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sexual health

Boots has always sold lubricants, pregnancy tests and condoms at the end of the family planning aisle, but that was about as exciting as it ever got. Zero steam, zero playtime, zero fun. Until now…

The brand has now launched an online "sexual pleasure and wellbeing" category, and the selection is pure FIRE. 

From bullet vibrators, wand vibrators and vibrating cock rings to G-spot vibes and Lovehoney frisky rabbits; there's something for every horny person on the website.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The post on their website reads; 

"Say yes… yes…YES to our lust-worthy collection of adult toys to create a buzz in your sex life. Durex’s pleasure rings intensify the sexperience for you both.

"Or why not try So Divine’s discreet vibrating eggs or bullet vibrators? Smile Makers have given wand vibrators a makeover and we’re sure you’ll love their chic, pastel designs. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re going solo or having fun with your partner!"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Research conducted by Boots has discovered that people dedicate 86 percent less time and 60 percent of our money and effort into our wellbeing, compared to any other aspect of our wellness lifestyles.

Sex and masturbation has dozens of known emotional and physical health benefits, so why not invest some time into your pleasure?

In Boot's survey, 45 percent of people said they're comfortable with buying/receiving gifts such as sex toys for or from their partner. These toys will be available in selected stores and you can order them online in discreet packaging.

Lovehoney's rabbit vibrator is a great toy for beginners, seeing as it's not too big and intimidating.

The 'ears' target vibrations to your clitoris while the shaft is designed to stimulate your G-spot at the same time. It's also waterproof so you can use it in the shower, if that's your thing.

Smile Makers The Fireman
Boots, €50

Smile Makers are renowned for their body-safe, phthalate-free sex toys, and creative flair.

The Fireman Personal Massager is described as a "uniquely-shaped clitoral vibrator for an extended stimulation of the whole vulva." Hot damn.

"The house may be burning but this helmeted stud isn't afraid of an intense situation," the description reads. It's quiet, waterproof and has four speeds and two pulsation modes. GET IT

The So Divine Magic Wand is a powerful, dual-motor vibrator that adds to your passion with three speed options and seven pulsating patterns.

It's described as the strong but quiet type that's easy to charge up, and is discreet too. It's water-resistant, latex and phthalate-free, made of premium silky soft silicone and powerful, why not give it a go?

The So Divine Vibrating Rabbit is infamous for its clitoral stimulator and gently contoured shaft.

"The vibrating silicone rabbit has both your clitoral and G-spot orgasm needs covered for an intense blended orgasm," the website description reads.

"Both the stimulator and shaft can be operated separately and with three speeds and seven pulsating patterns, you'll be reaching new highs in no time." Yes, please.

Kiss Kiss also has a heat function, warming up to a body temperature of 37-38 degrees for a lifelike feel that will leave you with a warm, happy glow. Don't forget that dual motor, and it's latex-free.

The stretchy, snug-fitting Lovehoney ring is designed to prolong your fun, offering constriction, climactic textures and relentless single-speed vibrations for two.

"Lovingly crafted from velvety silicone, this petite treat offers mutual arousal in a pocket-sized, travel-friendly package." It's waterproof too, for showertime fun.

It's high time you treated yourself (and others) to some sex toy fun. Get out of your comfort zone and broaden those sexual horizons.

It's not just penetrative sex that gives pleasure, gals and guys. Shop the entire Boots sex toy collection here.

lucifer on fox GIF by Lucifer

Feature image: Instagram/@smilemakerscollection

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Has anyone else got a stash of (extremely) dusty condoms from your college days, or just from when you nicked them from random clinics or health stalls in school? Us too. 

Condoms have an expiration date on them, in case you weren't already aware, but what exactly happens to condoms if you leave them in the packaging in a darkened drawer for too long?

