Sex Lessons Outcry: 'Smutty' booklet is withdrawn from shops

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The Independent Online
THE Health Education Authority last night decided to withdraw a sex education booklet due to be published shortly, after a minister called it 'inappropriate and smutty', writes Ian MacKinnon.

The Pocket Guide to Sex was to be aimed at people in their late teens. It covered a wide range of topics from contraception and condoms, to pregnancy and sexual intercourse. After Dr Brian Mawhinney, Minister for Health, read the booklet on Monday and deemed it unsuitable, the authority agreed that it should not go on sale in shops. A statement said: 'In the light of ministerial advice, the HEA has agreed to withdraw The Pocket Guide to Sex.'

There has been a simmering row between the authority and the Department of Health over its budget and another campaign for young people which caused a furore among MPs who felt that it was pornographic.

The earlier book, The Best Sex Guide, which cost the HEA pounds 58,000 to produce and is given free to young people aged 16 and over in universities, clubs and pubs, was said to encourage promiscuity.

About 12,000 copies of the booklet, written by Nick Fisher, the problem page editor of Seventeen magazine, had been printed and were due to go on sale shortly at pounds 3.99.