‘Family Sex Show’ that urges FIVE-YEAR-OLD children to explore ‘sexual pleasures’ is cancelled

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A so-called ‘Family Sex Show’ that urges children as young as five to explore ‘sexual pleasure’ and ‘try sexual practices’, and ‘draw and label’ male and female genitals has been cancelled following a backlash among thousands of angry and concerned parents.

Theatre company ThisEgg has complained it had been forced to scrap its shocking show, which encourages young children to explore sex and sexuality, ‘before it opened’ in Bristol and Norwich after nearly 40,000 parents signed a petition calling for it to be axed.

Writing on Twitter, the group, which receives funding from Arts Council England, claimed their ‘freedom of expression’ had been cancelled, in the face of anger over unsuitable sexual content for pre-teen children. 

Parents on website Mumsnet called for the police to investigate after it emerged that participants on stage get naked for five minutes.

The Family Sex Show has openly admitted this, stating: ‘There is nakedness yes. At one point in the show, everyone on stage takes their clothes off to the level they feel comfortable to. For some people, that’s taking off all of their clothes and being completely naked.’ 

And its website contains material encouraging little children to draw and label vulvae and penises, and make them out of playdoh, and even to ‘try sexual practices’ with their ‘sexual parts’.

It also contains ‘advice’ on sexuality and gender pronouns, and links to videos about how to become an ‘LGBT ally’. 

On Twitter, ThisEgg claimed that ‘a small group of people with extremist views’ had forced the Tobacco Factory in Bristol and the Norfolk & Norwich Festival to cancel its shows in May. However, an ‘invite-only’ performance will be held at the Egg theatre in Bath this month.   

Campaigners including Laurence Fox and Dominique Samuels called the cancellations ‘a win for parents protecting their children’.

A promotion shot of The Family Sex Show, performed by ThisEgg theatre company

Theatre company ThisEgg yesterday complained it had been forced to scrap its shocking show, which encourages little children to explore sex and sexuality

Theatre company ThisEgg yesterday complained it had been forced to scrap its shocking show, which encourages little children to explore sex and sexuality

The website of the Family Sex Show, aimed at children, asks questions including: 'What senses do your pleasures involve?', 'What sort of things do you touch that make you feel nice and warm?', and 'Do you make enough time to experience pleasure?'

The website of the Family Sex Show, aimed at children, asks questions including: ‘What senses do your pleasures involve?’, ‘What sort of things do you touch that make you feel nice and warm?’, and ‘Do you make enough time to experience pleasure?’

On Twitter, ThisEgg claimed that 'a small group of people with extremist views' had forced venues to cancel its show

On Twitter, ThisEgg claimed that ‘a small group of people with extremist views’ had forced venues to cancel its show

Its website contains material encouraging little children to draw and label vulvae and penises, and make them out of playdoh, and even to 'try sexual practices' with their 'sexual parts'

Its website contains material encouraging little children to draw and label vulvae and penises, and make them out of playdoh, and even to ‘try sexual practices’ with their ‘sexual parts’

Furious parents took to Twitter to celebrate the show's cancellation

Furious parents took to Twitter to celebrate the show’s cancellation

‘The decision has been made by venues to cancel the tour of The Family Sex Show this Spring 2022. There will be performances for an invited audience at The Egg, Theatre Royal Bath ahead of subsequent public performances in the future,’ ThisEgg tweeted.

‘These public performances would have offered safe and positive learning to children, young people and guardians about rights, bodies, sex and relationships, advised by safeguarding and educational specialists.

‘Audiences were given information about the content before booking, so that they could make an informed decision to watch the show.

‘It is regrettable that violent and illegal threats and abuse directed at the company and venues by a small group of people with extremist views has prevented families from opting to attend something that was transparent, consensual and legal.

What’s in The Family Sex Show? 

The Family Sex Show website contains to children on exploring ‘sexual pleasure’ under a series of captions. Here are some examples –  

‘BODIES AND TOUCH’

The​ vulva​ is what is commonly and mistakenly called the​ vagina. The ​vagina​ is only the tunnel inside the body – where you might insert a tampon. The vulva is the outside part of some people’s genitals. Remember: ​not all women have vulvas, and not all vulvas belong to women.

Have a go at drawing and labelling your own vulva!

If you’d like to try and make your own playdoh and playdoh genitals, have a go with these instructions.

‘LOVING OURSELVES’

Have a go at drawing your favourite parts of your body. Is there a body part which feels especially nice to the touch for you? Write to a part of your body which you don’t often pay attention to.

If some of your pleasures are sexual, are there any sexual practices you might like to try?

‘We believe that what has happened is reflective of structural and societal attitudes towards Relationships and Sex Education as well as art, culture and who is allowed to create and what we are allowed to engage with in the UK.

‘The creative team will spend the next two weeks finishing the show, ready for a time it might be able to meet a public. We also want to respond to the events of the last few weeks and how we move forward.

‘Removing work that celebrates freedom of expression from stages cannot be the answer.

‘For audiences who booked, or wanted to come to the show, we are sorry, we hope you will be able to soon. For venues who might want to programme the show, we hope you will.

‘In the meantime, anyone who wants to explore some of the themes of the show for themselves, we have made some pages on our website to support that’.  

Taking to Twitter, furious parents raged: ‘I have taught sex education to primary age pupils for years following schemes designed by experts. Not one of them have talked about masturbation with five-year-olds. If I taught my class to Google masturbating animals, I’d be sacked. Quit rightly.’

Another said: ‘You invited five-year-olds to this, offered free school tickers, it is utterly abhorrent that you thought you could put this ‘show on’ for children. I was horrified. Thank goodness it’s cancelled.’

