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Lawmakers Say State-Sponsored Sex Ed Website Talks Dirty

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 28 2011

Some Massachusetts lawmakers apparently think the state has crossed the line in using the Internet for sexual education by supporting a website about sex, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV that is targeted to teens.

Boston.com is carrying an AP item today about the site, Mariatalks.com, run by the independent AIDS Action Committee and supported the state Department of Public Health. Some Republican legislators say the site is vulgar and downplays the risks of sexual activity. Call it an online front in the culture war over sexual education.

The fictional characters introduced on the site include "Oscar," a gay college student, who describes his concerns about sex:

I used to think that the only way to be really safe was to not have sex at all, but now I’ve learned that there are a lot of ways to have safer sex, so I wanted to talk to a counselor some more about how I could reduce my risks.

Elsewhere on the site, written largely in the voice of a teenager named "Maria," is a page that explains all the many acts that "sex" can refer to. Presumably to eliminate any confusion in young, uneducated minds, the site provides colloquial synonyms for each act — many of which are not suitable for a family blog, but it is how a lot of people talk. Some Massachusetts lawmakers think that's too much license, and an inappopriate use of the Internet as a teaching tool — with state money, anyhow. Here's the AP item:

“The language that is used on this site is disgusting," said Representative Elizabeth Poirier, a North Attleborough Republican. “There are words that I would find difficult to speak."

State officials are apparently "willing to meet with critics and take steps to improve the content of the site," Boston.com reports.