,Perhaps you avoided the hookup culture altogether when you were dating your spouse, and therefore honestly can’t understand it at all. Or maybe you encountered your fair share of it when you were navigating the messy waters of love. Some of you, I’m sure are even wading through it now! One of the primary and most frustrating elements of today’s dating world is the fear of commitment. Timothy P. O’Malley, Ph.D. gives his students extra credit for going on a date and analyzing that date according to the art of dating (there are actual skills to be learned)! Timothy joins me on this episode of The Dignity of Women to unpack the popularized utilitarian concept of “hooking up,” which has sought to replace dating and therefore threaten the healthy process of communication leading into the entrance of marriage. Professor O’Malley looks at God, Love, Dating, and Marriage in a Hookup World.


Timothy P. O’Malley 

Timothy O’Malley is a Catholic theologian, author of three books, speaker, and managing director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. He is an associate professional specialist in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame, also serving as academic director of Notre Dame’s Center for Liturgy.

In his book, Timothy shares a lot of what he learned from his students about the “hookup culture” of today – which has largely replaced dating, and combats it with God’s plan for love. Timothy and his wife Kara live with their children in South Bend, Indiana.


Off the Hook 

Hookup culture is about much more than the quest for pleasure. It offers an easy way out of real communication and lasting relationships. It also teaches us to treat each other as objects for personal satisfaction. Even those who reject the hookup culture can still be negatively affected by it and develop poor habits of relating to others. In Off the Hook, Timothy P. O’Malley, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, shows how God’s plan for love serves to heal the wounds of hookup culture and is a medicine for what ails our understanding of sex, romance, love, and marriage.

Here are a few things Timothy discovered from students in his popular undergraduate course, Nuptial Mystery: Divine Love and Human Salvation:

  • Hookup culture is present in all his students’ lives, whether they’re hooking up or not.
  • Some students approach sex and love as transitory and fleeting transaction—they love the idea of romance; they love the sexual chase; and they crave the hookup, but not the commitment.
  • Other students have come to idolize the mystery of marriage and so their conception of what sex, love, and marriage will be like is overly romanticized and largely naive. This group lacks understanding about what real love and intimacy demand of two people in everyday life.

In Off the Hook, Timothy P. O’Malley explains how the ethics of hooking up shape relationships between men and women and examines the considerable harm to individuals and society that results. By exploring the sacrament of marriage in its biblical, theological, and liturgical dimensions, he offers Catholic young adults and those charged with their formation and pastoral care a wealth of insight into God’s plan for love.

Young people will find help grappling with the Church’s counter-cultural understanding of sex, love, and marriage. Parents and pastoral workers will discover a refreshing presentation of the Catholic theology of marriage and wise counsel about forming young people in the Church’s vision. Newly married, and even long-married couples will find hope, courage, and the promise of sacramental love that can sustain them for a lifetime.



  • Relationships beginning with sex
  • Narcissistic outlook towards relationships and shame in authentic love
  • Marriage as medicine for the hookup culture
  • Double standards of pride and shame
  • Cheaper sex (contraception, Tinder, porn)
  • Being afraid to move/act upon love (pursuing a woman)
  • Fear of giving everything/self
  • Debunking the theory of soul mates
  • Approaching Ephesians
  • Sanctification through mundane acts of love



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Kimberly Cook

Writer, Podcaster, Mother, & Catholic Apologist. Meet Kimberly