Courtesy Rethink This controversial ad campaign is causing an international stir.

What is it about sex?

Now that I’ve got your attention, class, let’s try to answer that question.

We don’t seem to have any trouble with violence in our society. According to the Canadian Council on Social Development, the average Canadian child sees 12,000 violent acts on TV each year. Forty of the top-47 video games have violent themes. Etc.

But sex. Now that’s another story, as Vancouver’s Science World found out recently. It has a program underway called The Science of Sexuality:

“This self-guided exhibition explores the different stages of human sexual development … that lead to first love, to the discovery of attraction, seduction, desire and intimacy. By presenting a positive image of sexuality and exploring what science has revealed about the topic, the exhibition hopes to provide visitors with enough information on the many issues of sexuality to make enlightened and responsible decisions.”

Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Uh-oh.

Exposing teens to the “discovery of attraction, seduction, desire and intimacy” is bad enough, but then Science World hired Vancouver’s zaniest ad agency, Rethink, which immediately went out and built some raunchy ads.

One has a man and a woman under the sheets, the man on top and his legs between hers, both of which are in casts. The headline is Orgasms Can Kill Pain.

Another has a picture of a box of tissues surrounded by a number of rumpled tissues with the headline Ejaculation Fights Colds.

Never mind that this sounds like a sure cure for the common cold; the outcry was immediate as self-appointed guardians of the public morality rose up and pronounced themselves offended on behalf of the kids.

Foremost among the guardians was TransLink, the local bus authority, which ruled that neither would grace the buses of Vancouver.

OK, a little raunchy, perhaps. Better hide the kids’ eyes, so they can go back to watching murder on TV or playing video games. And by the time they’re 18, they’ll have seen 40,000 murders, which is no doubt good because that will desensitize them to violence.

Meanwhile, back at the sex exhibit, kids will learn nasty stuff like the molecule responsible for love at first sight (oxytocin) or if there are sexually transmitted diseases you can catch from kissing (herpes). Of course, there’s also something called an “erecto-matic,”  or erection stimulator. And then there’s the “fantasy booth.”

When we were kids, we only went to the stupid dairy on field trips.

So would you rather have your kid operate the erecto-matic or blow away another couple zillion bad guys? And if that seems like an unfair question, you may be having a problem with reality.

Which brings us back to our original question: What is it about sex? By now, isn’t it obvious? The answer you seek is at Science World in Vancouver. Until Sept. 2.

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