Britain's National Health Service has a message for teens: Sex can be fun. Health officials are trying to change the tone of sex education by urging teachers to emphasize that sexual relations can be healthy and pleasurable instead of simply explaining the mechanics of sex and warning about diseases.
The new pamphlet, called "Pleasure," has sparked some opposition from those who believe it encourages promiscuity among teens in a country that already has high rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The National Health Service in the city of Sheffield produced the booklet, which has a section called "an orgasm a day" that encourages educators to tell teens about the positive physical and emotional effects of sex and masturbation, which is described as an easy way for people to explore their bodies and feel good. Like more traditional sex education guides, it encourages demonstrations about how to use condoms and other contraceptives.
Some professionals have hailed the new approach as a welcome antidote to traditional sex education, which they say can be long on biological facts but short on information about the complexity of human relationships.
The booklet suggests ways in which teachers can encourage sexual awareness and responsibility while teaching young people that sex is something that is meant to be enjoyed.