Chief Censor approves unrestricted classification for sex book for teens

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 22, 2023 |

A book about sex aimed at teenagers has been given an Unrestricted’ classification by the Classification Office.

Chief Censor Caroline Flora said the Office determined that the publication, Welcome to Sex! written by Dr Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes, is an educational book for teenagers.

The 304-page book covers a range of topics from consent and sexuality to sexual positions, pleasure and information on sex acts such as oral sex, “fingering” and “scissoring” and “rimming.”

Family First Chief Executive Bob McCoskrie said it’s “a grubby little book”.

But Flora said “for young people seeking information about sex, resources like this provide an alternative to pornography or other material online that could be harmful. The classification allows parents to determine if its right for their teens.

“Restricting this publication would take away the ability of parents and whānau to use this publication as an educational tool in discussions around sex.

“It would also make this educational resource less accessible than online pornography, which we know from our previous research is often the ‘go-to’ for young people curious to find out more about sex.

“For us it was a very straightforward decision. Our legislation is very clear as to what constitutes an ‘Objectionable’ (i.e. banned or illegal) publication, or why a publication should be restricted in some other way. To meet the legal threshold the availability of this publication would have to be ‘injurious to the public good’.

Flora said that the Office instead found the publication to be an educational resource written in plain language and combined with simple, but colourful (non-erotic), illustrations.

“The book is clearly about sex. It is written in very large letters on the front cover so is unlikely to be mistaken for a book on another subject.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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