasure, seek to please out of a deep sense of selflessness toward our spouse.  Committed sexual relationships have a degree of safety: I am not going to reject you after we are done.

Committed sexual relationships offer a sense of dignity: I am not going to look at you as a machine that gives me what I want, when I want for as little as possible.

I often wonder why it is that we don’t expect more from people who want our intimacy.  Why do we cheapen ourselves?  In the Barney Society, “you are special, you’re the only one like you…,” why do we participate in an activity that makes us no different than any other correctly ordered anatomical part?  This doesn’t even mention that in “hooking up” we fight the release of oxytocin, the love hormone, which makes us fall deeper in love with the person with whom we have sex, whether we want it to or not.

So, the question remains, are you a vending machine that puts out for anyone one who puts in a quarter, or are you a human being who deserves to be courted, loved, and desired like the crown jewel of God’s creation?