The Scottish Government is set to relaunch a Christmas sexual health campaign which is to label the festival as “sexmas”, according to media reports.
Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland have criticised the campaign by a Government agency, Sexual Health Scotland.
John Deighan, parliamentary officer for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said the approach “trivialises” sex.
Revd Alan Falconer, of St Machar’s Cathedral in Aberdeen, said the message “detracts” from Christmas.
According to media reports the drive is part of a £100,000 ‘safe sex’ campaign.
The campaign was defended by a Scottish Government spokesman.
He said: “There was no campaign called Sexmas.
“The word was used in one image as part of public health information to drive down rates of sexually transmitted diseases in Scotland, and absolutely no offence was intended.”
Mr Deighan said: “This sort of approach trivialises sex and turns it into just another pastime when we should have a humanised vision of sex – that it is part of love and an intimate part of human relationships.
“The result of this sort of approach seems to be that things just get worse. The more you trivialise sex the more reckless people become.”
Mr Deighan also said: “Using the word Christmas like that is symptomatic of a whole philosophy that undermines their safe sex strategy. They don’t show enough delicacy of language and they don’t show enough respect.”
Scottish newspaper Scotland on Sunday reported that the campaign was first introduced last year.
A spokeswoman for the Government told the newspaper she “wouldn’t be surprised” if ‘sexmas’ was used again this year.
In 2008 a campaign was launched by a Government Minister in London to encourage teenagers to use condoms over Christmas to prevent pregnancies resulting from drunken sex.
A TV ad showed a pair of teenage party-goers consuming large amounts of alcohol and having sex, resulting in the girl getting pregnant. The tagline used was, “Want respect? Use a condom”.