New NHS sex website aimed at young people causes controversyby Jenna Louch
at University of Worcester 25th October 2012 17:00:16
The NHS's controversial new website 'Respect Yourself' aims to educate young people about sex in a whole new way.
The provocative new website, which has been advertised across Coventry and Warwickshire, has attracted wide spread criticism and has been accused of covering topics which are unnecessary and unhelpful.
The website, which is "written for young people, by young people", features The Sextionary - a dictionary of sexually explicit meanings, expert tips, and a Frequently Asked Questions section.
Respect Yourself campaign manager Amy Danahay says: “We have completed the young people’s wish list. They have asked for the sextionary, pleasure zones and the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered honestly.”
FAQ’s range from the expected sensible questions, such as ("How do you know if you are ready to have sex?"), to the sligtly bizarre (‘Will I grow hair on my hands if I masturbate too much?"), to the more disturbing - "If you shag a horse will the horse lose its virginity or will you die?" - which sees the answer: "There is a famous porn film where someone dies after sex with a horse, but the entire film is a fake – it wasn’t real. Plus it is illegal to have sex with animals as they can not consent to sex!"
The site offers information on STIs, contraception, pregnancy, and relationships. Rather standard topics to be discussed in sexual education classes, or websites. The more controversial information available on the site is where the pleasure zones are, which many people have argued teenagers do not need to be told.
The Family Education Trust has expressed its dislike of the site and spokesperson Norman Wells says: “Parents will be appalled that health professionals have supported the development of a resource that condones sexual experimentation by young people and uses crude and sometimes even foul language.” Danahay has defended the site against this accusation.
As well as having the main site which is aimed at educated children in a way they can identify with, using their language, there is also a page dedicated to advising parents on how to talk to their children. Top tips include being honest and praising kids for asking questions.
You can visit the site yourself here.