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International News

UK Health Booklet's Message: Teen Sex Can Be Fun

July 15, 2009

A new pamphlet written for parents, teachers, and youth workers seeks to change the tone of sex education by discussing "Pleasure" -- the publication's title -- instead of just biology and STDs. So far, the booklet is generating mixed reactions.

Produced by the Center for HIV & Sexual Health (CHSH) of the National Health Service-Sheffield, the pamphlet includes a section called "an orgasm a day" that encourages teachers to discuss with teens the positive physical and emotional effects of sex and masturbation. It also urges educators to teach about contraception and to demonstrate condom use.

Some were quick to condemn the approach, believing it will encourage casual sex among teens. "Some of it is good sense, but I think it's wrong to suggest that 16-year-olds should wantonly enter into having sexual intercourse for pleasure," said Anthony Seldon, headmaster of Wellington College. "I think this is medically wrong and emotionally wrong and will increase teenage pregnancy and impact negatively on the formation of a long-term loving relationship."

Others disagree. Ruth Smith, news editor of the magazine Children & Young People Now, said the booklet's message can help youths resist pressures to have early sex and may help shield them from sexual abuse as well. "It makes them more confident and able to say no," she said, pointing out that the guide is not intended as a student hand-out but rather as a guide for educators.

"Far from promoting teenage sex, it is designed to encourage young people to delay losing their virginity until they are sure they will enjoy the experience," said Steve Slack, CHSH's director, who helped create "Pleasure."

Back to other news for July 2009

Adapted from:
Associated Press
07.15.2009; Gregory Katz

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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