WorldView Series Concludes with “Sex and the Soul”

D. FreitasThe fourth and final 2013 WorldView event, “Sex and the Soul” by author Donna Freitas, drew an intergenerational audience, including many college students, professors, and community members.

Freitas shared the results of her extensive research project, which included conducting hundreds of interviews and polling thousands of students in four college categories: evangelical, Catholic, public, and nonreligious private. Her research found that evangelical Christian college students differ from the other colleges on the connection between sexuality and spirituality.

Freitas explained the “hook-up” culture that dominates many college campuses, mainly those outside of the evangelical category. While students in the other categories appear to be “training themselves” to be ambivalent about sex, said Freitas, students in evangelical colleges consistently consider sexuality within the framework of their faith and religion.

Findings from Freitas’ research are based on 2600 online surveys, 112 in-person interviews, and 108 journals.

  • 37% of evangelical college students said that chastity is valued on campus, compared with 0% of all other college types.
  • 36% of non-evangelical college students said they were “fine” with hook-ups, though few said hooking up made them happy.
  • 45% of students at Catholic and 36% at nonreligious private and public schools say their peers are too casual about sex.
  • Of participants from Catholic, public, and nonreligious private schools, 41% of the students hooking up felt profoundly upset about their behavior.

About Donna Freitas

D. FreitasDonna Freitas is the author of Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses, published by Oxford University Press in 2008. Her follow-up title is The End of Sex (Basic Books).

Freitas has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Newsweek, and she has appeared on NPR, “The Today Show,” and other news media outlets.

Freitas has been a professor at Boston University in the department of religion and also at Hofstra University in their Honors College. She also writes children’s novels for Scholastic, Harper Collins, and FSG. She lives in Brooklyn.