Not that long ago, a small town in Massachussets got a lot of attention because there appeared to be a "pregnancy pact" among teenage girls at the local high school. More than a dozen misguided young ladies, allegedly, intentionally got pregnant. That incident illustrated the extreme confusion in our society about the beauty of motherhood and its appropriate place in a lifelong marriage. Moreover, it showed no understanding of the crucial element of love and commitment for sexual relations. Now, it appears a new trend might have that story beat. National Public Radio recently aired a story highlighting what today's youth believe "real commitment" looks like (click here for story). The piece describes how one knows a relationship is serious and committed when "the condoms come off."
Everyone knows that these days more and more young people are choosing to live together prior to walking down the aisle, despite the statistically proven increase in likelihood of divorce for cohabitators. But many people would be shocked to know that instead of a diamond ring to signify a future together, young people are simply acknowledging their vulnerability and trust through not protecting themselves during sex.
Prior to this story, I believed cohabitation was the most self-deprecating thing young women do. While some women are earnestly tricked into believing that testing compatibility is valuable, cohabitation is a guy's win-win situation. Girls believe living together is a step closer to their end goal of matrimony, while guys view it as a great stalling mechanism that allows all the benefits of marriage with no commitment: sex, cooking, cleaning, half the rent and more.
I know now that there are worse things than cohabitation. Women are trading in the beautiful tradition of a man saving his hard-earned money to demonstrate his commitment and love through a diamond ring for a glimmer of hope that he might be serious, demonstrated through the potential of sharing STDs. How romantic.