‘I’m absolutely appalled,’ said another. ‘What on earth are you thinking? How to sexualise kids for ADULTS 101. Parents teach kids what they need to know WHEN they need to know. Leave our kids alone!’. 

‘Jesus. It’s unbelievable that anyone gave this the green light. Everyone involved should have their hard drives checked immediately’, a fourth tweeted. 

Another said: ‘I’m glad your show has been cancelled. Red flags aplenty. Please, do some self-reflection as to why people might think you are completely inappropriate people to be anywhere near young kids.’

One parent tweeted: ‘How is having naked strangers in front of you on a stage any different to being flashed? Why do five-year-olds need to know about masturbation? Children cannot consent to this. The best way to teach children about sex is to answer their questions, when they are read’.

In a statement, Laurence Fox said: ‘The producers of the show are unrepentant, claiming that the cancellation is due to illegal threats of violence and abuse from a ”few extremists”. 

‘Sadly, it seems as though the producers have learned nothing. There was nothing in our campaign that constituted either abuse or violent threats and we hope that any illegality has been duly reported to the police. 

Nearly 40,000 parents have signed a petition demanding the show be scrapped

Nearly 40,000 parents have signed a petition demanding the show be scrapped

The website also contains 'advice' on sexuality and gender pronouns, and links to videos about how to become an 'LGBT ally'

The website also contains ‘advice’ on sexuality and gender pronouns, and links to videos about how to become an ‘LGBT ally’

‘39,000 people is not a handful of ”extremists” either. This was thousands of ordinary mums, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and godparents, standing up in defence of children.

‘The show was never about educating children, but prematurely sexualising them.’ 

Another added: ‘I want to be more progressive, but this doesn’t feel comfortable with me. I think a midpoint toned down version should be where you go from here more tolerable, without genitals and/or material for parents to teach this to their children themselves as it should be’. 

Under a tab called ‘Bodies & Touch’, the website proclaims: ‘The​ vulva​ is what is commonly and mistakenly called the​ vagina. The ​vagina​ is only the tunnel inside the body – where you might insert a tampon. The vulva is the outside part of some people’s genitals. 

‘Remember: ​not all women have vulvas, and not all vulvas belong to women. Have a go at drawing and labelling your own vulva!’. 

It also encourages little children: ‘Now have a go at drawing a ​penis!.’ 

ThisEgg likened the outrage to censorship and insisted that the backlash was merely 'reflective of structural and societal attitudes towards Relationships and Sex Education'

ThisEgg likened the outrage to censorship and insisted that the backlash was merely ‘reflective of structural and societal attitudes towards Relationships and Sex Education’

Under a tab captioned ‘Loving Ourselves’, The Family Sex Show instructs children how to draw their ‘favourite body parts’ and to ‘try sexual practices’ and explore ‘sexual practices’. 

‘Now have a go at drawing your favourite parts of your body. Is there a body part which feels especially nice to the touch for you? Write to a part of your body which you don’t often pay attention to,’ it says.

‘If some of your pleasures are sexual, are there any sexual practices you might like to try?’. 

In another part of the website, The Family Sex Show promotes a book called Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by Adrienne Maree Brown, which helps readers ‘recognise that pleasure is a measure of freedom’ and ‘notice what makes you feel good’.   

The show’s producers have boasted that The Family Sex Show is a performance for families about sex and relationships – with parents encouraged to bring their children along.

Josie Dale-Jones from ThisEgg said: 'We wanted to make something that came at the topics of relationships and sex in a light way'

Josie Dale-Jones from ThisEgg said: ‘We wanted to make something that came at the topics of relationships and sex in a light way’

In a description, the website claims the show is a ‘fun and silly performance about the painfully awkward subject of sex, exploring names and functions, boundaries, consent, pleasure, queerness, sex, gender and relationships’.

It goes on: ‘Using real life bodies, personal stories, songs and movement, The Family Sex Show puts the good stuff at the forefront of conversation and imagines a future where there is no shame; but a celebration of difference, equality and liberation.’ 

But the show sparked a furious backlash after Mumsnet user Matthew Taylor posted: ‘This show is aimed at children five years old and up. The performers get naked. The discussion with the children is on sex, sexuality and sexual pleasure.

‘I cannot imagine bringing a five-year-old child to a theatre where people will tell her/him about sex and show their naked bodies to her/him. Am I the crazy one?’

One 30-year-old mother, who contacted MailOnline about the show, said: ‘If this was aimed at teenagers I would have no objection but aiming this at children as young as five is a complete no-no.

‘They say it is broadly in line with the national curriculum but the difference is that in schools the messages are tailored to the age group whereas this is just dumping a load of stuff onto children who are far too young to deal it.’  

Another user wrote: ‘If my kids teacher got naked to teach them about sexual pleasure, I would have a few choice words and be onto Ofsted faster than you could say where’s my cod piece.’ 

Josie Dale-Jones, from production company ThisEgg, who refers to herself by her pronouns she/her, explained: ‘We wanted to make something that came at the topics of relationships and sex in a light way.

‘In a way that would open conversations and encourage people to ask questions to allow for that space of vulnerability and not knowing and making mistakes we hope the show adds to the more creative or alternative relationships and sex education that is out there at the moment in all different forms and we really wanted to make the show that we wish we’d had when we were younger and part of our adult selves feel like they need now. 

‘And mostly if we know our bodies we know our rights.’

Her colleague Allie, programming and engagement manager at Tobacco Factory Theatres, added: ‘Family Sex Show is a fun and playful show for adults and children aged five and up. It offers an honest, human sex education that is feminist, queer, non-binary, inclusive and sex positive.

‘This show can allow audiences of all ages to feel confident about their bodies, their boundaries and their sexual health.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10734503/Family-Sex-urges-FIVE-YEAR-OLD-children-explore-sexual-pleasures-cancelled.html

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