"THE MEMORY OF JESUS IS BOTH SACRED AND SUBVERSIVE"
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
SEX versus REPRESSION
Ireland’s millennials are sexually liberated – and losing their religion
IRELAND’S younger generation are among the most sexually liberal millennials in Europe – and are losing their religion.
The nation’s young people have given a snapshot of their take on 21st-century life as part of one of the biggest pan-European surveys into the attitudes of more than a million millennials across Europe.
In the two-part RTÉ2 series ‘Generation What?’, Irish millennials answer 149 questions from sex to politics, to media and equality, in the survey of 18 to 34-year-olds in 14 countries.
The Irish were the most likely of all nationalities surveyed to have had sex in a public place – with 55pc saying they have braved the elements to have sex.
The programme-makers suggest the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ effect could have influenced the 15pc of Irish millennials who said they had tried S&M, which is second only to Greece.
Three out of 10 Irish millennials said they had made love with someone from the same sex, or they would like to.
Sociologist Kevin Myers, who helped analyze the results along with the Department of Sociology in UCD, said the results showed sexual liberal attitudes in young Irish people.
“Among male participants, 78pc answered they wouldn’t be happy without sex. For females, it was a slightly smaller number, at 70pc. We can see that there does seem to be a movement towards much more liberal attitudes to sexual preferences and sex acts in general.
“30pc answered they had made love with someone of the same sex, or they would like to.
“Of this, males were more likely to have made love with someone of the same sex, but women were the ones most likely to want to.
“This does give us the impression that Irish moral attitudes towards sexuality are increasingly liberal.”
Meanwhile, 80pc of young Irish people said they would be happy without a religious belief.
When it came to what community they felt they belonged to, out of eight options, nationality was at the top of the list, with only 7pc saying religion was the most important to them.
“Belonging to a religious organization didn’t seem to be of particular interest to millennials. It is a common pattern through (countries) in the study,” said Mr. Myers.
Six out of 10 millennials agreed that Ireland is still a long way from gender equality – but this figure was split into more than two-thirds of women, but less than half of men.
Dr. Ciara Meehan, an expert in modern Irish history, said several key factors have influenced the minds of this generation. “I think a lot of the big changes date back to the 1990s. If you think about the legalization of divorce, the decriminalization of homosexuality, the election of Mary Robinson as the first female President of Ireland, and the Good Friday Agreement,” she said.
“This millennial crop is the first to be completely immersed in digital and social media, and as a result of that they are much more globalized citizens than previous generations.”
PAT SAYS: This latest survey is both interesting and informative. In my opinion, the current situation with regard to young people, religion, and sex is far healthier than thing were when I was growing up in Ireland in the 60s and 70s. I was not alone in suffering greatly from the sex-obsessed Catholic Ireland in which we lived. I was troubled by sexual repression for the 20 years between puberty and my mid 30s and I found all those years a pure agony. I was running to Confession every few days confession "impure thoughts" and "impure actions" and being quizzed by priests as to the exact nature, content etc of my MORTAL sins. I was made to feel "dirty" and evil and that I was on the road to thousands of years in Purgatory if not Hell itself. As one priest said to me recently: "Pat, they would not allow us to get rid of our semen and it went to our heads and made us mad"!
I finally resolved all my contradictions and confusions when in my late 30s and early 40s I voluntarily engaged in counseling and therapy and became free of all my past burdens. Looking back at that painful time in my left - between the ages of 14 and 35 - I have two feelings: 1. Regret at turning down all the various opportunities for personal and sexual intimacy I was offered by nice people. 2. An appreciation of how the self-discipline I exercised (albeit it not always voluntarily) helped me to say NO to situations that might have been "harmful" to myself or others. Were I to do it all again I think I would have allowed myself to have at least some more happiness and pleasure. I can at least fantasize about the "only ifs" and "might have beens" :-) I really believe that our attitude to sex should be more liberal and permissive. Of course, I believe that, in sexuality, as in all the areas of our lives, there should be certain basic moral principles. Not using or abusing people is one of those principles. But I also believe that many a suicide and many a mental breakdown could have been prevented had the victims had access to some sexual intimacy and pleasure. In many cases, 10 mg of sex may be more effective than 60mg of diazepam or Seroxat!