Guidelines

Section 5: Harm and Offence

Sex

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5.4.34

In all BBC output the portrayal of sex, or the exploration of sexual issues, should be editorially justified and treated with appropriate sensitivity.

In post-watershed content, we must be able to justify the frank and realistic portrayal of sex and the exploration of themes and issues which some people might find offensive. 

5.4.35

The explicit portrayal of sex between under-16s and adults is illegal and must not be depicted at any time on any of our services.

(See Section 18 The Law: 18.9.6)

5.4.36

The discussion and portrayal of sexual behaviour must be editorially justified in programmes broadcast pre-watershed or on radio when children are particularly likely to be in our audience, or in online content likely to appeal to a significant proportion of children.  It must also be appropriate to the likely audience and inexplicit.  Clear content information may be required.

(See Section 5 Harm and Offence: 5.4.2 - 5.4.3)

We must not portray or represent sexual intercourse without a serious educational purpose in programmes broadcast before the watershed or on radio when children are particularly likely to be in our audience, or in online content likely to appeal to a significant proportion of children.

5.4.37

We should consider whether support material is required when we encourage audiences, especially children and young people, to discuss their problems in any of our content.  This could include addresses of a range of relevant websites or the phone numbers of authoritative helplines.

(See Section 14 Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests: 14.4.34 - 14.4.37 and Section 17 Interacting with our Audiences: 17.4.21)

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