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Teenagers' Sex Booklet Condemned by Family Campaigners

Press Association | June 9, 2005
By Lyndsay Moss

A new booklet about sex and relationships aimed at under-16s was condemned by family campaigners today.

The fpa, formerly the Family Planning Association, has produced the booklet called Love, Sex, Relationships which is aimed at youngsters aged 13 to 16.

As well as discussing emotions and body image, the publication also includes information about oral sex, anal sex and a section entitled: “How can I be good at sex?”.

The campaign group Family and Young Concern said booklets like this “serve only to normalise sexual activity among young people under the age of consent”.

The fpa said the booklet met school curriculum guidance for youngsters at Key Stage 3 and 4.

Using colourful cartoon graphics and a chatty writing style, the booklet looks at sexuality, including when a young person might think they are gay.

The section on body image mentions boob jobs and liposuction for women and “back, crack and sac wax” for men.

On the pages entitled “What is having Sex?” youngsters are informed: “Having sex, often called making love, includes any activity that sexually arouses you and your partner. It’s not just about the penis penetrating the vagina.”

Under the title “How can I be good at sex?” the booklet says: “No-one is born sexually experienced, and most of the fun is learning.

“Talk to your partner. Ask what they like.

“Be aware of their feelings as well as your own pleasure.”

There are also sections on masturbation, orgasm, whether having sex hurts and oral and anal sex.

The booklet stresses that young people should not feel pressurised into having sex.

It says the legal age for consent is 16 in England, Wales and Scotland and 17 in Northern Ireland.

Advice on how to get contraception without parents finding out is also given, as well as details on the morning-after pill.

Norman Wells, director of Family and Youth Concern, said: “Publications like this one serve only to normalise sexual activity among young people under the age of consent.

“The whole tone of the leaflet cheapens sex rather than attempting to preserve its special character as an expression of the total self-giving between a husband and wife in the context of a lifelong committed marriage.

“If we really want what is best for young people, we need to tell them the whole truth – that saving sex for marriage is a positive choice that brings with it a host of physical, emotional and psychological benefits, and it is the only sure way of protection against sexually transmitted infections.”

Mr Wells said that the past three decades of sex education and easy availability of contraception had made no difference to under-16 pregnancy rates, while sexually transmitted infections had soared.

“Rather than persisting with the same old, tired, fatalistic approach that has failed so dismally, we need to start treating young people with more respect and give them a positive and much more radical message,” he added.

Anne Weyman, fpa chief executive, said: “This booklet tells teenagers what they want to know about sex and relationships.

“Young people are bombarded everyday with a mix of misinformation about sex and need to know the facts.

“They may hear all sorts of myths about sex and our carefully researched booklet provides them with the kind of information no-one else will give them a straight answer to.

“The information is provided in the context of encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their own behaviour within the law, and much of the booklet is devoted to enabling young people to have the self-confidence to resist peer pressure to have early sex and to make responsible and informed decisions about their relationships.”

The fpa said that under-16 conception rates had declined significantly since 1998 when the rate of conceptions in under-16s were 8.9 per 1,000 girls aged 13-15, whereas in 2003 it was 8.0 per 1,000 girls.

 

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