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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007, 01:12 GMT 02:12 UK
Let's talk about sex in the city
By Martin Edwards
BBC News, London

Amora sex academy
The organisers expect half-a-million visitors in the first year

The BBC's editorial guidelines on sex are clear: "In all BBC output, the portrayal of sex, or the exploration of sexual issues, should be editorially justified with appropriate sensitivity."

With this in mind, I venture rather timidly into Amora - a new 7m visitor attraction in London dedicated to love, sex and relationships.

The tone is set from the very beginning.

As I walk down the steps and leave behind the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly, I am greeted by the omnipresent and sensual voice of a woman enticingly whispering sweet nothings.

Once downstairs, the pace and flow of street level has been completely replaced by something altogether different.

The reception area offers a taste of what is to come. Visitors walk to the sound of calm soothing music, psychedelic images and red-coloured walls.

Sex therapists

Beyond here lay the seven interactive zones, covering every aspect of sexual relationships from first flirtations and dating, to sexual health and wellbeing.

Wall graphics, video clips, interactive touch screens, life-sized interactive exhibits as well as a dedicated sex therapist are all on hand to give the visitor an array of information, tips and ideas.

Marketing director Lisa Seddon said: "There's a layering effect to our approach here.

"How much detail you go into is entirely up to you."

The Love & Desire zone introduces visitors to the powers of attraction and seduction.

The British have been very reserved about sex but are now more open than they have ever been
Dr Sarah Brewer,
director of exhibits
The Sensorium zone encourages people to explore all the erogenous zones with multi-media models wired to respond to every touch.

It is here that I encounter a rather unique wall hanging which consists of the casts of dozens of genitalia offered by brave and willing volunteers.

"The aim of this really is to show the diversity of size and shapes that human genitalia comes in," said Ms Seddon.

Sex toys in one particular display ranged in appearance from mantle piece ornaments to more industrial looking devices.

Corporate responsibility

But beyond the fun there is a serious message.

Under 18s will be invited to the academy area of the exhibition in a bid to contribute some way to a better understanding of sex and sexual health among teenagers.

Also, the academy will soon host workshops on sexual health and sexual relationships, led by in-house therapists.

"There's a great need for information about sex and love," said Dr Sarah Brewer, director of exhibits.

"The British have been very reserved about sex but are now more open than they have ever been.

"We do it but are embarrassed about talking about it. Amora is about taking the embarrassment out and putting in the fun."


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