Sex in Ireland – Part 2

by Seán on August 26, 2007

by Seán | August 26th, 2007  

happy condom by Allan CavanaghThis is the second in a two-part article on sex in Ireland. Read the first Sex in Ireland article here.

Let’s get right down to it.

*insert 70′s wah-wah guitar sound here*

Last fall the Irish government published the Irish Study of Sexual Health and Relationships. It basically indicated that Ireland is undergoing a sexual revolution. Sure, there may not be flowers in their hair, but just 6 percent of today’s Irish population feel that pre-marital sex is wrong.

If that doesn’t sound so odd to you, consider that when the same question was asked of Irish people in 1973, 71 percent said it was wrong.

Yeah, I gotcher generation gap right here, chachi.

And, just like the San Franciscan hippies in 1960s, there has been a flourishing variety of sexually transmitted infections. How much? Well, between 1998 and 2003 the incidence of STIs in Ireland increased by 243 percent.

Holy crap.

This is most likely due to the fact that, 14 percent of Irish people do not use a condom – even when having sex with a person they had just met for the first time – because “they trusted their partner” not to have a sexually transmitted disease.

Where is this trust coming from? Well, some of this HAS to be due to the sex education (or lack thereof) in Irish schools. In the past the country’s population was held close to the bosom of the Catholic church in almost every aspect of life. Today, the lack of sex ed in schools seems to be proving disasterous. When I posted an article on sex education in Irish schools the responses were that sex is hardly mentioned in the Irish curriculum.

Some of it may also be the way the strong-willed Irish female is reacting to the changing mores of Ireland. Last time I opined that the Irish female is incredibly confident and self-assured. I did not say – but maybe it goes without saying – that Irish women can be almost as sexually aggressive as men. I have more than a few single male friends who during a visit to Ireland have basically been plucked from a nightclub dance floor and told in no uncertain terms what awaits them at the other end of a taxi journey.

You go, girl.

What’s more, in a country where abortion is illegal these girls seem willing and able to accept the risk of raising a child on their own. I know a number of single Irish women with children and it doesn’t seem to be the social scandal I’m sure it was 20 years ago. It could be because the Irish family remains strong. So, unlike the states where children flee their parents and home towns as part of the natural aging process, these women are bringing children into a loving, supportive environment where the lack of a father – while certainly unfortunate – seems more manageable.

Men around the world have proven their ability to treat sex casually with no thought to consequences. I wouldn’t say the Irish woman treats sex the same way a man does, but I would say she is an eyes-open, ready to enjoy herself AND shoulder-whatever-consequences-may-arise type of girl.

A funny anecdote: the very first strip clubs opened in Ireland only a few years ago and I’ve heard the owners of these clubs remarking on the radio that some nights there are more women at their shows than men.

Getting back to my point, the third factor might be that Ireland is only just realising its diversity. This was a parochial country for so many centuries that trust was implicit; when you know everyone, you know what to expect. Many of today’s Irish hold onto that mentality – that feeling of knowing everyone around them well – even as their country’s new affluence allows them to travel all over the world and draws the largest population of immigrants in Irish history to her shores.

The trust that a small community engenders does not, unfortunately, belong in modern urban society.

It remains to be seen whether the Irish will become as jaded and superficial as the modern urbanites of other nations. Until then, the Irish sexual revolution continues unabated.

So, how YOU doin’?


Cheers to Allan at for the condom graphic.


juan santos September 2, 2007 at 12:01 am

what is your opinion on brothels in ireland, and the whole sex industry as a whole, you havnt mentioned the rise of online sex and websites such as escortireland dot com

Sean Lightholder September 3, 2007 at 10:15 am

Juan: Looks like a great website for catching all kinds of venereal diseases! Awesome. All this seems a part of Ireland’s sexual revolution, as far as I can tell. I can’t help you by commenting on Irish brothels or the burgeoning sex industry here as I’m lacking any kind of firsthand experience.

As this is, ostensibly, a travel website, I suppose all most of my readers need to know is that prostitution is very much illegal in Ireland. Also, be aware there have been reports in Irish newspapers of foreign women kidnapped and forced to work in the underground sex industry here and in the UK.

rlv March 7, 2008 at 12:54 am


rlv22 March 7, 2008 at 12:56 am

ddgrfh re

kate April 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Sean, how do I contact you about the blog? I cannot find the link?

Alan Kelly January 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I don’t think we irish have moved on that much, when you consider that everytime someone opens a sex shop here, the older lot protest and lobby their local councilor’s to have it shut! I myself am up for most things though! :)


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