The last thing you need when you're getting frisky is to realise that your contraceptive is on its last legs…but would an expiry date really dash your hopes of having penetrative sex?

andy samberg flirting GIF

Well, condom materials (latex, polyurethane and lambskin) will degrade and become brittle over time according to Nerys Benfield, DM, MPH.

The renowned gynaecologist from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center spoke to Refinery29 about wearing expired condoms, and we definitely don't think it's worth the risk.

When condoms are less flexible, they break or tear more easily. Using an expired condom leaves you at greater risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection or getting pregnant, Dr. Benfield says.

Still feelin' horny? We certainly don't.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"Despite all the risks, both partners will benefit from using an expired condom versus no condom at all," Dr. Banfield says.

If you store the expired condom in a cool, dry place, it works better than no protection at all. If you can't get any new condoms, the expired one is still your best bet. 

Most latex and polyurethane condoms will have an expiration date of about five years past the manufacture date, so they last quite a long time. We hope you can update your stash in five years, though?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Polyisoprene condoms usually have a shorter shelf-life, but are still usable for about three years. Non-latex natural condoms, e.g. made from sheepskin, have a shorter lifespan and won't protect against many STIs.

Be sure to check your condoms in case any holes or tears have damaged them. If there isn't an expiry date on the packaging or you can't read the date, toss it out. Trust us, better safe than sorry.

So many pleasurable sexual activities don't involve penetration; oral sex, digital sex, mutual masturbation, using sex toys, touching, kissing or just good old-fashioned cuddling.

These activities don't need condoms, so don't panic if your dusty ones aren't salvageable. Get creative and expand your horizons.

john cusack wink GIF

Feature image: Instagram/@iambiancaharris 

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The long-held absurd belief that men have massive libidos and women are pretty indifferent when it comes to sex is still a prominent myth in our society, and new research proves this point.

A new study commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition has shown that almost half of people still reckon that men have stronger sex drives than women.

3,922 British adults were quizzed on heterosexual relationships, and one-third of people (32 percent) think men need sex more than women (WOW) compared to only one percent who said the opposite.

45 percent of the study's participants said that they think a man is more likely to initiate sex, compared with three percent who believe the opposite. 

43 percent said that both sexes were equally responsible for starting sex. One-in-10 of respondents claimed that a woman decides when the intimate act has finished, compared with 36 percent for men and 38 percent who said both.

"Although it's good to find that three-quarters of adults believe men and women are both likely to enjoy sex, what we clearly also have are persistent, widely held views about who sex is primarily 'for', who 'needs' it and whose pleasure matters,” said Sarah Green, director of the organisation.

"This is a cornerstone of equality as much as equal pay and shared parenting, but 'the orgasm gap' is perhaps not as widely discussed as some other key equality issues."

Interestingly, pensioners are more likely than 18-24-year-olds to believe both partners enjoy sex. People aged 65 and older felt both a man and woman would equally enjoy sex.

Among 18-24-year-olds, just 25 percent believe having sex is a mutual decision, while 50 percent think it is up to the man to decide. Just 10 percent believe it’s up to women to choose whether they have sex.

7 percent think women are more likely to "go along with sex to keep their partner happy", compared with only 2 percent who thought the same of men.

Dr Fiona Vera Gray, research fellow at Durham Law School and expert on sexual harassment and pornography, said: "This report shows how far we've got to go in changing outdated ideas about women as sexual gatekeepers."

Research has recently proven that men and women are equally aroused by sexual images, showing that sex makes no difference to the response to sexual visual stimuli.

The Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany published the news in the scientific journal PNAS last month, saying; "Erotic pictures and videos are widely assumed to induce differential response due to sexual duality," the researchers stated.

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Minister for Health Simon Harris is aiming to remove VAT from condoms and menstrual cups, and we want to squeeze him with hugs for life.

Harris called for a review of Ireland's tax approach on menstrual products and the barrier contraceptive ahead of last year's Budget, but no changes were carried out.

