Hooked - Book Review

I heard about "Hooked" by Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush from my mother-in-law who heard about it on the radio. The subtitle of the book is "New Science on how Casual Sex is Affecting our Children."

I do a lot of premarital counseling, and it is staggeringly rare for me to counsel a couple in which both parties are entering marriage sexually pure. I also do a fair amount of regular marriage counseling, and have been confident for a while that premarital sex scrambles something for couples and individuals that is hard to sort out. This book is the science behind that scrambling.

McIlhaney and Bush are both ob-gyn physicians who are a part of a group called "The Medical Institute for Sexual Health." That institute has done a significant amount of testing and research on the response of the brain to sexual activity, and their conclusions are pretty fascinating.

To sum it up, the brain responds to sexual activity a way that promotes a long-term highly-committed sexual relationship. Casual sex, "hooking up," rewires the brain and desensitizes a person (male or female) to the brain chemicals that promote connection and intimacy. Because the brain chemistry of a person bonds them to another person, a person naturally moves more quickly into another sexual experience after a sexual relationship ends, attempting to recreate what they had previously. When this happens in a younger, under-developed brain, the rewiring can be difficult to unscramble.

The book has a lot of technical jargon, but it's well-explained. If you're a parent of a teenager, or a teenager yourself, you'll be able to understand the book. It isn't a page-turner, nor written particularly well (in my opinion), though the information alone makes the read well worth it.

I don't know where McIlhaney and Bush are spiritually; this is not a "True Love Waits" book written by church ladies trying to rob high school students of a fun prom night. It is a book written by doctors based on years of scientific research. But the conclusion is thoroughly biblical: sex inside marriage is great for a reason; but outside marriage, it can destroy your current and future relationships.


lisa said...

i find this stuff fascinating. my own scrambled brain has caused pain in my marriage that wouldn't be there had i made better choices when i was younger. i see that NOW - but try to convince me of it back then, and i wouldn't have listened or believed it. i wonder what needs to happen to convince teens and singles to wait.