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

ISBN : 9780190221287

Donna Freitas
352 Pages
159 x 231 mm
Pub date
Apr 2015
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First published in 2008, Donna Freitas's Sex and the Soul achieved national acclaim, illuminating the as-yet-unexplored struggles of college students navigating the lines of faith and sexuality. Conducting face-to-face interviews at a wide range of colleges and universities-from public to private, Catholic to evangelical-Freitas discovers what students really think about these highly personal subjects. Their stories will not only engage readers, but, in many cases, move them with the painful struggles these candid young women and men face. Indeed, the book uncovers aspects of college life that may unsettle some readers, especially parents. Many campuses, for instance, are dominated by a pervasive hook-up culture. Moreover, many students see little connection between sex and religion, even as they seek one between sex and spirituality. Indeed, these observations hold true even at Catholic schools. Only at evangelical colleges is religion an important factor when deciding whether or not to engage in sex. But Freitas's research also reveals that, even at secular schools, students are not comfortable with a culture of casual sex, and that they do want spirituality to speak about what they should do and who they should try to be-not just what they should avoid doing. This updated edition includes a new Afterword in which Freitas reflects on the hundreds of conversations she has had with college students since the book was first published, and offers further practical advice for dealing with hookup culture.


Foreword, by Lauren Winner
Introduction: Welcome to College. Meet Amy Stone: Tour Guide, Fashion Model, Straight-A Student
Section 1: The Varieties of College Religious Experience
1. The Spiritual Colleges: Souls Adrift
2. Why Catholic Schools (and Their Students) Are "Spiritual but Not Religious"
3. Evangelical Extroverts: Faithful and Diverse
Section 2: The Romantic Ideal
4. Evangelical Purity Culture: Its Princesses and Warriors
5. Wanted: A Little Romance
Section 3: The Truth About Sex On Campus
6. Where Dating=Marriage and a Kiss Means Everything
7. Hookups, Ho's, and Losing It
Section 4: Reconciling Sex and the Soul (or Not) on Campus
8. God vs. My Boyfriend
9. Dividing Sex from the Soul: Why Religion Doesn't Matter When It Comes to Sex
Section 5: Conclusions and Practical Implications
10. Seeking a Sexy Spirituality for Students on Campus
A Practical Guide to Sex and the Soul: Three Musts for Your College To-Do List, What to Say to Your Child, Student, Parishioner, Friend
Appendix: On Methodology

About the author: 

Donna Freitas is a Research Associate at the University of Notre Dame's Center for the Study of Religion and Society. A regular contributor to Publishers Weekly, she has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Christianity Today, and she has frequently lectured on Sex and the Soul at colleges and universities all over the country. She is also the author of The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy, and several young adult novels, including The Possibilities of Sainthood.

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