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With the current charged political climate of #MeToo, which is bringing issues of consent, sexual violence, abuse and harassment to light on a daily basis, it's the PERFECT time for a show like Sex Education.

Netflix' new series is already critically acclaimed with it's standout teenage characters, incredible acting talents and refreshing humour, but what's just as important is the need to face sexuality and it's trials and tribulations at a young age.

The show is tackling imperative issues and somehow manages to be laugh-out-loud funny at the same time, how does it achieve this unique, charming quality?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sex Education follows Otis Milburn, a socially awkward but sweet-natured sixteen-year-old (Asa Butterfield) and his sex therapist mother, played by the amazing Gillian Anderson.

Otis' school life is filled with iconic characters like Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa), the most GAS LGBT+ character of all time, and misunderstood punk and resident badass Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey).

Middle finger Maeve= our 2019 mood. You heard it here first:

fuck you high school GIF by NETFLIX

After discovering his penchant for giving responsible and understanding sex advice, Maeve 'complex female characters' Wiley encourages Otis to set up his own teen sex clinic for some quick cash, and the results are HILARIOUS.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Among the vital topics faced with beautiful skill are abortion, transphobia, homophobia, mental health, consent, contaception, racism, sexism and toxic masculinity; we're in awe of episode three and the emotional rollercoaster of teenage life, told with humour and care.

Here are the best memes and reactions online to our new favourite binge-worthy show, PRAY FOR SEASON TWO IMMEDIATELY.

1. How pure Eric and Otis' friendship is:

2. Complex LGBT character of colour GOALS

3. If you know, you know *wink*

4. The confusing time setting which seems like a 1980s/1990s/2019 mash-up:

5. Is it USA or UK though?! They have Letterman jackets with British accents?! Help?!

6. It's MY VAGINA: that iconic episode four scene has become a meme…

7. How HAWT Gillian Anderson is in the show as Otis' sex savvy mum:

8. Gillian's LEWKS were 2DIE4:

9. Eric and Adam's weird bully vs hilarious victim sexual tension 

10. Maeve Wiley's distinctive Margot Robbie resemblance is HAUNTing:

11. COMPLEX FEMALE CHARACTERS. Need we say more?

12. The script is spit-out-your-tea levels of hilarity:

13. THAT video of 1980s Gillian Anderson teaching a workshop:

14. How damn WOKE it is:

 15. THE PLUMBER's SCROTE:

16. If anyone harmed Eric the internet would defend him til the death:

17. I repeat: TIL THE DEATH

 18. Lily is top 5 strangest characters ever, but she deserves points for her bravery:

19. Aimee. Just…Aimee. Not to mention disturbingly honest portrayals of female masturbation:

20. We choked at this scene, and arguably the funniest line of the script:

21. Eric and Adam's pinky scene. The feels.

 22. GIVE US SEASON TWO AND NO ONE WILL BE HURT:

We gasped at that ending. Our hearts gave out, from pure weakness.

sex ed wtf GIF by NETFLIX

We're currently tweeting Netflix incessantly until they announce a season two.

MAEVE DESERVES HAPPINESS, OKAY? 

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Research has discovered that ONE IN THREE women have heard the classic excuse of the condom being "too small to use."

We're feelin' pretty smug at this news, but we thought it would be three in three, to be honest…

A study has proven that just FOUR percent of people experienced problems with the condom legitimately not being big enough to use, despite so many women hearing the excuse. LOL.

golden girls condom GIF

Scientists were seeking to dispel the fallacy through their testing of condom sizes with an air compressor, and found that the condoms expanded to well over the average penis size.

The NHS and King's College London have previously said that the average size is 5.16 inches long.

However, engineering firm SGS Engineering maintain that the condoms measured roughly THREE FEET LONG by one foot wide when inflated to full capacity, so it seems a lot of men are telling fibs.

the 40 year old virgin hand GIF

A spokesperson for the engineering company who tested the barrier contraceptive said: “The condom, when inflated, would be approximately the same size as an Alsatian.”

A DOGGO. A REAL-LIFE BIG SIZED DOGGO. Let that sink in for a minute.

Researchers talked to 1,000 people in the UK to discover common attitudes to condom use, and found that only one-third of sexually active 18-24 year olds use condoms, and just 41 percent of sexually active folk across all age ranges use them. Alright then, do you want a baby/STI? Did you not see Mean Girls?

sex ed GIF

70 percent of those who were quizzed said they don't use a condom every time they have sex because they use another contraceptive method, such as the pill (24 percent of y'all are smart), withdrawal method (13 percent of y'all are stupid) and sterilisation (10 percent).

This is next level absurd; one in ten people said they didn't use condoms because of the WEIRD SMELL.

20 percent said the reason was discomfort, while 16 percent said it was because they reduced the pleasurably sensation, and 8 percent said they 'forgot'. Fools.

