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The Joy of Sex, Jr.
July 16, 2009 10:27 AM   Subscribe

The NHS in the UK has released a pamphlet called Pleasure (pdf) to educate teens on the more enjoyable aspects of carnal relations. Some disagree with this development.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist (36 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
More sex please, we're British.
posted by Sova at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


This seems like a pretty interesting approach to sex ed. I think a program that acknowledges and discusses sexual pleasure is going to have a lot more legitimacy with teens than one that doesn't. I wonder if such a program might get farther with stuff like "sex might not be fun if you're not ready" than more traditional sex ed programs with "save sex until marriage," even though the effective message is similar.
posted by carmen at 11:00 AM on July 16, 2009


This is a bad idea. Kids should have to learn about sex on the street like I did.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pee in my wife to get her pregnant.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:02 AM on July 16, 2009 [13 favorites]


This post stood for such a long time with "O comments" under it that I thought everyone had tacitly agreed that this couldn't be improved upon.

I guess a mefi-wide mutual O was too much to hope for.
posted by yoink at 11:03 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Needs more Legz Akimbo.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2009


It's not just the kids; the oldies are being shown how to get it on.
posted by permafrost at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2009


i didn't see even one mention of robots anywhere in that pamphlet.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:05 AM on July 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Great link permafrost. I missed that part of the story. Thanks!
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 11:14 AM on July 16, 2009


i didn't see even one mention of robots anywhere in that pamphlet.

They're obviously going one demographic at a time. Wait your turn.
posted by permafrost at 11:16 AM on July 16, 2009


Sensible sex ed. Surely the British Empire will rise again!
posted by QIbHom at 11:21 AM on July 16, 2009


If it will decrease UK's rampant necrophilia, I'm all for it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:25 AM on July 16, 2009


I agree with George Carlin, these kids today get too much...

and premafrost, I will increase my lifespan with the Borgnine Solution.
(best part is when the female host screams "I like this guy". Rock On Ernie!
posted by djrock3k at 11:26 AM on July 16, 2009


Honestly, I sometimes think about becoming a teacher, specifically to teach PSHE. I feel that just being open and honest with young people is the best way, as there has to be a level of trust if you want them to listen to you. They'll appreciate a safe sex message when they know you're not just using it to put them off sex entirely, but rather as a necessary part of the good sex message.
posted by Sova at 11:28 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait, it's supposed to be fun?
posted by scratch at 11:38 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I wonder if such a program might get farther with stuff like 'sex might not be fun if you're not ready' than more traditional sex ed programs with 'save sex until marriage"

Well, considering that they get 1% "Abstinence is the ONLY WAY to go" from the authorities and 99% "Sex is AWESOME!" from the popular media, the pamphlet kinda seems redundant. Yet, uproar. Such is life.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2009


Right, but "Sex is AWESOME" is only part of the message of the pamphlet (which seems to be aimed at educators, not directly at teens). It doesn't seem redundant to me to say "Sex is often awesome. Here's how it can be awesome for you as a teen" and then go on to talk about ways of pleasing yourself, figuring out when you're ready, asserting your boundaries with confidence, and identifying and reporting coersive sex. That isn't part of the general media message.

(Of course, I come from the part of the world where high schools and colleges get visits from Sue, so perhaps I'm overly biased towards sex-positive sex education.)
posted by carmen at 11:50 AM on July 16, 2009


And to think when I tried to be "Maxwelton, the Sex is Awesome!" kid's clown, I got 25 years. How times change. If you'll excuse me, I've got to load my pockets with change.
posted by maxwelton at 11:59 AM on July 16, 2009


Well, considering that they get 1% "Abstinence is the ONLY WAY to go" from the authorities and 99% "Sex is AWESOME!" from the popular media, the pamphlet kinda seems redundant. Yet, uproar.

Sometimes, if you point that out to The Powers That Be, they get it....

