Canada museum kills masturbation video after outcry

OTTAWA Thu May 17, 2012 6:18am EDT

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's federal science museum has removed an animated video showing youth masturbating from an upcoming sex exhibit following a public outcry, a museum spokesman said on Wednesday.

The Canada Science and Technology Museum will open the "Sex: A Tell-all Exhibition" on Thursday as planned despite strong criticism from Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who has called it an insult to taxpayers.

But the facility has decided to remove the video and raise to 16 from 12 years the minimum age for unaccompanied children to tour the exhibit designed to answer questions youth have about sexuality.

"The museum has received a higher than expected amount of expressions of concerns from the public," spokesman Yves St-Onge said.

"We take the feedback of our community seriously, and so we have carefully considered their suggestions, and taken appropriate action that we believe will best serve our audiences."

The show includes life-sized, full-frontal nude photos of males and females at various stages of life, and Canada's Sun newspapers have described a "climax room" showing animations of aroused genitals with a voice of a man describing an orgasm.

In the exhibit, clinical sexologist Jamy Ryan discusses anal sex: "If you're comfortable with trying that activity, go ahead and do it. It could be fun for you. But if you're not, you don't really have to do it. It's not an obligation."

Moore spokesman James Maunder said it was clear the exhibit fell outside the museum's mandate of fostering scientific and technological literacy.

"This content cannot be defended, and is insulting to taxpayers," he said.

Responding to criticism, St-Onge said: "The exhibition is designed to present information in a scientific, frank and accessible manner, an approach that the Canada Science and Technology Museum supports."

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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