Sex exhibit at sci-tech museum causes furor

Canada's Science and Technology Museum has raised the age limit for a controversial sex exhibit after complaints about the content.

Age limit raised and animated masturbation video removed after complaints

Sex: A Tell-All Exhibition was originally produced in Quebec for the Montreal Science Centre. (Montreal Science Centre)

Canada's Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa has raised the age limit for admission to a controversial sex exhibit after dozens of complaints about the content.

As well, animated video informing children about masturbation has been removed.

The moves followed complaints about the exhibit called Sex: A Tell-All Exhibition.

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

"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."

Not appropriate viewing without parents: Moore

Heritage Minister James Moore said during question period Thursday that he was invited to view the exhibit and expressed his concerns.

"I respect the independence of the museum, but they asked me my opinion, and in my opinion it's not appropriate for young underage children to be exposed to sexually explicit material without the consent of their parents," said Moore.

"I've made my views known, it's up to the museum to decide now where they go," said Moore.

Moore's spokesman, James Maunder, had earlier said the purpose of the Museum of Science and Technology is to foster scientific and technological literacy.

"It is clear this exhibit does not fit within that mandate," Maunder told CBC News. "Its content cannot be defended, and is insulting to taxpayers."

The age of admission has been raised to 16 from 12.


Should the sex exhibit be cancelled? Take our survey.

The exhibit was originally produced for the Montreal Science Centre.

The exhibition is interactive, and includes videos of couples kissing passionately and large photographs of penises and clitorises. It also explores puberty and hormonal changes, contraception and how to say no to sexual advances in language teens understand.

Parent changes mind after viewing exhibit

Suzanne Watson of Russell, Ont., said she had written to her children's Catholic school board to ask them to ban tours of the exhibit and also threatened to cancel her membership at the museum after hearing negative reviews of the exhibit.

But Watson, who describes herself as a pro-life mother of five who advocates abstinence to her own children, said she revised her opinion after seeing the exhibit.

"I like the fact it's telling children ... that we can say no — we can say no to sex — and there are other options and it talks about peer pressure and how to deal with that," said Watson.

Watson said she'll keep her membership at the museum, but said still believes schools shouldn't take children to it, saying it's something she thinks parents should do instead.

Mylene Côté, 18, was also touring the exhibit on Thursday, was unfazed by what she saw.

"I think they're showing us healthy sexuality ...they aren't sexualizing it," said Côté. "I mean they're showing the facts, we all have bodies and we all go through this stuff."

The Institute for Marriage and Family Canada, which visited the show last week, also complained, saying it believes the "erotic and titillating" exhibit doesn't belong in a museum.

Dave Quist, the institute's director, said the exhibit approves and promotes anal sex, multiple partners and sex without emotional and marital commitment.

With files from The Canadian Press