Dr Melissa Kang, Yumi Stynes and Jenny Latham (illustrator) have published a book entitled ‘Welcome to Sex!’ which is subtitled ‘Your no-silly-questions guide to pleasure, sexuality & figuring it out’1. Dr Melissa Kang is an adolescent health expert and was formerly the doctor consultant for the teen Dolly magazine2. The book is promoted as a “frank, age-appropriate introductory guide to sex and sexuality for teens of all genders, from the creators of the best-selling guides ’Welcome to Your Period’ (2019)3, ‘Welcome to Consent’ (2023)4, and ‘Welcome to Your Boobs (2022)5’”1.

I don’t recall any furore surrounding the publication of the other books, but then they didn’t mention sex in the title. Culture warriors do not actually read anything, they simply react to headlines or, in this case, a title, if it suits their purposes. Thanks to the furore created by the culture warriors, ‘Welcome to Sex’ is now a best seller1. However, department store Big W has announced it has taken the book off shelves in its retail outlets and moved sales to online only, after staff members were abused. It has been the self-described think tank Women’s Forum Australia, which focuses on anti-trans campaigning, that has led the push to have the book banned from stores and libraries2.

The culture warriors say that the book is a graphic sex guide that’s ‘teaching sex’ to young children. They have taken particular issue with small sections of the book that address other sexual practices beyond penetrative sex (I had to look up one of these! I’ve led a sheltered life.). They are also critical of the inclusion of what they term ‘gender ideology’. Others have accused the authors of ‘grooming’ children6.

The epithet ‘gender ideology’ always makes me roll my eyes, for it is the culture warriors who are the gender ideologues in insisting, against all the evidence, that there are only boys and girls and nothing in between. This false dichotomy stems from the reaction to the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, where the term ‘gender’ was inscribed in a document resulting from an inter-governmental consultation. Six months later, at the Preparatory Committee Meeting for the IV World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995), in New York, the term was openly attacked by US based right wing Catholic groups and it remained a topic of suspicion until right before the conference. Significantly, at the Beijing Conference itself, the term was not openly attacked, probably because the Vatican and its allies had other urgent matters to cope with such as the sexual rights of women and sexual orientation as a non-justifiable basis of discrimination. In the 1997 book, ‘The Gender Agenda’, Dale O’Leary, a female North American conservative Catholic journalist portrayed gender as a neo-colonial tool of an international feminist conspiracy. You have to laugh. The same year, Cardinal Ratzinger, then the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and later Pope, in the book ‘The Salt of the Earth’ wrote that the concept of gender ‘dissimulates an insurrection against the limits man carry [sic] within him as a biological being’7. This is the kind of drivel with which the religious buffalo the gullible into believing the religious actually know what they are talking about.

Sex and gender can often be much more complicated than it at first seems. According to the right-wing gender ideologues, the presence of a Y chromosome makes you a male, and without it, you are female. However, doctors and scientists have long known that some people straddle the boundary—their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another. Parents of children with these kinds of conditions—known as intersex conditions—often face difficult decisions about whether to bring up their child as a boy or a girl. Some researchers now say that as many as 1 person in 100 has some form of intersex condition. Indeed, even more unusual, some people have a body in which large parts have cells with a Y chromosome and large parts with cells having no Y chromosome, and it is suspected that these people come from the amalgamation of two embryos in utero8.

The other term of abuse—‘grooming’—is often misused by the culture warriors. Grooming is what paedophiles do to individual children by hiding information from them, or not providing information to them. According to the promotional blurb, this book (which I haven’t read) is about education and it is education, not just about sex, but about anything, that scares the bejesus out of culture warriors.

It has been shown that providing comprehensive sex and sexuality education causes young people to delay the onset of sexual activity, and when they do, they tend to do it more safely9

This is what the culture warriors don’t want anyone to know. It is ironic that, in the US, from where the Australian culture warriors import their drivel, the highest teen birth rates (over 2.5%) are in states where over 45% of people identify as ‘very religious’10.

