Wednesday, July 30, 2008
NPR's Youth Radio program featured a story a few days ago called "Sex Without Condoms is the New Engagement Ring," about the sex lives of the reporter's friends. He described how people he knew would spend the first part of their relationship using condoms, and then when they decided to become monogamous, they would go together to a health clinic, get STI testing, and the girl gets another birth control method--like the pill.
There was a lot of patently racist commentary in the comments section which is kind of a downer, considering that it was NPR, and then a lot of reasonable people who said, 'Um, this is actually role model behavior. It just so happens that the role model is black and to many people, anything black people say about sex indicates irresponsible behavior.' I don't know why the reporter chose 'engagement ring' as his metaphor; I think it's a weak one, from a literary standpoint. But a commitment? Absolutely.
Using condoms consistently until you get tested (and know for sure you don't have anything/get treated for what you do have) is such rare behavior that these kids should be congratulated for being responsible. The majority of college students have sex first--usually protected from pregnancy only, because they're on some hormonal method--and ask questions about STIs later.
Like when they show up in my office with a herpes diagnosis and just 'didn't know' that they were at risk.