When I was a girl of 18, the summer before I went away to college, my hometown was considering adding a "teen health clinic" to the high school -- something that could go beyond the typical "school nurse giving out asprin and band-aids". It would feature counselling and intervention on weightier matters like mental health, eating disorders, drug abuse, physical abuse, family crisis issues, etc.

One of the features of this clinic, though, was going to be sexual health counselling. And the town had a collective hissy fit, accusing the school of wanting to open up a wing of Planned Parenthood in the school, etc. The furor went on for a couple months, and culimated in the School Board deciding to have a big town meeting, open to everyone in town, during which anyone could get up and speak for two minutes about the clinic, either for or against.

I went to that meeting; the following is the speech I gave.

"Ladies and Gentlemen: I am a recent graduate of this high school. I want to tell you about something I saw at one of the classes here.

"Like every student, I was required to take the 'health' class. Our teacher decided that she wanted to show us a brief film about dating, but since 'birth control' was mentioned in the course of the film, she told us all that we had to get permission slips from our parents. If a single one of us forgot the permission slip, none of us could watch the film. We all remembered, fortunately, and all watched the film. For the record, the only two mentions of birth control came first in a scene where the boy and girl are having dinner and discussing their date; the girl asks the boy 'what about birth control' and he responds 'don't worry, I'll take care of it.' In the very next scene, the two are talking on the phone, and the girl says, 'guess what, the birth control didn't work.'

"The next day in class, our teacher scheduled a quiz on the film. We all finished in 15 minutes, and the teacher said we could have a study hall the rest of the class. One of the other students saw a VCR in the room, and asked the teacher, 'Hey, I have a tape of Porky's 2, can we watch that?' and the teacher said, 'sure, go ahead.'

"If the people of this town are unwilling to support a measure which would teach their children to make responsible choices about sex, when they are already living in a world in which they have access to things that encourage IRResponsible choices, then something is seriously wrong somewhere. Thank you."

....I have to say, I kind of got a kick out of watching all seven school board members' jaws all drop simultaneously when I brought up the Porky's bit. I think the clinic ultimately went through (not that I was the only one advocating for it -- it was about a 50-50 split).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:06 PM on July 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


As someone who went to a Catholic school in the UK, I think this leaflet is extremely necessary and I hope it gets passed around the young teens, because it sure as hell won't be given out.

I know people who (in the West, in the 21st century) have suffered from a lack of sex education. I remember the innuendo and rumours about the legendary "section 6" in biology lessons. In terms of education about sex, it's up there with reading Bernoulli's theorem and getting into the cockpit (pun decidedly intended). The fact is, if your sex education doesn't separate sex and procreation, it isn't sex education, it's procreation education.

Horny teenagers that have been taught "sex=pregnancy=OMGendofyourlife" still can't resist it in the heat of the moment. We were all so cocky when they told us about the rhythm method, we laughed our heads off and made opening-and-closing-fingers gestures while intoning "the mYOOcus" for days. But we really weren't all that worldly: we didn't know everything and nobody bloody told us.

Sure we all learned one way or another, but it's a weird and kind of sick society that gives kids the option of "not at all" or "completely unprepared". The fact is, parents aren't good at this, unless they somehow got good education themselves or have thought seriously about their kids having sex (as opposed to MUST NOT ALLOW IT). We can compel teachers to train in a way that we can't compel parents. We can specify that teachers give the currently-known truth about things like homosexuality, orgasm, STDs, abuse, and consent. Parents are entitled to their own views on all of them. It's pretty irresponsible to disenfranchise a section of our society based on parental ignorance- I reckon the prohibition of safe sex is systematic discrimination against kids who were born into Catholic families.

As ever, longer than I intended. Essentially, this pamphlet is better than I got in school, way better than the porn I found in the woods, and I would even go so far as to say it would have made my life significantly better. I have a hard time thinking of anyone it would harm. Go Sheffield!
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:22 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


On non-preview, taking off Sova's comment, I have decided that I will only ever bring up children in a country where "good sex" is an actual part of the curriculum.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:28 PM on July 16, 2009


Do I have to register with the government before I read it?
posted by Western Infidels at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2009


Anyone have a link to the actual pamphlet?
posted by yoink at 12:36 PM on July 16, 2009


i didn't see even one mention of robots anywhere in that pamphlet.

