Council’s sex ed website slammed
A COUNCIL sex education website has been shut down after it was revealed it told a 12-year-old girl it was "perfectly natural" to "spend half the night" masturbating and watching porn.
Warwickshire County Council in England's Midlands temporarily suspended its "Respect Yourself" site aimed at people between the ages of 13 and 25 following complaints it normalised violent sex.
"(The site) describes degrading or dangerous sadomasochistic practices inspired by pornography, such as 'cock-and-ball torture' and 'bukkake'," a change.org campaign says.
"The site acknowledges that many practices it describes can be painful, e.g. anal sex, but it fails to address the fact that young women usually experience it as painful, risky and coercive.
"Whilst it is understandable that children and young people will be curious about sex, the detailed descriptions of niche sadomasochistic practices are unnecessary.
"It is likely that a young person reading this website would understand from this that these practices are a normal part of sex."
Campaign groups The Safe Schools Alliance (SSA) and Click Off said the messaging was overly sexualised and failed to address the harm caused by the pornographic industry.
"It's totally inappropriate. Teenagers are already under so much pressure because of what they see in porn," SSA spokesperson Tracy Shaw told Metro.
"This website is normalising porn and the type of sex teenagers are unlikely to get.
"If the message they are getting from the council is (dangerous sex) is fine, how will they feel when they are uncomfortable? They will think there is something wrong with them.
"We are not against sex education, but we need to show how damaging porn is. We are coming at this from a safeguarding point of view."
The site had been running since 2012 and included information about puberty, STIs and sexual fantasies.
It also had an anonymous question and answer section that gave advice to visitors.
In one, a 12-year-old said she had a crush on a female music teacher and couldn't sleep because she was addicted to watching porn.
"What you are going through is perfectly natural for a girl your age," the response read.
"For some reason, we have the idea that only boys get turned on, masturbate or watch porn. That is nonsense."
The section also advised teens to not be ashamed by masturbating because most people "have a fiddle now and then".
"You may have seen there's been quite a lot in the media recently about the dangers and harms that porn causes to young people. Many people have been quite vocal and do truly believe that porn is dangerous for young people to watch," the website stated.
"However, there are no scientific studies that give evidence to suggest that watching porn is any more likely to turn you into a sex addict than watching a violent film is likely to turn you into a serial killer. In fact there is more evidence to suggest the opposite.
"It is perfectly natural to be curious and get horny and want to watch something that turns you on. That said, be aware - porn is not real life - no more than Grand Theft Auto is real life. Some people make that mistake - it is a fantasy so bear that in mind."
The website was taken down after Metro contacted the council to question the material and is now under review.