In what could only be seen as a moral victory for Puritans everywhere, American teens are inadvertently learning to "just say no" to birth control and safer sex practices.
According to a report by the CDC released last week, comprehensive sex education is not being taught to a third of our teens. Instead, they are learning to "just say no".
The problem is around half of our teens, grades 9-12, are actually having sex. So, the idea of just saying "no" to sex is leaving a third of our teens completely ill prepared for the experiences they are actually having - and opening them up to potentially devastating consequences.
For example, one of my friends' children was recently diagnosed HIV positive at age 15. Another 21 year old friend just died of AIDS. To me, this is infuriating, because there is absolutely no reason for this - other than blatent denial of reality.
The problem here is in the idea that a "moral" stance about sex is powerful enough to prevent sex from actually occurring. Sure, while sitting in a boring class room, intellectually discussing sex like a stinky, morally-corrupt rat in a box that nobody in their right mind would touch with a ten foot pole, the idea of saying no to sex actually sounds plausible.
However, when the emotional brain is triggered during sex and seduction, the language parts of our brain completely shut down.
The dusty word "no" can't compare to the profound chemical cocktail of emotions flooding the genitals and the brain saying yes to pleasure now.
Furthermore, pesky words like "no" need two parties - a speaker, and a listener - in order to work. The speakers in this case - parents, teachers, schools, and religions - are teaching "just say no," however fifty percent of those troublesome teens with cotton in their ears - the listeners - are actually practicing "just say yes."
Sorry to break the news, moms and dads, but there's a 50 percent chance your teenagers are already having sex.
Much to the consternation of health officials, our "just say no" policy for sex, seems just as effective as our "just say no" to drugs campaigns.
By continuing to teach our kids the amazing wisdom of "just say no" to sex, we're actually teaching them a far more powerful "yes" - to ignorance about STD's, unwanted pregnancies, and potential death.
Without education, communication, and a harsh dose of reality regarding teenage sex, we're not "just saying no", instead we're also staying completely out of touch.