She concluded on a different note: “Women need to take some responsibility—they’re allowing themselves to be used. It can lead to sexual assault.”

Hooking up, in fact, shares the defining feature of a sexual assault: using another person for your own sexual gratification, without any regard as to what that person wants or how he or she feels. The philosopher Immanuel Kant—who warns against using another person as a mere means to some end—was closer to the truth than many of today’s sexual health experts when he wrote that sex “taken by itself … is a degradation of human nature.”

While sex necessarily involves another person, in the hook-up culture, it is predicated on the disregard of another person. “If all you are is your sexual nature,” a male student tells me, “you’re not a human anymore. You have no dignity.” If you only think of your hook-up buddy as a sexual object, then you have deprived that person of dignity, too.