Monday 22 January 2018

HSE-funded site defends 'threesomes are fun' story

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A website funded by the HSE that gives young people information about group sex has defended an article which promotes "threesomes".

SpunOut.ie spokesman Ian Power said the article, which was posted on the website at least three years ago but which has only been highlighted now, was written by a former editor – an American woman who had "liberal views on sex".

And in a statement, the site said it doesn't promote threesomes but "arms young people with the facts about them".

Fine Gael Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin said there was "nothing right" about the website offering advice to users as young as 16 such as: "Threesomes are pretty exciting things. People usually really enjoy them."

And she questioned the state funding of SpunOut.ie – which receives €124,000 a year from the HSE – calling on whoever sanctioned the funding to be brought before an Oireachtas Joint Committee to answer questions.

SpunOut.ie aims to be primary healthcare information website for young people, offering advice on a range of topics from the benefits of reading to combating diabetes, as well as on sexual matters.

The article advises young people that threesomes are "fun" and can "spice things up", while warning they can also cause a relationship to end.

"All too often, older generations avoid having conversations with their young people about difficult subjects.

"An adult's discomfort does not negate a young person's right to information," stated SpunOut.

Mr Power said the website crashed, with more than 8,000 users over the space of 12 hours, after Ms Mulherin highlighted the article.

"We would usually have 800 users visiting the site over the weekend.

"It's a good discussion and the positive thing is that we are talking about sex which is unusual for us as a nation . . . so if Deputy Mulherin's aim was to suppress this information, well unfortunately the absolute opposite has happened."

Ms Mulherin said she will be raising the issue with Health Minister James Reilly.

"My main beef is, why is it a priority for the HSE to be funding a website like this of dubious education value at a time when there are such pressures on services in respect of young people waiting to see child psychologists or orthodontists?" she asked.

Perverse

"It's quite bizarre – who in their right mind would be framing an article suggesting it is appropriate to encourage young people to have sex with people they have no feelings for? I find it quite perverse," she said.

A statement from the HSE said: "SpunOut are funded to provide outreach services to young people which includes independent non-judgmental advice on their website."

Christian think tank the Iona Institute also backed calls for the website's public funding to be suspended.

Irish Independent

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