Recently, a young Jewish female student wrote the Forward about how she participates in “hookup culture” – freely having sex – with non-Jewish men. The question resulted in responses as well as a lively comments debate, though personally I found the comments more grounded in reality than the official respondents.

The student – whom I’ll call “Sarah” – seems to think, like many people her age, that the hookup culture has no consequences. She is wrong. Setting aside the possibility of sexual assault or disease, hookup culture has a far more insidious result: it greatly decreases marriage prospects.

Why?

As “Sarah” herself admits, she has no intention of marrying the non-Jewish “bad boys”, just having some “fun” with them. She likely hopes to marry a Jewish man later in life – say late 20s to early 30s like much of her generation.

Except those men are right there in college alongside her and her peers. They see “Sarah” and many of her friends hooking up with the 20% of men who are “really hot guys” on a regular basis. They feel the rejection whenever they themselves make earnest if clumsy attempts at romancing. Some don’t even try and retreat into an effectively celibate existence on “party” campuses.

These men know or later learn they are expected to be “Sarah”‘s Plan B, or C or D, when she’s grown up, gotten out of her wild phase and is ready to settle down. Some, worn down by experience, will ask themselves two simple questions:

1) If “Sarah” showed such contempt for real intimacy and loyalty when was hooking up, why should I trust her now?

2) Why should I have to romance, woo and make an incredible effort so that she gives me what she freely gave to those hot guys (Jewish or non-Jewish) back in college when she was at the height of her attractiveness?

Some guys will nevertheless agree to be a Plan B, and then both they and the “Sarah”s will learn the horrible truth about hookup culture: it leaves a lasting and destructive mark. Every man “Sarah” sleeps with leaves a psychological mark which will make it that much harder for her to retain attraction, love and devotion to her husband, something borne out in many a statistical study about promiscuity before marriage. This will greatly affect the chances of this “Plan B marriage” to succeed. And like it or not, the higher her sexual partner count, the fewer men will consider her marriage material, reducing the number of potential mates. No amount of social shaming will change this.

So, as it turns out, feminism is not the only culprit in the Jewish (and non-Jewish) sexodus. Hookup culture plays a big part as well. So my advice to “Sarah”, and all young girls who do want to get married one day and have children, and want to find the best possible man to do so:

Reject hookup culture. Prove you can think long-term rather than surrender to instant gratification like too many of the men and women of your generation. You will be better for it.