His position appears to be the same this year, and he'll be asking for VAT on these goods to be scrapped in October's Budget.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The reduced rate of VAT of 13.5 percent applies to condoms at the moment, but the minister hopes to remove it entirely according to The Journal.

The Irish Pharmacy Union has also called for condoms to be VAT-free, with a pack of 12 condoms currently pricing at between €13 and €20.

Contraceptive gels for use with the barrier method also have a 13.5 percent rate applied. The oral contraceptive pill, the implant and injection currently have 0% VAT.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Harris wrote to Finance Minister Paschal Donohue about the work to reduce crisis pregnancies, saying that the VAT rates;

“Runs contrary to our work for people to practice safer sex and avoid crisis pregnancies and STIs”.

The letter  was released under the Freedom of Information Act, and states that the aim of the Sexual Health Strategy is to “improve sexual health and well being and to reduce negative sexual health outcomes”.

Harris writes in the letter that the cost of condoms could stop people buying them. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The importance of using condoms is also to protect against STIs, including HIV, as well as contraception.

While he pointed out that consumer expenditure is widely subject to VAT, Harris claimed that “there is a strong case for excluding non-oral contraception from this tax”.

"Such a tax may inevitably discourage people from purchasing non-oral contraception due to cost concerns. This runs contrary to our work for people to practise safer sex and avoid crisis pregnancies and STIs. Both of these outcomes have a negative impact on the people concerned and their immediate family."

The health service loses out in the long run if STI rates are high, due to the cost "involved in treating people who contract HIV".

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Harris has also called for the VAT rate on sanitary products to be reduced to 0% also, such as the VAT rate of 23 percent on menstrual cups.

“The issue that now needs attention is the position with newer products. Newer products (e.g. menstrual cups) that were not available at the time of these agreements are subject to the standard rate of VAT 23 percent.

“There is a cogent argument for removing VAT on these and any newer sanitary products and aligning them with the zero-percent VAT rate applicable to tampons and sanitary towels,” he said.

The minister currently is attempting to overhaul the cost and availability of contraception in Ireland.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The government announced that it hopes to increase free contraception nationwide, and Harris plans to reduce the cost of the morning after pill.

Last Monday, Harris announced that condoms would be distributed across third level colleges this year.

A public consultation is currently underway on how to increase access to contraception in the hopes to reduce abortion rates, STIs spreading and crisis pregnancies.

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We finally have an excuse – not that we need one – to unleash our emotional mess on our other halves, as it turns out – he LOVES it. 

Blessed are those couple of months that your partner hasn't discovered your inner crazy yet.

But embrace the mood swings as he may dig it, particularly between the sheets.

According to a German study, men prefer getting frisky with women who are emotionally unstable.

A possible explanation for this? An image of a knight on the white horse coming to save the day, springs to mind.

On the other hand, us gals enjoy men who won’t give us our own way. (Sounds about accurate, and a plausible reason for why we fall for f*ck boys…)

Additionally, attention to detail is a big turn on for us ladies, according to the findings of this study.

Lead researcher Julia Velten and her team investigated volunteer’s sex lives, sexual function and their personality.

Research into personality traits and sex is an area that has been neglected, according to the experts.

A thousand people took part in the sexy survey.

The team concluded that "men whose partners had less emotional stability reported better sexual function."

Meanwhile "lower agreeableness of a sexual partner was predictive of better sexual function in women".

The study was published in the Journal Of Sex Research, and the average age of the volunteers were 51, with the majority being in their current relationships for 24 years. – so they know a thing or two about a lifetime of sex.

For the women, topics of sexual desire, arousal, satisfaction and orgasm were examined.

For our male counterparts, it was erectile function, satisfaction, orgasm and desire.

Their findings revealed that men enjoyed sex more with a partner who had similar traits, in particular being easily stimulated.

"In men who are easily aroused by erotic fantasies or visual stimuli, having a partner who responds in a similar way may facilitate sexual function," the researchers explained.