The whining about the Welcome to Sex book by the culture warriors is a microcosm of the constant battle between the religious and reality; specifically, the reality of their declining influence in the modern world. Those whose sex and gender do not fit the simplistic male or female dichotomy are simply the most recent targets of the bigotry of the religious and follow on from women, atheists, pregnant unmarried women, gay men, and others.

It was the famous science fiction writer and futurist Arthur C. Clarke who said: “One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion”11. The fact that these people, with all their bigotries, pretend they are moral is their ultimate hypocrisy.


  1. https://www.booktopia.com.au/welcome-to-sex-melissa-kang/book/9781760509538.html
  2. https://www.nswccl.org.au/the_conversation_big_w#:~:text=Big%20W%20has%20announced%20it,banned%20from%20stores%20and%20libraries
  3. https://www.booktopia.com.au/welcome-to-your-period-melissa-kang/book/9781760503512.html
  4. https://www.booktopia.com.au/welcome-to-consent-yumi-stynes/book/9781536226171.html
  5. https://www.booktopia.com.au/welcome-to-your-boobs-melissa-kang/book/9781760507503.html
  6. https://theconversation.com/big-w-has-withdrawn-welcome-to-sex-from-its-stores-to-protect-staff-but-teen-sex-education-can-keep-young-people-safe-209979
  7. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/gender/2017/12/11/gender-ideology-tracking-its-origins-and-meanings-in-current-gender-politics/
  8. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sex-redefined-the-idea-of-2-sexes-is-overly-simplistic1/
  9. https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/sex-education-does-it-encourage-young-people-to-have-sex/11082868
  10. https://thehumanist.com/commentary/linking-religion-teen-pregnancy-theres-map/
  11. https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7779.Arthur_C_Clarke





  • Clive calver says:

    Excellent article.

  • JON says:

    The three more pressing questions we (well I) need answered are:
    (1) Why do extreme religious bigots have such a fascination with the sexual activities of others?
    (2) What business is it of theirs how and why others identify as non-binary?
    (3) Are religious extremists mentally (and likely socially) impaired, or are they simply slow to mature as responsible adult humans?

    “We” know that some people do NOT fit the convenient binary categories of gender. The Scientific American article points out the chromosome enigma (had heard of men with XX and women with XY but not the case of the dual chromosome woman), and the genetic/DNA complexities, but it doesn’t mention the chemical overlaps, let alone the mental issues.

    This is all very inconvenient for people whose minds are stuck in the Dark Ages and ruled by simplistic, ignorant, and anti-human black and white religious teachings of thousands of years ago.

    • admin says:

      Yep. I had not heard of people with part XX and part XY bodies either. It surprised me to say the least.
      I think the reason that religious nutters have a fascination with sex is because it is a way of controlling people, and much of religion is about controlling people. Hence their definition of ‘religious freedom’ is to inflict their peculiar beliefs on others. They are very strange people. To me, their lust for inflicting their beliefs on others is tantamount to forcing people to follow the Sydney Swans because they are the one true AFL team.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    “Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.” (The great Isaac Asimov.)

    • JON says:

      Thanks Mark. As perfect a summary of Scott Morrison as I’ve seen yet. If Asimov was writing today I suspect he’d have added hypocritical to feeble and childish.

      Obviously not all religious people fit Asimov’s bill. That his sentiment hits the mark shows how deeply ingrained religious control is. I don’t know that strident bigots are uneducated per se, more that they wilfully choose their often hypocritical religious “morality” over reason and basic human kindness. I have no problems with people believing in a “god” but where that belief is used by religious bigots and officials to control and inflict suffering on others – as is all too common in pretty much every religion in the world – then it is a huge blight on both the religion and on basic humanity.

      • Mark Dougall says:

        I totally agree Jon. Asimov spent a lot of his life calling himself a humanist but as he said “I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.” He held no truck for people who were not prepared to reason, and he was very straight forward in denouncing them. He is very much an author, and a thinker, who had quite an influence on me when I was young, and still does. The Foundation novels are collectively a masterpiece, in my opinion, and the opinions of many others.

        • Jon says:

          My mother – a great reader and pretty strong Catholic – had some Asimov books , dont know which. Might take your and her lead and have a bo peep.

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