The Conversation: Big W has withdrawn Welcome to Sex from its stores to protect staff – but teen sex education can keep young people safe

Australia has a long and unsettling history of literary censorship. Prohibiting books was a tradition that proceeded federation and continued up until the 1970s. Books that the state deemed morally corrosive or too sexually explicit were considered unfit for public dissemination.  NSWCCL as a fledgling organisation was largely responsible for the changes in censorship laws in the early seventies by campaigning to gain entry for many books which were readily available in the UK, US and many other countries but which were denied entry into Australia.

Welcome to Sex, co-authored by the former Dolly Doctor and adolescent health expert Dr Melissa Kang and feminist writer Yumi Stynes, is the fourth book in a series on topics such as consent and menstruation.

Big W has announced it has stripped Welcome to Sex from shelves in its retail outlets and moved sales to online only, after staff members were abused. Women’s Forum Australia, a self-described thinktank that focuses on anti-trans campaigning, has led the push to have the book banned from stores and libraries.

Taking the book off the shelf will hopefully grow interest and see the book grow in popularity. Women's Forum Australia may well have shot themselves in the foot! The best sales pitch is the threat of censorship. It draws attention to books that might otherwise have gone under the radar. Read more here.