Edgy Sex Ed Videos for Teens Spark Debate

New online sex education site has been labeled smart, vile and hokey.

ByABC News
January 6, 2009, 5:31 PM

Sept. 3, 2008— -- With online videos titled "Horse Penis Virus" and "I Didn't Spew," a Planned Parenthood group in Oregon has taken the battle over sex education to brand new turf.

The Web site "Take Care Down There" features video vignettes of young adults in pink and blue T-shirts enacting teenage sexual dilemmas. At crucial moments, a mustachioed middle-aged man interrupts the "teens" and offers sex education words of wisdom.

Watch Ad: 'Take Care Down There'

The site, run by Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette in Portland, Ore., is just one of several launched by local and national Planned Parenthood organizations that aim to bring sex education beyond classrooms and libraries and into media young adults use most.

Following the April debut of "Take Care Down There," Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Ohio launched "The A-Word" this summer, and the National Planned Parenthood league has maintained a long-standing sexual education resource called teenwire.org.

Aside from the ongoing abstinence-only versus contraception sex education debate, the marketing approach of these online videos has ignited a divisive response across the political and academic spectrum.

"They're moving into a brave new world with lots of online content," said Katie Walker, director of communications at the American Life League, a Roman Catholic anti-abortion rights and abstinence-only advocacy group.

Representatives of Planned Parenthood agreed, but for different reasons.

"They're meant to be funny, and they use slang because we need to communicate this message to the intended audience," said Liz Delapoer, marketing director of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, where the videos were produced.

"The titles of some of the videos are meant to grab your attention and make you wonder what they are all about," she said.

Indeed, the movable click and drag cutouts of hearts, a share feature to e-mail the videos and a song were the products of a joint effort between Planned Parenthood and a hired advertising firm. But the new approach has delighted, confused and appalled various groups.