Say Yes to No

It's OK to Say No coverIt’s Okay to Say No
Choosing Sexual Abstinence

This book is part of a series called Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Although this does talk about birth control, the emphasis is no sex of any kind. There is also a subtle suggestion that birth control won’t work and that “most teens” want to say no.

I think the photos used to illustrate this book are the real problem. Notice on the cover, it is up to the girl to say no and keep everything under control.

Just say no to this book.


It's OK to Say No back cover

Teens are choosing abstinence

Teens are exposed to sex on TV

Abstinence is 100% birth control


  1. Oh my goodness! I can get pregnant is sperm is *near* my vagina??
    What is the minimum safe distance?

    Is it safe to sit on the lap of a sperm-containing male? Is it still okay to dance really close to somebody? How about accidentally shaking hands with some man who has recently masturbated? Yes, my imagination runs wild with scenarios of proximity.

    Sigh, if only it was this easy to get pregnant now that I’m trying to…

  2. I think they at least got the bc failure rates correct, which is better than some abstinence advocates do.

  3. Don’t those failure rates kinda undermine their whole “no sex ever” stance? Also LOL at the idea that “saving yourself for marriage” is “slowly gaining popularity.”

    Taking the obvious sexist implications of the responsibility/blame being solely on the girl (as well as suggesting that “nice” girls should not want sex), can we also talk about how the couple on the cover looks like they could be brother and sister? And that they’re trying not to laugh as they pose?

  4. “Second, people who use withdrawal are not practicing abstinence.” Really??? Next this silly book is going to tell me that water is wet.

  5. I’m frankly really impressed it mentions internal condoms though. I constantly meet people who have no idea what they are.

    1. My goodness, are you are a medical professional or sex educator? If not, you certainly engage in very different conversations from me, so that you know that people don’t know LOL!

    2. Around here they’re called “female condom”, which, on reflection, is probably less clear.

      This doesn’t have to be a bad or untrustworthy book, but I’m prepared to accept that it is, given its age particularly. In my country, teenagers may marry and presumably may have children if they want to, even unmarried, but it may be not a good idea, and other books in “The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Library” address this more reasonably. There’s also another “Say no” book. shows three more covers, two of which are of black people.

      There doesn’t seem to be one about homosexuality, so that’s one form of teen pregnancy prevention that the publisher may have overlooked. There isn’t one specifically about vascectomy either, which I assume is still pretty reliable, even if you change your mind. But don’t you suspect that this is really “The Teen Sex and Fun Prevention Library”?

      I think that saying “no” or “not yet” is also a reasonable choice, with or without contraception, and also that a handbook on the subject may be particularly useful for girls and young women, and less useful if your boyfriend has read it too and can anticipate your strategy.

  6. As I’m anonymous here, I’ll share something. My oldest sister, along with all my siblings, was taught abstinence only–and she ended up pregnant in college and dropped out. I was a little kid at the time, but I realize now how hastily the wedding had to be planned. She’s an intelligent, wonderful woman and a great mom (she’s married to the father and has four lovely kids today), but I find t so hypocritical when my parents bemoan how ‘too many’ young people have sex too early..
    Also, Bristol Palin!

    1. I’m the only one of my cousins who didn’t get a Christian-focused, abstinence-only education—and the only one who didn’t get pregnant before age 18…I think the only thing that EVER does is make sure the Bible’s injunction to “Be fruitful and multiply” gets followed very, very well.

      1. To make the abstinence approach work in sex education, you need a society that supports it, including such unwelcome and unpopular, because time-consuming, practices as chaperoning young people. That said, however, the smirking condescension of some of these responses is not appealing.

        I have no objection to people being taught the various methods of contraception, but I dislike the utter dishonesty of most modern sex education about the emotional consequences of early sexual activity for anyone who is at all vulnerable. And how many people are *not* vulnerable in their teens? Some – the most popular, most attractive, and the richest (who can move if things go wrong), perhaps – may not be, but the majority are. Yet to show this vulnerability is to invite ridicule, so that the young end up learning bad habits: emotional disconnection, false fronts, and sneering at those who are too fragile to be able to do so. Growing up is always difficult, but it does not have to be as hard as it is made by the present sexual economy, including its method of teaching the young.

  7. Say no to this, yes. The two teens are bad actors. The girl wasn’t asked to express the fear and panic related to this situation. But I say no to the no-sex / forced-sex choice.

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