Explicit sex education embraced throughout the world but not in the UK

The website www.showmehow.co.uk was launched in the UK in October. A project of the Foundation For Sexual Education, the website boasts broad support from sexologists and other educative platforms throughout the world. www.showmehow.co.uk offers educative video courses about sex. They are explicit and clear – but never obscene. 

The successful launch in the Netherlands and Belgium generated over 2 million unique visitors and more than 500 000 courses sold. The website was picked up by several major news sites from around the world, which in turn boosted traffic to the international version of the site: www.showmehow.com.

The striking thing, however, is the poor visitor rate in the UK. According to the producers, this has to do with the unwillingness of the popular English media to write and talk about the website. ‘Too explicit for the UK’ is often cited as the main reason.

Dr. Woet L. Gianotten, doctor-psychotherapist & medical sexologist, member of the Executive Committee of the World Association for Sexual Health: “I am only a little surprised by the reaction in England. They still have a very ambivalent relationship to sexuality and if you ask me that has a lot to do with the significant influence of the tabloids. Everyone seems to be scared of it. It also seems to be the case that many professionals still stick to the age limit of 18 years before they can give explicit sexual advice. That is very disturbing when you consider that 30% of English boys and 26% of English girls have already had intercourse before their 16th birthday. Sticking to such a rule is completely insane when you know than in England 26 out of 1000 girls (15-19 years) have given birth to a child and 26 have undergone an abortion.”

“We have come a long way in terms of how we inform people about sex. Many years ago we started promoting ‘abstinence’ – which of course didn’t work. Then we evolved to education where ‘safety’ was the dominant concern: watch out you don’t get pregnant, watch out you don’t contract STDs. Safe sex is insanely important, but that’s not the end of the story. Respect and pleasure are also important. It is precisely these elements that ‘showmehow’ tackles in a contemporary way.” Woet L. Gianotten continues: “It is entirely natural that young people go in search of information about sex. There is a lot of boring information online, however, that simply does not appeal to young people. You also find a lot of pornography which is even less appropriate for young people. The ‘showmehow’ videos manage to plot a course between the two extremes magnificently. They are well made and the information focuses primarily on pleasure. Aspects such as respect and safety are very obviously present but without detracting from the message.”

Practical info about the website:

  • In the Netherlands, the original website 'hoehetmoet' was accessible to teenagers aged 16 and over. Legislation worldwide, however, made this positioning untenable -  the videos may only be offered to adults over the age of 18.
  • www.showmehow.co.uk (and www.showmehow.com) consists of a homepage where you can watch a demo clip. Visitors can then choose between 19 individual courses or a package especially for women or men (each package, in turn, consists of 14 individual courses). Individual courses last on average 4 minutes and cost €2. A package costs €9.95. You can either purchase a package for yourself or as a gift for someone else. You can pay with your mobile phone or with a bank card.
  • The website is aimed at a young adult audience looking for fun, enjoyable sex. The website contains respectful video courses in which everything is shown in detail. Without shame but with emotion.
  • Find out what the experts are saying
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