An attentive man is one to keep around, as sex tends to be better with them.

The team said: "men who are thorough and dutiful may feel the need to satisfy their partner sexually, which may in turn lead to better sexual function of their partners".

The German scientists also put to the bed the misconception that being in a long-term relationship means you’re not gonna get your bit.

"This finding implies that a healthy sexual life is possible even in long relationships," the researchers said.

And, remember – consensual, safe sexy time is always the best. 

Happy humping!

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Kissing is fun, everybody knows that. But who would have known that the act of smooching can actually give you HEALTH BENEFITS? 

Does it heal your broken heart, clear your skin and boost your immune system? You're about to find out.

Strap yourselves in ladies, here are each and every glorious health benefit of puckering up. You should probably find someone to practice on…you know, for the sake of your body. It's a temple, isn't it?

Just don't do it like this:

mr bean love GIF

According to a 2009 scientific study, when we kiss somebody, our bodies release hormones which can actually ease stress. In the case of men, it increases bonding too. We love a good bromance alert.

Oral healthcare, anyone?

Now, we're not saying that you shouldn't brush your teeth or use mouthwash, but allegedly, a good kiss marathon is great news for your teeth and gums. How? Listen up:

Andréa Demirjian, author of Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures, explains:

“When you’re kissing, you’re secreting more saliva in your mouth. That’s the mechanism that washes away the plaque on your teeth that leads to cavities.” A shift a day keeps the dental plaque away, girlos.

allison janney kiss GIF by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

It acts as a painkiller (Seriously)

Your achy, break-y heart deserves some attention. Especially when you've got some form of cramps, like your time of the month.

Apparently, some lip action actually helps to reduce the effects of chronic pain. Some savvy scientists at Current Pharmaceutical Design conducted some research into smooching, learned that the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin is packed full of analgesic painkilling properties.

Oxytocin s released whenever you kiss and hug your partner, so do it as much as possible, we say. Blood vessel dilation after a good kissing sesh is great for reducing aches and pains, so when you're on your period, pucker up. You NEED it, right?

ryan gosling kiss GIF

Hayfever or Bae-fever?

Anyone who suffers from allergies can rejoice at this news; apparently kissing eases itchy eyes and snotty noses (ew).

Researchers at Satou Hospital in Japan investigated the protective effect of kissing against allergies, and claim that locking lips for only 30 minutes can do wonders for the immune system.

It decreases the release of histamine (the chemical which is produced in response to allergens) as it relaxes you, and also can work miracles for eczema sufferers. Is there anything a great shift can't do?

blooming lisa simpson GIF

No pressure, honeys

So apparently, kissing can even reduce your blood pressure? We've all felt butterflies in our stomachs and a weakening of the ol' knees, as well as a quickening heartbeat, and now we've figured out that kissing passionately does even more:

Demirjian explains: “It gets your heartbeat revved in a healthy way that lowers your blood pressure. It dilates the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely, taking pressure off your organs, especially your heart and brain.”

Hot Diggedy Damn, we're 100 percent HERE for this science.

Feel Better In Love GIF

Let's talk about sex, baby, let's talk about you + me

Your sex life gets some HELLA drastic improvements from kissing; the two go together like Grace & Frankie, like women and vibrators, like Netflix and chill. You get the idea.

Kissing is also WAY more likely to increase your chances of having an orgasm. Lord knows we could use some of those…

As Carol Queen, the staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, explains;

“Kissing is a powerful type of foreplay… it helps increase the chances that both partners will have a good and pleasurable erotic experience.”

sexy nun GIF by Originals

Face the Facts

So BASICALLY, kissing involves more than 30 facial muscles, which can be given a major workout from a good kiss.

According to Demirjian, tongue wrestling can strengthen your neck and jawline – very good news, as these are particularly tricky spots to exercise on a daily basis.

“Your mouth has a number of facial muscles,” she says. “When those are engaged in kissing, you can tighten and tone them.”

