Editors: sex education is not lads' mags' job

Lads' mag editors have disputed an official report that suggested they have helped teach teenage boys the facts of life, and argued it is not their job to provide sex education.

An Ofsted review of sex education in schools said: "The increase in the number of magazines aimed at young men — while at times reinforcing sexist attitudes — has helped to redress the balance of advice available to young people."

But Loaded editor Martin Daubney said: "It's not our job to educate people on the perils of sexually transmitted diseases, the perils of young pregnancies or the perils of Aids.

That's the job of government or parents or health authorities.

"Men's mags have never setout and said ‘you must wear a condom, and don't forget about Aids'. Men's magazines if anything are the opposite of that — we're the good time. If you mention to people about gonorrhoea and syphilis it ruins the fun. It's lights on at the end of the party."

Maxim editor Derek Harbinson said: "We have to get things through as entertainment — you can't sit and lecture people. There's nothing very sexy about a feature about chlamydia — that's not our job as an entertainment magazine. Our job is to give people social ammunition to go out and live better lives."

The Periodical Publishers Association has welcomed the report, in particular its comments praising the advisory role of men's mag problem pages.Dr Petra Boynton, who has written on sex issues for numerous national publications, said that while teenage magazines such as Bliss or Sugar will tackle sex in a responsible way because they must adhere to Teenage Magazine Arbitration Panel's guidelines, but lads' mags aren't because they are aimed at older readers.

She said: "When you get down to what [lads' mags are] saying about sex, it's saying as a lad you should have no real worries about your body — you shouldn't be concerned about anything.

"It's saying what you should be doing is acquiring as many hedonist pursuits as possible — and yet we won't tell you how to do those in any safe, consensual or sane way."

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