European teens having better, safer, hotter, healthier sex than us

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Naked man in a fire

Did you know that about 90% of Dutch parents allow their teens to have sexy sleepovers? Or that 64% of their teens use birth control, while barely a quarter of our sexually-active kids do? Slate's startling 15-page slideshow of how our birth, STD, and teen-pregnancy rates compare to Europe's is a must-read… even if you've been reading Nerve's news stories for years and have heard all the terrifying statistics before.

The best parts for me were the European PSAs and their messages for young people, which are much more memorable and effective overall than the American ones we've seen.

Things I learned today:

Teen pregnancy rates in the United States are three to six times higher than in Western European countries.

One out of every three American teenage girls becomes pregnant at least once before she reaches the age of 20

Germany's approach to safe sex is based on behavioral research showing that honest and humorous messages about sex are more effective than scare tactics. Their HIV rate is six times lower than ours.

Dutch parents don't see a clash between what boys and girls want, and they don't treat sons and daughters differently. Many American parents, on the other hand, set up an inherent tension: "Boys want sex and girls want love."

The majority of U.S. teens—63 percent of boys and 69 percent of girls—wish they had waited longer to have sex, compared with only 5 percent of boys and 12 percent of girls in the Netherlands. [Slate]

Here's one of my favorite videos about safe sex. Try seeing if you can get this through the Texas public-school sex-ed program: