A Government-backed campaign called ‘Condom confidence boosts women’s sex appeal’ has been sharply criticised for encouraging promiscuity.
Launched by health secretary Dawn Primarolo, the publicity drive is aimed at women in their late teens and early twenties.
It advises young women that “new research… reveals that women who take control in the bedroom by demanding safe sex are more attractive to English men”.
It also offers suggested list of crude phrases women can use to “make it clear you’re up for some fun, but only if he wears a condom”.
Speaking on behalf of the campaign, Cosmopolitan magazine writer Sarah Hedley said: “Taking a condom on a night out should be as normal as taking a phone, keys and purse”.
The £5.2 million campaign has provoked a storm of criticism from MPs, teenage pregnancy experts and family campaigners.
Patricia Morgan, author of academic studies on teenage pregnancy, said: “You could hardly do more to encourage promiscuity. It is close to asking girls to go about the place with notices on their foreheads saying they are available.
“It is crude and brutal, and it will lead to more STIs, more pregnancies, and greater unhappiness.”
Tory MP Julian Brazier said: “I have always accepted that condoms have some role to play in fighting sexually-transmitted infections.
“But it is very sad that the authors of this document do not seem to understand that the problem starts with growing levels of sexual activity by people with multiple partners.
“This campaign is contributing to the further growth of the problem rather than to public health.”
Mike Judge of The Christian Institute pointed out that the campaign is at odds with Government efforts to protect women from sexual violence and rape.
He said: “This will encourage promiscuity and encourage men to think of women as sex objects. It will do nothing to discourage rape.”