DON'T DATE ROBOTS!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:48 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the last link:

Slack believes that as long as teenagers are fully informed about sex and are making their decisions free of peer pressure and as part of a caring relationship, they have as much right as an adult to a good sex life.

Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, Berkshire, who introduced classes in emotional wellbeing, said the approach was “deplorable”.


That statement (the top one) is just so well said, so clear, and so right I want it to be shouted from the rooftops.

The reply is disappointing and, I'm sure, widely held.
posted by twirlypen at 12:59 PM on July 16, 2009


yoink: I managed to read the bit reprinted in the PDF, which in itself disproves one myth about... oh never mind, far too meta
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2009


Compare and contrast with what happened in the US in 1994 when the surgeon general dared to suggest that perhaps it wouldn't hurt to teach kids that it would not be the end of the world if they masturbated -- especially if it kept them from riskier behavior -- and was subsequently fired by the president over the resulting shit storm.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:30 PM on July 16, 2009


On non-preview, taking off Sova's comment, I have decided that I will only ever bring up children in a country where "good sex" is an actual part of the curriculum.
Are Swedish visas easy to acquire?
posted by acb at 1:41 PM on July 16, 2009


Rhomboid, I remember that well, it was so wrong to fire Dr. Elders for that remark, even though it was cringeworthy to hear her say "MASS TUR BAAY SHONNN" in that stentorian public speaking voice she used.
posted by longsleeves at 1:47 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fact is, parents aren't good at this...

The fact is, some parents aren't good at this, and some of them are the same ones who try to stop schools from teaching it, while others are glad the schools are stepping in where they perceive their own failure (or at least discomfort.) Then there are parents like mine, who found good ways to educate me without driving me to do it before I was ready or scaring me or making me feel ashamed or spoiling all the fun.

But this:

We can compel teachers to train in a way that we can't compel parents.

Hells yes. That's ultimately it. What makes it so difficult to do is that parents generally believe they're raising their kids correctly, and so not only will they want to teach their way at home, they'll want teachers to follow their example. Hence the brouhaha on this and similar things. The only reason we're not generally reacting badly is because we agree with it. When the school is trying to teach creationism or evolution (depending on what you consider to be the facts) it's the same deal (ignoring the tangent that sex != creationism != evolution.)
posted by davejay at 2:31 PM on July 16, 2009


Septimus, what is carnal embrace?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:33 PM on July 16, 2009


yoink: "Anyone have a link to the actual pamphlet?"

Nope, they sell it (£1), so they didn't put it online free.
posted by WCityMike at 2:44 PM on July 16, 2009


part of my suspects that all of this is a cunning ruse by the NHS: once it's officially condoned, the fun's gone.
posted by litleozy at 2:56 PM on July 16, 2009


But, but.. Sex is only pleasure for the man!
posted by Nelson at 3:11 PM on July 16, 2009


Oh please....

The NHS didn't create this, as a matter of policy. A person working in an AIDS clinic for Sheffield did... and while they are part of the NHS as a whole, they essentially operate independently as far as such things are concerned.

And Rupert Murdoch's Times and Sun have both been going on about this, ad nauseum... and even "liberal" sites like HuffPo have been parroting the Times and Sun as they once more attack nationalized healthcare.

Sex sells, apparently. The article is on the top of HuffPo's most referenced articles.
posted by markkraft at 4:15 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, old hat. I believe I wrote this nearly ten years ago, and IIRC, it won some kind of NHS award at the time.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:32 PM on July 16, 2009


Who needs pamphlets when John Cleese has been giving live demos for years.
posted by PenDevil at 7:26 AM on July 17, 2009


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