Bad romance: 10 surprising facts about the Irish and sex
6. There was no sex in Ireland before TV
Oliver J. Flanagan, the longtime Fine Gael politician, once famously said “there was no sex in Ireland before television.” Flanagan was appalled by the frankness of public debates on Irish television about matters he thought should never be discussed: sex, sexuality, women’s rights. But Flanagan lived to see his conservative standards collapsing all around him. This was in 1966, by the way. It’s safe to assume he would have been appalled by 2010.
7. There will be no sex in heaven
The only time sex is not sinful, according to the Catholic church, is when the intention or the possibility of conceiving are present. So no sex in Heaven, then. If we don’t have earthly bodies there will be no need to procreate. Don’t even be thinking about just enjoying yourselves sexually in the afterlife, because that’s sinful too. It was having sex on earth on earth that sent men and women to the other place. But if you’re dammed if you do and damned if you don’t, the Irish discovered, then you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
8. Do as I say not as I do
Hypocrisy, like money, makes the world go round. But when hypocrisy reaches the towering levels that twentieth century Irish society achieved, something’s got to give. It was the denial of sex, its existence, its allure, its wonder and its normality, that gave the Irish Church so much power. Ironically enough it was sex that stripped them of it too, in a slew of ever increasing scandals that saw clergy having affairs, fathering children or abusing them. Revulsion at the double standards transformed Irish society. It’s sex in all its permutations that historians will return to when discussing the nature of Irish society in the late 20th century.
9. A pint of plain is not your only man
30 years ago, contraceptives were still illegal in the Republic. And pints, believe it or not, were another thing women could not have. To tackle this head on determined women like writer Nell McCafferty went into famous pubs in Dublin’s city centre, ordered 40 brandies, waited for them all to served, and then ordered a pint. When the barman refused, they in turn never paid for the brandies. Hit them in the pocket and they’ll always remember you.
10. Now they’re on YouTube
Now everyone knows your business if they have a laptop. In the last decade you were no one if you’re private life wasn’t picked over in public. Even homegrown Irish celebrities joined the trend of discovering their privately made sex tapes had turned up on YouTube where the whole world laughed at their antics. In Ireland we have Colin Farrell to thank for this. Always first in line for a bit of trouble, in 2005 a sex tape featuring Farrell and a former Playboy model Nicole Narain appeared on the internet prompting a lawsuit by the temperamental Dubliner, who called it “the most expensive 14 minutes of my life.” It certainly wasn’t his most inspired.