Sex Without Condoms Is The New Engagement Ring Youth Radio's Pendarvis Harshaw says that among his friends, the transition from condoms to no-condoms signifies a lasting commitment — more so even than walking down the aisle.
NPR logo

Sex Without Condoms Is The New Engagement Ring

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Sex Without Condoms Is The New Engagement Ring

Sex Without Condoms Is The New Engagement Ring

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Today's Thursday. That is Day to Day's day for...


What's the New What is our series of commentaries from Youth Radio about new trends in young America.

CHADWICK: Here is Youth Radio's Pendarvis Harshaw with today's new What.

PENDADRVIS HARSHAW: What's the new What? Sex without a condom is the new engagement ring.

My generation has known the threat of HIV-AIDS our entire lives. And sex without a condom isn't something we enter into lightly. For a lot of my friends, the transition from having sex with, to sex without a condom, is seen as a symbolic engagement. It shows trust, commitment, and the prospect of a shared future. An engagement more practical than spending money on a piece of jewelry for a marriage that might not pass the test of time. Now, close your eyes, and envision the classic love story.

(Soundbite of song "Here comes the Bride")

Mr. HARSHAW: Ah, it sounds a little bit like this, right?

(Soundbite of record scratching)

Mr. HARSHAW: Engagement 2.0 goes something more like this.

(Soundbite of hip-hop beat)

Mr. HARSHAW: First, a couple has an intense sit-down, during which they decide if they're ready to trash those Trojans. If things are right to take that plunge, they swap that trip down the aisle for a hand-in-hand down the health clinic hallway, where they get screened for STDs and choose a method of birth control, such as pills, patches, or shots. Losing the latex doesn't mean that young folks are looking to have babies. On the contrary, the majority want to steer clear of children and disease, while enjoying the pleasures of healthy sex.

Unidentified Woman #1: To have sex without a condom is to say that I trust you, and I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.

Unidentified Man: If I make a decision to, you know, skip the condom process, then, you know, it's safe to say, I love you, without me saying that.

Unidentified Woman #2: You know, a ring is very temporary. You can, sort of, just take that ring off. Whereas, you know, if you don't use condoms, and you get an STD, then it's, sort of, a much less temporary result of your engagement than a tan line on your finger.

HARSHAW: Do you take this disease-free person to be your sexual partner?

Unidentified Singers: (Singing) I do.

Mr. HARSHAW: By the power vested in me, I now pronounce sex without a condom, the new engagement ring.

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Just imagine me, it's like thick and thin, a promise forever that can never end. Ain't nothing in the world like committing yourself, to what we call love and not nothing else. They've been doing this ever since Adam and Eve, they've been doing this for centuries.

COHEN: That's Youth Radio's Pendarvis Harshaw.

CHADWICK: Pendarvis is the new Ben. I'm sure you have something to say about Pendarvis' new What. Don't be shy, let it all out by emailing us.

COHEN: The address is

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.