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Explicit NHS website promotes under-age sex

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The National Health Service has been criticised for being “grossly irresponsible” after launching an explicit website encouraging sexual experimentation among children as young as 13.

The ‘Respect Yourself’ website and smartphone app, which is the first of its kind in the UK, has sparked outrage after advising under-age children that they can disregard the legal age for sexual consent if they feel they are "ready".


The website, based on the Dutch sex education system, also contains a gallery of extreme images with a dictionary-style list of explicit terms, suggesting that children could avoid discussing the topic openly with their parents if this is likely to cause upset.

The service, directed at children aged 13 and onwards, has been funded by the NHS and the European Union’s Leonardo da Vinci programme, and is available across 36 schools in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The website responds to the question, “Why do you have to be 16 to have sex? What if you want it now?”, by stating: “The law says you are not old enough to decide for yourself until you are 16 – as this is the age the law sees us as being mature enough to decide. You are the only one who knows when you are ready. Some are ready before, some not till much later."

The website also features detailed descriptions of sexual acts and advises children that ‘there is very little stopping you accessing hardcore pornography from the comfort of your sofa’.

It describes prostitution as “technically legal” and states that “people have sex for many different reasons” with prostitution being “one of them”. 

It even goes as far as to discuss bestiality, commenting that whilst “sex with animals is illegal, fantasising is not”.


MPs and family charities have criticised the website for promoting sexual activity among young children and encouraging “an unhealthy obsession with physical acts”.

Norman Wells, spokesman for the Family Education Trust, said:

“It pretty much tells young people they can engage in sexual activity whenever they feel ready, regardless of what the law says.”

“Parents throughout the region 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.

“This is a grossly irresponsible website and a complete misuse of taxpayers' hard-earned cash.

“Many of the topics covered are totally unnecessary and positively unhelpful. Young people - and older people for that matter - simply don't need a 'sextionary' containing an A-Z of all manner of sexual practices and perversions.

“It merely encourages an unhealthy obsession with physical acts and will do nothing to help young people build healthy relationships or prepare them for a stable and fulfilling marriage in the future.

“Not only does the site include a considerable volume of unhealthy and unhelpful content, but much of the information provided is not even accurate.”

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern said:

“It is astounding that an NHS website is advising children as young as 13 that it is perfectly acceptable for them to hold no regard for the law in this area.

“Such highly explicit content is inappropriate and hugely damaging for children.  It will only encourage sexual experimentation and do nothing to curb our ever-increasing rates of teenage pregnancies, abortion and STDs.

"This is the result of putting political ideology above the welfare of children. Children must be protected against such a liberal, permissive sexual ethic.”


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