BLOG 7: Hildebrand as an antidote to hookup culture

Dietrich von Hildebrand is a philosopher who focused on aesthetic, beauty, and ethics in relation to love and marriage. The part of his writing that would serve as the best antidote to the hook-up culture is his focus on conjugal love between a man and a woman because of its link to the possibility of procreation. The biggest issue that created hook-up culture is the fact that society has forgotten that the purpose of sex is to create children and focuses on it simply for pleasure. He writes that “the fact that the closest communion of love between two people produces a new human being mysteriously reflects the fruitfulness of love as such” (Hildebrand 30). Having an understanding that sex is a way of creating fruitful procreation would have the ability to sway members of the hook-up culture into not participating as much.

I personally believe that one of the problems with some of the other philosophers we read is that they shamed sex even in cases of marriage. His ideas on consecrated virginity as equally morally good to having sex within a marriage would antidote hookup culture as well. I think part of the reason more people are participating in casual sex these days is that it is taboo. People like having fun and breaking the rules in order to brag about it to their friends. To take this idea a step further than Hildebrand’s writings, if sex was less taboo maybe hook-up culture would be less of a problem.

Another aspect of Hildebrand’s writing that would help heal the broken wounds of the hookup culture is the complementary aspects of men and women. However, I believe that his argument would need to be changed a little bit to fit modern day times. While he argues that gender roles are what make a marriage good and important, I think we can focus simply on the fact that two people must compliment each other in general to have a healthy marriage. Opposites attract and different personality types who share things in common are what create a proper relationship. Focusing on the idea that a loving relationship where people learn to complement one another prior to sex could help mend hookup culture.

I disagree with the way Hildebrand presented his “compliment” argument because of his need to focus on gender roles. His idea that this union must occur between a man and a woman because of procreation does not make sense. If a woman is unfertile that does not mean a marriage can not take place, so I do not see a problem with gay marriage in terms of procreation.

As far as this blog post question goes, I am not sure that it is completely fair or valid. Some people in this class do not see a problem with hook-up culture, yet the question assumes that we all think it is wrong.



  1. I like how you extend on Hildebrand’s notion of the complimentary aspects of marriage and apply it to the modern times by adding your own interpretation of it. In your argument of Hildebrand’s “compliment” argument, I think Hildebrand’s piece is less focused on gender roles and is talking about a strictly biological need to procreate. Even if a woman is infertile, she still has a biological instinct to procreate, and that is what Hildebrand regards in the “compliment” argument. I think Hildebrand considers procreation an element of a marriage but not necessarily the most important thing, even in his “compliment” argument. He actually seems to denounce physical union and sex throughout his writing. However, in agreement with your argument, this compliment nature of marriage may also agree with same-sex marriage, if it is coming from a hormonal or personality level as you extend it to.


  2. Sierra I liked your analysis of Hildebrand and the way that you expanded on his ideas of the good of married sex. I find your hypothesis of sex as counterculture very intriguing. I had always assumed that hookup culture arose from the normalizing of sex, which it has definite become since… well since forever. It is interesting to think that increasing this normalization of sex would result in the decrease of the culture that it created. It would be interesting to see if this thought would hold true. I also agree with the way that you challenged Hildebrand’s definition of compliment. I think that the definition would have to be edited with the new culture to include the different relationships that are recognized today.


  3. I enjoyed your analysis of Hildebrand and it showed that you had a good understanding of the most important aspects of the reading. I think you connected it well to hook up culture and the personification of love that we discussed earlier. I also liked that you challenged Hildebrand’s position regarding the procreation and complementary aspect of marriage. I think Hildebrand’s argument stems solely on the biological side of sex but I definitely understand your points. Infertility is such an important aspect of marriage but while it limits a couple’s ability to have children, it does not impact their ability to love and should not influence their marriage.


  4. Sierra, I like your discussion on the complementarity present in marriage and in Hildebrand’s argument. As the other comments have mentioned, I also interpreted Hildebrand to be discussing complementarity in terms of biological differences, and not so much gender roles, but I understand where you’re going with your argument. I like your point about procreation—as someone who has already been warned that it will be very difficult for me to get pregnant in the future, I find some theologians’ arguments unsettling when they seem to imply that procreation is necessary for a marriage to be valid.


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