“Morality is of the highest importance — not for God, but for us,” Albert Einstein said.
More than 50 years after his death, this quote is still relevant to us today. It builds on the idea that the motives behind words and actions have repercussions for others, as well as for society as a whole.
Let me explain by using the widely accepted hookup culture as an example. What I believe to be an offshoot of the “Free Love” movement of the 1960s, the hookup culture is particularly notable for the way it encourages people to use others as sexual objects.
We are told that the sexual objectification of women is reprehensible yet we’re bombarded by Hollywood (“No Strings Attached,” “Friends With Benefits” and every college movie ever made), by television shows (“Two and a Half Men,” “How I Met Your Mother” and many others) and by friends encouraging the use of others for sex.
There is also a double standard. Women who give in to sexual frenzy are labeled as whores, while men who have multiple partners are treated like champions. The consequences of a simple hookup, drunk or sober, extend long after the act of sex itself.
At some point in our lives, most of us imagine sex as a bonding moment between ourselves and someone that unconditionally loves us. We feel a sense of attachment to our romantic partner and that is alright.
Sex for the sake of love is OK because love is the ultimate gift you can give to someone. And the act is only truly pleasurable when an emotional component is involved. Otherwise, it’s just a physical gratification. However, sex is fun because it is subconsciously associated with procreation.
Reputations, integrity and self-esteem get tarnished only when people have sex for the wrong reasons, such as for boosting social status or because the desired person is attractive.
When a person uses another for anything (especially for sex), the other person feels worthless. Often enough, the perpetrator’s temporarily boosted self-esteem crashes as well. My worst experiences in life have been caused or worsened by friends not loving me in return. From what I have observed, the sex factor only multiplies those feelings of discontent and worthlessness. There’s no excuse for it.
Andrew Blitman is a senior majoring in marine affairs and biology.