Tighten and tone, you say? Sign us up.

muscles what GIF

2019 Mood

A perfectly-timed kiss can be the ideal mood booster. If scientists are saying it, then it must be true, right?

Puckering up can give your body a big-time release of happiness hormones, such as serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. Ooh la la.

Those hormonal bad boys can help you relax, restore and revitalise your system. What more could you need?

romantic lady and the tramp GIF

NOW do you believe us about scientific research? 

Grab that lad or lassie and get your smooch on, it's for your own benefit, and theirs too.

Your doctor has officially given you one prescription to visit the LOVE shack *winks* 

Get it, gurrrlllll…

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Unrealistic beauty standards don't seem to give up easily when it comes to women's bodies. *Sigh*

The latest monstrosity is a vagina spa, which has boomed in New York for the last two years and is now landing in London. The VSPOT Medi Spa is expanding, founder Cindy Barshop tells Refinery 29

They're ready to inject, buff and pluck your painfully normal private parts into something magical, and will then charge you a small fortune.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Both the general public as well as medical professionals have an array of questions for the spa, which was probably inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow's…questionable…Goop vaginal steaming recommendation.

Her suggestion was mocked by gynaecologists on both sides of the Atlantic.

The treatment involves lying on a bed while “steam infused with therapeutic herbs is targeted towards your nether regions” and is an absolute bargain!! Just €112!! Wow!!

Dr Vanessa Mackay, spokesperson for Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), debunks the myth that your vagina needs extensive cleaning, seeing as it cleans itself.

“The vagina contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it. If these bacteria are disturbed it can lead to infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, and inflammation,” she told HuffPost UK.

“Steaming the vagina could affect this healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels and cause irritation, infection (such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush) and inflammation. It could also burn the delicate skin around the vagina (the vulva).”

Dr Mackay adds that, to keep yourself feelin' fresh to death, just wash the vulva externally each day with water and UN-perfumed soap. Emphasis on the 'UN'.

Image: Instagram/@vspotmedispa

The  24K Gold Vajacial is a treatment for your vulva, which involved having wax infused with 24K gold smeared over your pubes…*pause for laughter*.

The wax is whipped off and your bikini area blasted with LED lights, designed to “fight ingrown hairs and smooth out the skin tone”.

The price is mysteriously absent from their website (never a good sign) but the 24K Gold Vajacial claims; “gold is a natural anti-inflammatory agent which also helps brighten the skin”.

God help these people.

The O-Shot involves having your own blood platelets injected into your vaginal tissue, which apparently “stimulates vaginal and clitoral rejuvenation”. Translation: They claim it gives you orgasms.

No price is listed, once again, so that's shady shit. 

Dr Naomi Crouch, another RCOG spokesperson, says there's; “no proven evidence or research studies to suggest that injecting a woman’s blood into her clitoris would improve her chances of having an orgasm”.

“Difficulty having an orgasm can be caused by a number of physical or psychological issues including not being stimulated sufficiently, worrying about sexual performance, mood disorders such as depression, problems with physical health, a lack of knowledge or fear of sex, a previous traumatic sexual experience, problems in the relationship or the menopause,” she tells HuffPost.

If you’re unable to have an orgasm, you should see your GP or go to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic, she says.

“They will be able to check for any physical reasons that may be causing the problem, and may refer the woman for psychosexual counselling if there are no obvious physical issues.”

Basically…Don't give up your hard-earned cash for a place like VSPOT, who just take advantage of society's bizarre beauty standards and women's insecurities to take overly rich people's money.

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Condoms have been around for decades, and now you can even buy all types of styles- ribbed, flavoured, heated, extra-thin etc.

It can slip everyone's mind that they help prevent unwanted STIs and pregnancy, particularly when you're about to get frisky with someone and they decline the condom offer.

