A wooden penis, a fabric vagina and an explanatory booklet are among the teaching aids included in the "sex box", a teaching kit slated for distribution to 30 primary schools and kindergartens in Basel this year as part of the canton's sex ed programme for 4 to 10-year-olds, according to the newspaper Blick.
An accompanying guide instructs teachers to "show that contact with body parts can be pleasurable." It also recommends having children massage each other or to rub themselves with warm sand bags, all to the accompaniment of soft music. A second kit will contain more explicit materials for older kids.
Four conservative Swiss political groups including the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and the Christian People’s Party (CVP) started a petition in June against what they describe as the sexualization of elementary schools. As part of their campaign, they published a brochure offering an intimate insight into the Basel teaching materials.
A picture from the petition booklet shows a naked woman rolling a condom onto the penis of her equally naked partner. Such illustrations go too far, according to the Swiss post office. It has therefore refused point blank to distribute the brochures in Switzerland.
“Pictures showing primary sex organs are categorised as pornographic. The distribution of such content was stopped by the post office,“ Swiss Post spokesman Mariano Masserini told 20 Minuten newspaper.
One of the petitioners, SVP councillor Ulrich Schlüer, said he believed the post office’s decision showed that his distaste for the educational methods was more than justified.
“Pictures which adults are not allowed to distribute are to be used as teaching materials for 4-year-olds. That is an absolute scandal,“ he said.
Basel educational director Christoph Eymann said he can understand the decision of the post office, but strongly defended himself against accusations of pornography.
“Personally, I feel some schadenfreude towards the petitioners. I classify the brochure as tasteless, but not the content of the sex box. Previously, rolling on condoms was practised on bananas, now it’s wooden penises – that has nothing to do with pornography,“ he said.
The petitioners said their demands are based on “the protection of the family“.
They have called for there to be "no obligatory sex education", "no simulation of sex games and practices", "no pornography" and "no influencing of sexual orientation" in the canton's sex ed programmes.