Sense and sexuality

May 8, 1998

Mike Weaver suggests that the Mapplethorpe book be confined to a reserve bookroom, calling for prudence in the handling of what he calls "pornography" and saying that it ought to be kept away from children until they know their sexuality (THES, Letters, April 24).

He also says that further and higher education students and their advisers "act like 14-year-olds" - silly.

But "reserve bookrooms" and the classification of art as "pornography" and restrictions, in a word, "prudence", actually encourage a prurience and prudery that could well help those who favour censorship and do nothing to discourage the alleged "silliness" of so much of the debate over sexuality.

Until we can openly discuss such matters without fear of interference from the police and paternalistic academics, there is no true freedom concerning our sexuality.

I consider defending ourselves from those who would restrict what freedom we do have not "silly", but a worthwhile activity.

Paul Thatcher University of Portsmouth

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