We've heard the excuses before; "I'm too big to wear a condom", "It doesn't feel good", "It just falls off", "I can't orgasm while wearing one".

golden girls condom GIF

Blah, blah blah; the contraceptives available for women can cause long-term health issues, changes their entire hormonal system, often induces anxiety, migraine, dizziness or causes spotted bleeding.

The list of side effects goes on, but men often say no to a simple condom. The excuses often aren't valid, so tell your boy to wrap it up stat. Luckily for him, we've got a hack to help ease any discomfort.

Cosmopolitan's sex researcher Maureen Miller, PhD, offered some advice;

“Add a few drops of water-based lube to the inside of your condom before you put it on. Men report being amazed at how much better it feels.” SO SIMPLE.

emma stone snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Many condoms come with lubrication on the outside, adding just one or two drops into the tip of the condom before putting it on and rolling it down can make the world of difference for a guy's comfort.

If lube feels unreal for you, we're fairly sure it'll feel great for him too. You only need to add a little bit of lube, however. Too much will make the condom more susceptible to falling off.

Anti-baby note to remember: Oil-based lube can break the condom or thin the walls, so if you're not on any other contraceptive, make sure it's water-based lubricant. We recommend the YES brand.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“Condoms are mighty hard to break, although not impossible. The number one reason for condom breakage is that the condom was not put on properly," Miller says. 

"The tip must be squeezed as the condom is being rolled down the penis so that there is room for ejaculate. Otherwise, the condom can burst," she adds. Remember: Safe sex is hot as f*ck.

There are plenty of ways to make putting on condoms super sexy; “Using your mouth, tongue, and hands, make the project of putting on a condom really erotic." Damn, we need to try this.

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Worrying new figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre have revealed rising rates of young people being diagnosed as HIV positive in Ireland.

An expert described how sixteen people were diagnosed last week with the illness, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is at an "alarming" rate.

The age group of 20-year-olds until the age of 29 are the age group at high risk of getting an infection.

Concern’s team leader for health and HIV Breda Gahan said:

“I’m thinking of those 16 people who got that big blow of news last week and how it will affect them in terms of travelling, future job prospects, stigma and treatment.

“I would say unfortunately the stigma has increased both in Ireland and globally. On top of that, who are you going to tell? Are you going to tell your partner or your ex partners or family? No one wants to carry the burden alone," Breda continued.

“I don’t want to frighten people or say if you have sex you’re going to get HIV that’s not the case. But people don’t realise a lot of the cases of HIV are home grown.”

Even though there is access to free treatment for AIDS in Ireland, Gahan feels that the Government need to do more to raise awareness about the disease.

“HIV prevention is failing, it just hasn’t been invested in despite the increasing number of infections. The Government should get those who have the skills to travel to primary schools to work with those who are age appropriate."

Gahan added;

“Education is the social vaccine. Girls and boys need to understand how to protect themselves from life-threatening infections. There is a serious lack of accurate information, there’s a lot of myths and misconceptions.

“We also need to make services more adolescent and user friendly. No one wants to go to an STI clinic.”

Recent figures from the HPSC report show that 239 cases of HIV have been reported so far this year.  4,193 people have contracted chlamydia, 1,341 have gonorrhoea, and 793 have herpes.

In comparison to last year, Ireland has seen an increase of almost 1,200 infections.

Breda Gahan explained the reason for the apparent lack of concern among youth:

“There’s an increase in STIs among young people because of complacency and people aren’t dying so there’s less fear. Young people don’t really care if they get an STI because it’s treatable.”

The expert says that we need to start educating children in primary school aged 10 to 12; 

“As a nurse, I would go as far to say that it’s too late to educate kids at secondary school level. Hormones are hopping at that age.

“It’s alarming and concerning to see the increase of numbers. No sex can be totally safe – there’s always some risk, for example a condom breaking. But there needs to be education about safer sex.”

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Female masturbation has long faced stigma, yet male masturbation is socially accepted as normal, and even healthy. Yet the advantages and benefits of self-pleasure for women can be easily overlooked.