However, of the 70 percent of people who cited another contraception being used, one third just assumed that this was the case but there wasn't any proof. Mmmkay then. 

Half of people experienced an unplanned pregnancy because they didn't use condoms. See? Sex Ed is IMPORTANT people.

Condoms are up to 98 percent effective at protecting against STIs and unwanted pregnancies, 15 percent of people in the survey said they didn't trust condoms for fear of splitting.

Only three percent if these worries are based on this happening to them previously though.

andy samberg flirting GIF

A spokeswoman for SGS Engineering, Natalie Richardson, commented on the results;

 “The findings were surprising – particularly how anti-condom some men seemed to be, despite them not considering any other contraceptive methods."

“Potentially women are being told the excuse as a way of avoiding condom use because of sensation reasons. However, in most cases the risks far outweigh the benefits of ‘increased sensation’,” she added. Damn right they do.

happy the simpsons GIF

Ian Green of sexual health service organisation Terrence Higgins Trust said that the best way to protect against STIs remains to use condoms;

“There is the right condom out there for everyone. Penises come in a whole range of different shapes and sizes – and condoms do too. For example, if you do find standard condoms too small, then you should try a king size option."

“Last year we saw big jumps in rates of both gonorrhoea and syphilis, which is why more needs to be done to promote condom use, the range of different shapes and sizes available, and the importance of regular testing," he continued.

"This is particularly true among groups most affected by STIs in this country, which includes young people, gay and bisexual men, and people from BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) communities.” 

The Family Planning Association, said regular sized condoms are suitable for most penis shapes and sizes.

Karen O’Sullivan, who has 30 years of experience working in sexual health wrote : “We would advise anyone who knows that regular condoms aren’t suitable for them, for whatever reason, to carry appropriate options with them so they can have safe sex."

Sexual health provider SH:24 said health providers need to move away from the “one size fits all” contraception mentality.

“When patients come into a clinic, they can often assume all condoms are the same size so we also want to see better education around choices and how to use condoms properly,“ they said.

It just goes to show, we need to massively step up when it comes to sexual health education, because myths are still circulating.

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The helpline which was set up by the HSE to offer information on unplanned pregnancies to women was reportedly "busy but not overwhelmed" on it's first day yesterday.

The HSE set up the MyOptions helpline in order to act as the main referral path for women seeking abortion services.

On the first day of operation services available nationwide, 20 women sought an abortion according to GPs who have agreed to carry out the services.

The exact level of demand will not be known yet for another number of weeks.

The Irish Times reports that it will be next week at least until the first terminations can be carried out, as a result of the three-day 'cooling-off' period.

The first cases which were referred to doctors ranged from upwards of four weeks' gestation.

In terms of cases which are close to the 12-week limit, they will be facilitated with same-day appointments at the nearest maternity unit.

The flow of Irish women who are travelling to the UK for abortion services is expected to continue, though at a reduced level, as abortions over 12 weeks are not permitted under Irish law except under highly limited circumstances.

The Minister for Health will be notified of the amount of terminations performed within 28 days. 

A number of minor teething issues have arisen involving blood testing procedures and ultrasound provision.

Simon Harris has said;

“The level of preparedness varies, but the initial experience with the HSE’s helpline has been very positive."

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When it comes to sexual/ reproductive health issues, the more information you can provide your doctor with, the better.

Sure, nobody wants to delve into their sexual history or describe the ins and outs of their heavy flow to a complete stranger, but it's got to be done and luckily, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

According to Dr Sara Kayat from netdoctor.co.uk, there are seven things every woman needs to know about their sexual health.

Know your cycle

How long does your period last? Is it regular? How much do you bleed? What about spotting?

If you ever talk to a GP about changes in your menstrual cycle, you better be prepared to answer all of the above and more.

Contraceptives aren't always plain sailing

The pill is not one-size-fits-all, in fact, it can take some women years to find the method of contraception that suits them.

Be sure to monitor any undesired side-effects, such as mood swings or headaches so that your GP can advise you on the best alternative.

Delayed periods can be normal

It can take several months for your periods to return to normal after stopping contraception.

According to Dr Sara, it will take most women between one and three months to start producing enough hormones to get back to their normal rhythm.

Be honest about your sexual history

There is no room for white lies when it comes to the diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections.

Not only is transparency vital in order to assess the potential risk of infection, but it will also help clear the problem up as soon and possible, meaning the risk of passing it on to a sexual partner will be greatly reduced.

Red flags shouldn't be ignored

Dr Sara explains how there are certain symptoms or reproductive health issues that should be closely monitored. 

These include bleeding in between periods, bleeding after sex, deep pain on having sex, unexpected weight loss, unexplained change in discharge, and pelvic pain.

