Following up my recent in-depth analysis of the Daily Mail, I return to that august journal to gather together some of its readers’ comments on the article it published yesterday about The Sex Education Show on Channel 4 whose on-line presence is Sexperience.
Mail/male journo says: “Channel 4 has been accused of peddling obscenity… school pupils asked to discuss pornography… In the programme a group of boys were shown close-up images of penises and asked which they thought was the average size… A male model’s genitals were also shown in close up as a female doctor described in depth the anatomy of the penis… a group of schoolgirls looking at pictures of different size breasts… Shocked viewers said Channel 4 was guilty of broadcasting indecency into family homes… One viewer contacting a TV message board said Channel 4 was ‘reaching new lows’… Conservative MP David Davies added: [...] ‘do we really need to have these things graphically discussed by schoolchildren at 8pm in the evening when we are having our tea?’ “
Mail readers say:
My husband and I watched it with our 12 year old son, and it sparked a really honest and helpful discussion. The pictures of genitalia were not prurient or arousing and it was actually helpful for him to see how other normal people looked, without resorting to porn. The point that the program made with those pictures is that normal people don’t look like porn stars, so be happy with your body. A pretty good message for young men and women, I think!
Well done, Channel 4 – we’ll be watching next week!
- Annie, Lincoln, UK
Personally as a parent of teenagers I thought it was a very informative and “real” programme. I think it would be far more useful to show teenagers a show like this instead of the tepid sex education stuff they usually get at school. If they got real life education such as this then maybe they would have less STD`s and less unwanted pregnancies.
- Jeff, CHESTER
I thought it was extremely well done, it was not vulgar or seedy in any way at all, in fact at 48 with 4 children I learn something new, I could never understand why condoms were so tight and hard to put on until I watched that programme and found out there were different sizes available! Shouldn’t teenagers know that? Fantastic useful and educational, well done channel 4
- David Burns, COVENTRY
Channel 4 has a special remit – it is neither a channel designed for ‘everybody’. The real disgrace is no other broadcaster would make such a program because they are paranoid about offending viewers at that time – 8pm is the right time but no earlier.
They have done nothing wrong – clearly educational even when containing explicit detail.
Viewers were warned about the images multiple times – do they have no responsibility or do they just rubberneck for the sake of being offended?
- Ali, Liverpool
This show is educational. Society needs to be less scared of talking about sex. Unless you prefer teen pregnancy that is.
- Arwen, Edinburgh
We can do without this on TV. It is the sort of thing that was subject of some banter on the mess-decks of the RN, and even sailors would not have been so vulgar in another environment.
- LionelB, Dundee
There is always the “amazing off switch” for viewers to use, if they do not like what they are viewing or are embarassed by this programme.
- John Rodwell, Rye
I didn’t watch the show, but i had already heard about it. Why is it so wrong for boys to look at a photo of a penis? Or girls to look at breasts? I don’t understand? Surely it educates children and dispels alot of myths.
- Michaela Cerda, Essex
It’s about time this country developed a grown up attitude to sexual matters.
Just what were those viewers who complained expecting from the programme?
For God sake GROW UP!
- David Maggs, Devizes
If I don’t need to see male genitalia on tv at all, let alone before 9pm, then I very much doubt kids do either!
How many children will have still been awake and watching tv (likely unsupervised in their rooms) at this time?
Grow up C4!
- Anonymouse, UK
The teenage boys shown in the photo, which I assume are a good example of modern youth, look look a bunch of thugs, I doubt that they learnt anything new by watching the TV.
- Robert the EX-Brit, Sumter, USA
Robert the EX-Brit… the teenage boys in the photo do not look like thugs at all. This witch hunt against teenagers needs to stop. As for the program, their parents consented to it, so it’s fine, in fact, we need a culture that is more open and understanding about sex.
- John, Sheffield
Robert the EX-Brit, I watched this progremme. The school boys on the show (pictured) came across as thoughtful, eloquent, intelligent young men. It is obvious from your remarks that you did not watch it (being in the US). Please do not tar all youngsters here in such a way. Remember, sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and let everyone know you are an idiot!
- WA, Oxford
So it’s ok to show fight scenes on Coronation Street, domestic abuse on Emmerdale and advertisements for films where people routinely slaughter each other, but it’s not ok to educate and inform young people who are having sex ANYWAY about the dangers out there. What a load of hypocrites.
- Janice, London
one reason I never watch channel 4
- Christina Crosbie, LESMAHAGOW SCOTLAND
Oh for goodness sake, I wish people would wake up!
This is a modern society where our children and teenagers are exposed to the internet, they know the airbrushed, highlighted and soft pornographic side of sex which is zero education, this programme showed the honesty and reality of sexual organs and sex in all its gory detail, its what responisble parents should be doing anyway, not glossing over the birds and bees story to a 13 year old child who is then more than likely going to naively get into trouble.
I wish more parents would speak to their children so honestly, this isn’t the 1950′s anymore! And if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, there’s plenty of drivel on the other channels to switch your brain off to and brush the ‘shhhhh… sex’ chat under the carpet.
- Ellie, London
Guardian/female journo says: “This is not my kind of thing, as a rule – people talking openly about sex, how much they’re getting it, what kind they’re getting. I’d rather clean the oven. But this show claimed to present both teenage and adult perspectives on all matters sexual. And because I have both a 16-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter, any advice on how to broach this stuff in a way that is less likely to scar my offspring for life is gratefully received.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to make notes, because teenage son decided to watch it with me. Which I guess was what Channel 4 intended when they gave it a pre-watershed 8pm slot, but was entirely unexpected and potentially horrifically embarrassing (no, for ME, not him). He wandered in at the start, asked what I was watching, and decided to “give it five minutes”. By the end he admitted it had been “interesting” and “useful”. And in the mumble-heavy vocabulary of a 16-year-old boy, I believe that counts as a glowing review.
So was it any good? Well, yes, I think it was”