Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009

Spanish 'self love' lessons row


A Spanish region's new approach to sex education has provoked anger by suggesting children be taught "self-exploration and self-pleasure".

The government of Extremadura launched a campaign based around the slogan "pleasure is in your own hands", which gives advice on masturbation.

The scheme has angered Spain's Roman Catholics and conservative media.

But youth workers have also been angered by the row, saying their plans were taken out of context.

'Self esteem'

The education campaign included producing leaflets, a "fanzine" and conducting workshops with children aged between 14 and 17.
"Extremadura should be pleased with itself," Pilar Rahola, a columnist in the Barcelona-based La Vanguardia newspaper, wrote.

"It may have the most unemployed young people in Spain but they will be the best at masturbation."

But Laura Garrido, president of Extremadura's youth council, said the lessons would be valuable to adolescents, and were part of a much broader education than the mechanics of masturbating.

"The lessons are based on the concepts of self esteem, confidence and male and female anatomy and physiology," she said.

Local media reported her as saying that press coverage of the lessons had been "manipulated and twisted".

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