Listen to your biological clock

Sure, if you're under the age of 35 you probably haven't given much thought to the fact that you are only born with a certain amount of eggs.

However, it if you do happen to be struggling to get pregnant after a year of trying, Dr Sara recommends visiting your doctor to investigate further.

Get to know your vagina

A change in the smell or texture of discharge could indicate the presence of thrush or bacterial vaginosis.

While there are many over the counter remedies for conditions like these, there's no harm in consulting a doctor if the problem persists.

 

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A new proposal put forward by the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has called for a number of hormonal contraception methods to be made available for free and without prescription. 

The Irish Times reports that, should the new measures come into effect, the pill, the patch, and the ring, would be freely available for all women over the age of 17. 

The proposed scheme would see pharmacists undergo additional training in line with international guidelines on the provision of contraceptives.

In order to avail of the scheme, women would not be required to have previously been prescribed a hormonal contraceptive.  

A spokesperson for the IPU said: “Given the professional input and the time involved in providing the service, consultation fees in line with those already paid for the EHC consultation to GMS patients (currently €11.50 plus ingredient cost and standard dispensing fee) would be appropriate.”

Similar to the push back on the provision of the morning after pill in 2011, it's likely that GPs would strongly oppose such a change.  

“There are no clinical reasons why oral contraceptives should still require a prescription. The oral contraceptive is one of the safest and most well-studied medicines available,” according to its proposal.

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New plans being considered by the Department of Health could see charges for the morning-after-pill be abolished or significantly reduced, as part of the Government's new sexual health programme.

Speaking yesterday, Health Minister Simon Harris outlined plans for a comprehensive women's health programme which will aim to allow for greater access to condoms, emergency contraception, as well as a potential price decrease for the everyday contraceptive pill with a view to making it completely free in the future. 

As it stands, the emergency contraceptive pill can cost anywhere between €15-€50, while the everyday contraceptive pill costs an average of €10 per month (not including the GP fee). 

According to The Journal, a new three-year education programme will also be rolled out in schools across the country which will include enhanced resources and lesson plans around the subject of sexual health. 

As well as that, the new programme will also include a 'safer sex' advertising campaign and sexual health promotion training for professionals in youth sector, those working with at-risk groups, and for parents. 

Minister Simon Harris stressed that these changes will go ahead, regardless of the result of the upcoming referendum on the legalisation of abortion services. 

“I want to make it clear that these initiatives can and will be implemented even if the proposed referendum is not passed,” he said.

It's understood the proposed initiatives will be funded in 2019, which, according to the Minister, will give him time to prepare the ground for the changes. 

 

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Birth control definitely isn't a one-size fits all concept, but many women don't know exactly what kind of options are available to them past the pill and using condoms.

The Dublin Well Woman Centre wants to change this, and will be hosting an informative discussion on forms of long acting, reversible contraceptives.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives, or LARCsare methods of birth control that provide effective contraception for an extended period without you having to really do anything.

They include options like contraceptive injections, IUDs and subdermal contraceptive implants, or 'the bar.' 

The talk will be on next Tuesday, June 13, and to make the information accessible to all women, it will be streamed live on the Dublin Well Woman Centre Facebook page.

 

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In recent years, they have seen a steady increase in the number of LARCs being fitted in their three Dublin clinics, with many women opting for this highly reliable, ‘Fit and Forget’ form of contraception.

The live discussion will be hosted by DWWC’s Medical Director, Dr Shirley McQuade and Chief Executive, Alison Begas, who will discuss options, the pros and cons of the various IUDs and implants, and answer popular questions and queries.

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At last!

Scientists are one step closer to producing a male contraceptive pill and it’s an entirely plant-based remedy.

Researchers at the University of Berkeley have discovered that a compound found naturally in olives, grapes and mangos could be used to produce the world’s first unisex contraception.

The group have identified two chemicals that could work to hinder the sperm’s ability to fertilize the egg.

The natural substitute to hormonal medication could produce the same effect as the morning after pill if taken within five hours of unprotected sex.

What’s more, scientists also revealed that the findings could potentially pave the way for the development of a male contraceptive pill.

According to The Daily Mail, the study’s co-author, Dr Polina Lishko, explained: ‘It is not toxic to sperm cells – they still can move. But they cannot develop this powerful stroke, because this whole activation pathway is shut down.’’

‘’This is a potentially safer morning after pill, regular Pill, and a future male contraceptive. Essentially it is a future version of a unisex contraceptive.’’

The natural alternative is a breakthrough not only in terms of male contraceptives, but also for those women who struggle to take hormonal contraception due to its many side-effects. 

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There is an app for everything nowadays, from planning your weekly budget to scoring your next date, but would you trust an app with your fertility?

Natural Cycles promises to utilise science to advise you on when you are or are not fertile at various points in your monthly cycle. 

