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Porn and practicals to spice up sex lessons

Retired lecturer calls on schools to provide 'erotic education' to create considerate lovers. Adi Bloom reports

Porn videos and instructions on how to please your lover in bed should form the basis of school sex-education lessons, according to a retired Oxford University lecturer.

John Wilson calls for schools to offer "erotic education" in an article headed "Can Sex Education Be Practical?" in this month's international journal, Sex Education.

"We teach children by practical experience to deal with their aggression, their desire for revenge, their lack of self-confidence," he writes. "When it comes to sexuality or eroticism, we offer no examples to imitate, no contexts of self-expression, and no hands-on experience."

Mr Wilson says schools should teach children to be skilful and considerate lovers. This would include the use of visual and literary material, such as videos. He said: "These representations will show, in detail, what a desirable sexual encounter looks like. Sexual partners feeling and saying and doing the right sort of things with each other."

Pupils would be taught the physical elements of sexual expression and how to be good in bed. Classes would also include role-play sessions, in which participants could practise sexual negotiation, canvassing each other's preferences. Such a programme, Mr Wilson argues, need not lead to increased sexual activity. By highlighting the emotional investment necessary for a satisfying sexual encounter, he hopes to encourage teenagers to wait for the right partner.

He draws a comparison with military recruits: rather than being thrust immediately into the battlefield, they first practise shooting with blanks.

John Rees, manager of the government-backed A Pause sex-education programme, believes that such measures would be popular.

He said: "Sex education can be very sterile and biological. We need to make it engaging for young people. It's good for them to know that, when you care about someone, you should be concerned about giving and receiving pleasure."

But, he said, such an initiative may raise objections from parents and teachers. Mr Rees' own programme was recently criticised for asking teachers to consider their responses to questions such as "what does semen taste like?"

John Bangs, head of education for the National Union of Teachers, said:

"The artificial separation of the mechanisms of sex is appalling. Anything promoting that is highly dangerous. The title 'erotic education' undermines the balance of sex and relationships education."

The Christian Institute, a charity which campaigns for Christian values, said the proposal was immoral and would encourage children to engage in reckless sexual experimentation.

Colin Hart, institute director, said: "Showing pornography in the classroom would be a form of child abuse and it would be quite degrading for the pupils."

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