A new study by TENGA took a dive into the world of self-lovin', and highlighted the impacts it has on everyone around the globe. 

The sex toy company surveyed 10,000 people from nine different countries worldwide to investigate how much masturbation has impacted their lives. The result? It's pretty damn important to people.

According to the results, 91 percent of people in the United Kingdom indulge in masturbation, or have at one point or another. That's around 60 million people, which is impressive.

Unfortunately the survey didn't use Irish people as participants, but we reckon the UK is close enough of an indicator.

When the surveyed population were asked why they masturbate, they responded with three dominant reasons; to satisfy their horniness, to achieve sexual pleasure or to relax/relieve stress.

Other reasons were boredom, to help them sleep, to give them body confidence, to become a better sexual partner or because their partner didn't want to have sex with them at the time.

Other research showed that British men and LGBTQ+ are more likely than other group to masturbate, and men and younger generations tend to start younger – around the age of 13.

93 percent of men said that they had masturbated before, while 88 percent of women claimed to have indulged themselves in self-pleasure before. Women tended to start at the later age of 15.

The stereotype is that women don't masturbate as much as men, but science has disproved this on multiple occasions. Girls love self-love, face the pleasurable facts.

Women who currently use a sex toy were found to be more satisfied with almost every aspect of their sex lives than women who don’t – especially when it comes to quality of masturbation and frequency of orgasm.

When asked how often they masturbate, 61 percent of British participants confirmed they do it at least weekly – a greater share than in almost every other country surveyed. 

Those UK people surveyed said that they are horniest in the month of July (summer lovin'), touch themselves most between 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. and, normally take to their bedrooms to do it.

Sexual therapists and health experts agree that masturbation has many benefits, including letting go of sexual shame, better sex, improved body image and a stronger libido. It also releases stress-reducing endorphins in women. 

64 percent of Brits surveyed consider masturbation to be a form of self care or therapy, and 52 percent think it impacts wellness or state-of-mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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While men tend to orgasm all or most of the time, women are significantly less likely to orgasm as frequently.

Nearly 80-90 percent of people find masturbation to have a positive effect across most aspects of their lives, including their mood, health, energy and productivity levels, and their relationships.

Among the 41 percent of Brits who have regular masturbation routines, men usually watch porn but women prefer to use their imaginations. Interestingly, British fantasise about previous partners more often than their current one. Hmm…

Finally, when asked what celebrities were fantasised about, the most common answers were Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hardy, Mia Khalifa, Christian Grey, Johnny Depp and Emma Watson.

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A brand new online service is allowing people to tell their previous partners anonymously about STIs, and hopes it will encourage more people to get tested.

E4's The Sex Clinic has links with this STI testing company, which allows service users to anonymously text or email current or former partners in order to tell them about the positive result.

Patients have a secure login to the online portal, where test results can be accessed, and if anyone tests positively for an STI, they can anonymously contact them.

The person using the service can enter either an email address or mobile number for the person or people they want to notify, and select whether they want to remain anonymous or not.

After that, it's sent automatically and the weight is off your shoulders. Seems pretty easy, doesn't it? The only catch is if you don't have the person's email address or phone number…

The notice tells the receiver a “person who cares about you has recently tested positive for an STI” and explains in detail about the STI and how to get tested.

STI fact sheets, counselling and support, details on treatment and information on next steps can also be found on their website, Better2know.

Recently, a survey of 2,000 people undertaken by online pharmacy chemist-4-u.com found that a shocking 72 percent of people diagnosed with an STI chose NOT to tell their most recent sexual partners about it.

Better2know.co.uk, hopes to encourage the growth of sexual knowledge by making it easier to tell partners about STIs. 

Metro.co.uk poll showed that 92 percent of people would be worried about how they'd be perceived by a partner who they told about an STI.

The website has been hugely successful so far with patients, who praise the service and claim they never would have notified previous partners unless it was anonymous.

