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August 5, 2008

No glove = love?

Filed under: News — posted by Amanda @ 8:00 pm

NPR’s recent on-air essay about sex without condoms has drawn quite a bit of debate. Speaking on the “What’s the New What” series, Oakland teen Pendarvis Harshaw reported that for his peers these days, forgoing condoms “signifies taking monogamy to a new level” — one where “partners are required to trust each other completely.”

Harshaw called this Commitment 2.0 “the new engagement ring.” Several commenters on the story agreed that in an age where people choose to get married later in life, or not at all, this step is an unspoken strengthening of an already serious and monogamous relationship. Harshaw — since you’re wondering, slash, getting nervous — urges that both partners get tested for STIs and use other methods of birth control.

While other commenters voiced outraged at Harshaw’s report — saying the choice was a decision more of passion, or at least of nice-try excuse, than of love and respect — others were quick to remind them that married couples face the same risk of unwanted pregnancy or disease if a spouse strays. So if sex without a condom is the new engagement ring (and I myself know several instances of people waiting until marriage or an actual engagement before choosing this), then going off of the “orange is the new pink” theory, is sex WITH a condom the new emotional/committal virginity?

While we’re on the subject, here — maybe — is one way to avoid the risks of “the new engagement:” a safe sex license. Gothamist reports that, in a program founded by Bed Stuy’s Eli Dancy in 2004, over 15,000 people — after providing proof from a doc — have been issued their STFree cards. We’re wondering: would you trust the validity — or at least currency — of these licenses, and/or would you consider becoming a card-carrying member yourself?

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