Be it with your partner, your friends, or your doctor, I argue that talking about sex is single handedly the best way to improve the experience.

For far too long here in Ireland the most that was taught in schools about sex was that it was only for married couples, and it was both illegal and a sin for two men to lie together (holy overkill for something that can be done standing).   Quite sarcastically, before 1985 condoms and birth control were only allowed for those joined in matrimony.  In fact, laws banning the sale of condoms to minors were only repealed in 1993.

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Fast-forward from the stone age and things still seem pretty rocky.  Case in point – dealing with a crisis pregnancy in Ireland in 2013?  Better not ask your doctor for referral letter for an abortion clinic in the UK as this could put both you and your doctor behind bars for 14 years (more to come on this next week… #ridiculous).

So a few months ago when I was asked to participate in a national Sexual Health Awareness Week, I jumped at the chance.  This week, known as SHAW, is hosted by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and they invited me onto the organizing committee because of my work with Medical Students for Choice (read: über keener politically enraged nerd).

The theme of this year’s SHAW is communication around sexual health, which, being on the organizing committee, I naturally feel is a brilliant idea.  Talking about sex is crucial to making it pleasurable and safe.  From a medical perspective both patients and doctors need to be discussing sex more often, and not just in terms of STIs.  Studies from the US have shown that almost half of gay men are not out to their doctor; this can have multiple impacts on care.  The onus is on everyone to speak up in the name of fulfilling sexual health.

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SHAW 2013 is free and public lectures are being held in Dublin from November 12th-14th.  For more information and to register, visitwww.rcpi.ie/shaw

With love,
Robbie O’Bara
Mr Gay Europe 2013

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