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Council apologises to parents after kids exposed to 'extremely graphic' sex booklet

Author
Heath Moore,
Publish Date
Thu, 22 Feb 2024, 7:46am
The booklet from Body Positive contained content visually demonstrating and describing “extremely graphic” sex.
The booklet from Body Positive contained content visually demonstrating and describing “extremely graphic” sex.

Council apologises to parents after kids exposed to 'extremely graphic' sex booklet

Author
Heath Moore,
Publish Date
Thu, 22 Feb 2024, 7:46am

WARNING: Story contains sexual themes. 

Some parents are outraged after young children were exposed to highly detailed and graphic sexual booklets inside an Auckland community centre regularly used by kids. 

It has led to Auckland Council apologising and saying the booklet was “clearly... not appropriate for children” and shouldn’t have been on display. 

On Tuesday, West Auckland mother Coral Porter took her 6-year-old daughter to the New Lynn Community Centre for weekly sporting activities when several children noticed a booklet visually demonstrating and describing “extremely graphic” sex. 

The 36-page booklet, titled Gay Sex & Risk: The basics of HIV prevention for gay men, featured images of male dolls in numerous sex positions, including on the front cover. 

The booklet was issued by Body Positive, a peer support organisation providing care and support to all people living with HIV/Aids in New Zealand, to provide relevant sexual education for the community. 

Contents inside the booklet include chapters on “HIV, f***ing, sucking, condoms, sex play and HIV,” among other highly detailed and age-dependent topics. 

The contents in the booklet produed by Body Positive cover a range of topics on sexual education. However, many parents questioned whether it was appropriate for children.The contents in the booklet produed by Body Positive cover a range of topics on sexual education. However, many parents questioned whether it was appropriate for children. 

Inside one subsection, the booklet discusses how men have sex with other men, as well as different ways to stimulate and pleasure each other, including how to have more intense orgasms. 

Porter, who complained to Auckland Council, voiced her concerns with New Lynn community members over how the highly graphic booklet was easily obtained by children. 

“The children noticed a bunch of these booklets. They were left out in an open public space where children easily have access to,” Porter revealed. 

“Once we [the parents] looked at the booklet we realised that the material is of an extremely graphic nature.” 

She explained she was not complaining about the sexual orientation in the booklet or to judge anyone for their own sexuality, but that “this is about adult material being left out within children’s reach.” 

A Body Positive spokesperson told the Herald they were not aware the booklet was on display at the New Lynn Community Centre. 

Porter, who lodged the complaint with the council, said she believed the community centre where young children’s services and events are held is not a place for graphic adult content to be stored within reach of kids. 

“A community centre is a place where Plunket groups and child playgroups are held. 

“I had hoped that the community centre would think about the children and at least offer a resolution where children can’t access the booklets but they do not see a problem with the books being left out in the open within a child’s reach. Zero regard for children’s safety.” 

Image from the "Gay Sex & Risk" booklet made by Body Positive NZ. Photo / Body Positive NZImage from the "Gay Sex & Risk" booklet made by Body Positive NZ. Photo / Body Positive NZ 

Others from the New Lynn community were equally upset by the explicit content of the booklet being visible to young children. 

One local said the community centre should be a safe space for children. 

“This should not be in eyes and arms reach of primary or younger aged children, period. Once a child is exposed to explicit content you cannot just take it back,” one parent wrote. 

“That means there needs to serious consideration as to what material is displayed for all to see. Children are people who deserve to be safe in community spaces that we the people pay for. 

They continued: “No one wants any group to be excluded from using any space or having access to information. However, why do children’s rights not count here? You have to have rocks in your head if you think this is acceptable for young children to be exposed to. 

“Plunket, toddler sports and primary sports literally operate regularly out of this space. And parents are being told to deal with it? Nah man, do better.” 

Image from the "Gay Sex & Risk" booklet made by Body Positive NZ. The booklets were seen by children and parents at the New Lynn Community Centre. Photo / Body Positive NZImage from the "Gay Sex & Risk" booklet made by Body Positive NZ. The booklets were seen by children and parents at the New Lynn Community Centre. Photo / Body Positive NZ 

Auckland Council’s head of community delivery for north and west, Darryl Soljan, addressed these concerns and told the Herald the booklet shouldn’t have been on display and apologised for any offence caused. 

Auckland Council’s community centres accommodate and support a wide range of people and interest groups throughout the region. New Lynn Community Centre is one of Auckland’s busiest and most diverse,” he said. 

“We take our responsibility to make important information available to the public seriously. Many organisations either leave material such as pamphlets and booklets or approach us to display them.” 

Soljan said information staff consider may be sensitive or inappropriate to children should be displayed in a way where it is not easily visible or accessible to them. 

“Clearly, the content of this particular pamphlet was not appropriate for children and it was displayed in error. 

“It has been removed and we apologise for any offense caused. We are working with staff to ensure sensitive material is more carefully managed in future.” 

Body Positive, while unaware the booklets were on display, said the content was explaining sexual health resources are extremely important. 

The Body Positive spokesperson told the Herald sexual health education “should not be feared” and said they have previously only had one call since 2015 expressing concern over the booklet. 

“Anyone can order or download any of our resources from our website. The Gay Sex & Risk book is one of the few resources available that speak to this topic and that is so important, especially in the current age where sex and pornography are more accessible than ever – not only adult websites, but magazines, TV, billboards and, of course, all over social media. 

“With the limited sexual health education in schools and the lack of content on rainbow sexuality, this resource becomes even more relevant for those that want to access it.” 

The spokesperson said Kiwi teenagers continue to be diagnosed with HIV each year and accurate sexual health education should not be feared. 

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