The app promotes a non hormonal method of contraception, and judges whether you are fertile or not.

 

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So, how does it work? Well, you measure your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.

'This reading is an indirect measure of your hormone levels and the information the app needs to effectively analyse your cycle and calculate your red or green day.'

The app was devised by a couple called  Elina and Raoul Berglund for their own use, but they soon wanted the method to be accessible to all women. 

 

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'The couple was unsatisfied with what they found and both to having been active for many years in research in physics, they decided to apply their knowledge in advanced mathematics and data analysis to develop a solution to meet their needs.'

'An algorithm that accurately detects and predicts ovulation and fertility.'

'In the beginning, they used the algorithm for their own purposes but soon realised that this was a huge unmet need amongst women and decided to develop a mobile app.'

The goal was to create a contraceptive option without any of the side effects of chemical methods. 

As the app gets to know you body better through your temperature readings, it is more accurately able to predict your most fertile days in real time. 

However, if you are someone who experiences changes during your cycle, or you're not the most regular, then this app may not be the best option.

 

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The app is definitely a welcome development for women seeking a hormone-free method of contraception.

However, it may be more suited for women who are actively trying to get pregnant, to know when they are most fertile to aid with family planning. 

 

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An estimated 100 million women around the world use the contraceptive pill everyday.

They give us the option to plan and control our reproductive choices, but they can also bring on some pretty awful side effects.

In a recent study, scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden confirmed that this popular form of contraception can actually have a negative impact on a woman's quality of life. 

Researchers gave 340 healthy women aged between 18 and 35 either hormonal contraceptive pills or placebos over a three month period.

The results found that the women who took the hormonal pill reported reduced feelings of overall well-being, including negative impacts on mood, self-control and energy.

However, researchers did note that despite these findings, the pill didn’t actually appear to increase the participants’ risk of depression.

In a slightly concerning statement on the institute’s website, the scientists admitted that the medical community knows “surprisingly little” about how the pill can effect a woman’s health, and emphasized the need for further studies into the subject.

They also noted that because the changes observed between the participants were relatively small, the results should be interpreted cautiously. 

However, the study's co-author, Dr. Niklas Zethraeus, did encourage women to take these findings into account when choosing a method of contraception. 

So, if you reckon your pill is making you feel a bit worse for wear, you're not the only one. 

 

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According to more than 40 years of research, the contraceptive pill can protect women against certain types of cancer.

The study, which was carried out at the University of Aberdeen, reports that women are less likely to suffer from bowl cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer after using the pill, and it can protect you for up to 30 years after.

The research, which studied 46,000 women for 44 years, also debunked the myth that taking the pill can lead to breast cancer in later life – it does not.

Image result for the contraceptive pill

The Oral Contraception Study first began in 1968, by the Royal College of General Practitioners to investigate the side effects of taking birth control.

Dr Lisa Iversen, the lead researcher said: "What we found from looking at up to 44 years' worth of data, was that having ever used the pill, women are less likely to get colorectal, endometrial and ovarian cancer.

"So, the protective benefits from using the pill during their reproductive years are lasting for at least 30 years after women have stopped using the pill.

Image result for the contraceptive pill

"We did not find any evidence of new cancer risks appearing later in life as women get older.

"These results from the longest-running study in the world into oral contraceptive use are reassuring.

"Specifically, pill users don't have an overall increased risk of cancer over their lifetime and that the protective effects of some specific cancers last for at least 30 years," she added.

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It's hard to belive that just over a decade ago, the morning after pill was illegal on Irish shores.

While it was legalised in 2003, it has only been available from your local pharmacy since 2011, with a consultation.

According to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the morning-after pill should be available to buy straight from pharmacy shelves without the need for a private patient consultation.

These consultations usually consist of a short meeting to discus general details, allergies, and contraceptive methods, according to one pharmacist.

The price of these pills comes in at about €35, the highest price in Europe, and according to the BPAS "women are paying the ultimate sexist surcharge on their sex lives,"because of the inflated price.

The emergency contraceptive is available on the medical card, but only after a GP visit to procure a prescription.

"This is neither right nor fair," says the BPAS.

"It is utterly stupid that we have made a medication which gives women a second chance of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy so hard to obtain,” said Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS.

BPAS is calling on the Department of Health to reclassify the morning-after pill as a general sales list drug, which would allow people to buy it directly from shop shelves like condoms. 

“There is no financial justification for the high price of this pill, nor clinical reason for a consultation before it can be sold," said the chief executive.  

According to the BPAS, eliminating the need for the consultation could drive down the price of the pills.

The price of the pill has been branded as "sexist," after one Pharmaceutical Journal report said that the price was to ensure women wouldn't take the pill often.

"The price has been set, in part, to ensure that EHC is not used as a regular method of contraception," it read.

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