July 30, 2008
Want To Start A Comment War? Mention Unprotected Sex.

It started — rather simply — with a three minute NPR segment. As part of “What’s The New What?,” Pendarvis Harshaw offered his observations on a trend among young twentysomethings: using unprotected sex as a sign of commitment, rather than, say, something more traditional, like an engagement ring.

If anything, the piece advocates condom use, putting fluid bonding on the same level as holy matrimony. Harshaw mentions the importance of getting tested before dispensing with condoms, of having another method of birth control in place. But that’s not how many listeners saw it: on NPR, as well as other sites around the internet (including BoingBoing), commenters railed against Harshaw, calling his segment irresponsible, accusing him of advocating risky behavior, and acting as though he had put forth a call for all young kids to start fucking raw, pronto.

In a time when more than a few people have unprotected sex, casually and noncommitally, placing unprotected sex on the same level as matrimony, suggesting that people shouldn’t dispense with the condoms until they’re ready to commit, seems like a damn fine message to be sending.

So why the backlash? Are we just completely unable to deal with any message that advocates unprotected sex under any circumstances (except, presumably, when people are going for the babymaking)?

[Photo by becca_and_rich]

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  • Unsafe Sex a Sign of Comm&hellip says :

    […] bare shows “trust, commitment and the prospect of a shared future.” Today Boinkology highlighted the heated debated this segment generated, both on the NPR comment board and other […]

  • M says :

    I think it’s a great trend that goes to show that young people DO place a value on sex – we’re not all just running around, fucking everyone we meet, it does mean something to us.

  • Garrett says :

    I’m an older 20something and was raised in the fear-blanket of the 90’s. I think what gets me about this story is the patina of BAD Sex education around it. The notion that getting engaged/married is the goal.

    For horny young people tired of latex (and I’m not just saying guys here, as many BB commenters did, there are plenty of women I’ve known who didn’t care for condoms) is there going to be a “rush” to commit? Just puts me in mind of Catholic School (all male) where about a 1/3 of my senior class was “pre-engaged” to their girlfriends. For them it was a work around the religious prohibitions.

    Me? I was a heathen who slept around.

  • Isil says :

    Unprotected sex has certainly a place in the whole sex relationship spectrum.

    In the mean time i suggest everyone to try out durex condoms, they latex free and let heat pass by. kinda like the real thing

  • Loren Roderick says :

    Durex condoms are made out of laytex; they also frequently come with silicone lube so if you’re being really safe and using condoms with toys you can’t use Durex with silicone toys.

    Honestly I don’t see the ‘unprotected sex’ = ‘serious relationship’ as necessarily a new trend. From what I can tell it has been a pretty standard practice especially in the practitioners of serial monogamy, along with not getting tested frequently enough.

  • Anthony says :

    Unprotected sex is dumb: period. The lack of a condom does not make one committed in a relationship any more than a ring makes one committed. Commitment is an individual thing: either you’re committed or you’re not, nothing external has anything to do with commitment and, because we can fix our mouths to say anything, rather than listening to some smooth, contrived dialogue from someone whose sole objective is to get laid, you should error on the side of safety and protect yourself at all times. The best and most sacred commitment you will ever have is to yourself. Not only should you insist that condoms are used, for extra protection, you should demand that Collar Up is used as well because, if you’re screwing with a condom and it slips down even a little bit or comes off during use…, you’re really screwed!

  • Margot says :

    I’m a former safe sex fanatic who has gotten older and has, on and off, tried to get pregnant without a committed partner. What is more, I just love having my partner’s cum inside me. In fact, I felt I really missed out with that partner from my 30s, where we always used condoms. It’s scary, but in my 40s, I have had some unsafe sex. If you’d told me about this in my 20s and 30s, I never would have believed you.

    And I don’t think it’s all a bad thing. It’s beautifully intimate to fuck without a condom. And very sexy. I’m not advocating this for anyone, just being honest about something that happened to me, somehow, in the intersection between love, sex, need, loneliness, child bearing, intimacy and aging. And deciding I didn’t have all the answers, or any of them, about anything. Honest post, please don’t flame me.

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Monica Shores