Mike Asher, Chairman and CEO of Better2know.co.uk stated the importance of sexual healthcare and education;

Image: Better2know.co.uk/iStock

“STIs are often initially symptomless, so people need to know their status and how to get treatment – whether that’s communicated anonymously or face-to-face.

"Too often people fail to properly communicate to sexual partners once they have had a positive result. Sometimes patients want to avoid awkwardness or it is because they are upset at the implications of the results," Asher continued.

"Other times it’s down to apprehension about how a recent or short-term partner might react or feelings of guilt. We hope the text service encourages people to inform partners that they are at risk and that as a result, more people get the testing and treatment they need."

The Bulletin of the World Health Organization have just published a study which warns of a 'silent epidemic' in terms of STIs.

According to the survey, an incredible one in 25 people globally are carrying an STI.

Better2know recommends considering the temperament of the partner or partners', and to accept that they may react negatively. Think about what emotional support the person will need, and physical healthcare.

Mike Asher says that how a person tells their partner or former lovers is a very personal choice, but anonymous services can beat the awkwardness, especially if the person barely knows their former partners.

“We are always keen that both parties are first in a place and position where they feel safe and able to process information,” he said.

Being open and honest with a partner is always best to reduce the risk of serious health complications, like infertility.

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New research has shaken us to our very sexual core…almost HALF of Irish people have never been tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Shame on you, lads.

A disturbing 47 percent of Irish people have never gone for a sexual health check-up, according to data gathered by Censuswide.

Medicine Direct commissioned the study as part of their 'Fruit of your Loins' campaign, which emphasises the symptoms of STIs and aims to reduce stigma and raise awareness.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Only 39 percent of the survey's respondents claimed to practice safe sex, while just over half of those quizzed said they would be confident about recognising the symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection. Jaysis.

One-in-five (22 percent) of those asked said they wouldn't be confident in recognising symptoms, and one-in-eight (12 percent) said they were "not at all confident" in spotting signs of an infection

Almost one-in-six (16 percent) of Irish people admitted that they would never divulge details about their sexual past to their partner. 44 percent said they would discuss their sexual history once in a serious relationship.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Worryingly, two out of three people (66 percent) said they wouldn't consult a doctor straight away if they had a sexual health concern. It's incredibly vital to be more responsible for your body, and break free of shame.

Researching symptoms online was the first move for 18 percent of participants, saying they would turn to sites like Google for advice. 17 percent said they would at least consult a medical website, but it can be difficult to know which ones are accurate.

Over a quarter of Irish people (28 percent) rated the information handed out on STIs and symptoms in school as 'poor', or 'awful'. That's Catholic Church-state education for ya…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Men were slightly more likely to talk to their doctor about a sexual health concern than women, with 65 percent of men stating this as opposed to 60 percent of women. This may be due to the gender pain gap in healthcare.

Interestingly, men were less likely to confide in their partner or a friend than women. A quarter of men would wait until symptoms developed before getting an STI check, instead of 21 percent of women.

Only 8 percent of men said they would never get checked after unprotected sex, compared to 7 percent of women. These is still shockingly low numbers…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct,Hussain Abdeh, commented on the discoveries:

“In light of our findings, we made our fruity guide to STI symptoms to try and raise the conversation about positive sexual health and to make it easier to spot potential STI symptoms.

safe sex teen vogue GIF

“It’s worth remembering that for some STIs, such as chlamydia, there can be no visible symptoms – but they can be very damaging if left untreated.

"That’s why it’s so important to work regular STI testing into your life and treat it as a normal part of your lifestyle as a sexually responsible individual." he added.

It's imperative that checking your sexual health regularly becomes the norm.

Remember folks; if in doubt, check it out.

std chlamydia GIF

You can find more information about STI symptoms on the Medicine Direct website, and St James' Hospital also has a free STI clinic called The GUIDE.

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