Sex survey: eight out of ten say they didn't receive enough sex education
The statistics from The Irish Times sex survey appear to confirm long-held suspicions of therapists
Eight out of 10 people who responded to The Irish Times sex survey do not believe sex education in Ireland is adequate. The figure was lowest among 17- to 24-year olds, at 77 per cent, rising to 87 per cent among those aged over 65 (5 per cent had no opinion, just 8 per cent said they had received sufficient sex education).
Sex therapist Teresa Bergin comments: “This figure tallies with my clinical experience. The large majority of people of all ages would say that their sex education was insufficient. Significantly, people say that they also received very little education or guidance around relationship development and intimacy and practically nothing around potential sexual problems.”
“When sex education is poor or lacking entirely people turn to other sources for information; talking with friends, which though helpful, may include a lot of sexual myths, or to porn which will give a largely distorted view of sexuality and relationships,” she adds
Psychologist Trish Murphy adds: “This survey shows that what is currently normal in sexuality is probably not included in sex education, such as bisexual and homosexual relationships, sex toys, fantasy, pornography, etc.”
Sex therapist Margaret Dunne agrees: “I constantly hear from my clients that they did not receive adequate sex education growing up. The statistics from the survey confirm this – 80 per cent saying they did not receive sufficient sex education in school.”
The Irish Times sex survey was conducted on irishtimes.com over the course of a week in June 2015. A total of 12,639 participants completed the survey (a 71 per cent completion rate), with 12,134 responses used in the follow-up analysis. Over 500 responses were excluded, the vast majority because the participant was under the age of 17 (below the required age to take part) or where it was obvious that false information had been provided. Click here for the full results.
The survey was carried out among self-selecting individuals. It is not a weighted survey and does not purport to be accurately representative of the wider population, biased as it is towards certain age groups (over two-thirds of those who took the survey were between the age of 24 and 50) and towards those who are more sexually active. Therefore all results should be seen as indicative rather than definitive.