A recent study conducted on sexual health and relationships in Ireland commissioned by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency and the Department of Health reveals that more than half the population of men and women in the country would have experimented with sexual intercourse before the legally approved age of consent which is now set at 17.
It is alarming to note that the average age of the first sexual encounter is about six years earlier than that estimated four decades ago.
The Irish study surveyed 7,441 adults between the ages of 18 and 64. 22% of the women and 31 of the men in the group admitted to having had sex before the age of 17.
This is an extremely alarming and grim situation as other current surveys prove that early sexual encounters endanger young lives to be open to the ravages of sexually transmitted diseases(STD's).There is 70% chance of ending up with unplanned pregnancies and the chances of going through the trauma of abortions gets tripled. Although women between the ages of 18 and 24 admitted that they do use contraception, an elusive 10% admitted that they don't usually when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Since its clear by this report that the major chunk of the society are now indulging in sexual activity at a very young age, the Irish Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has stressed on the need to now introduce mandatory sex education in schools and infrastructure to equip parents and teachers to cope with the needs to implement the same should be looked into. The people who were part of the study were unanimous in the opinion that sex education should definitely be provided in school and homes.
Stressing on the need of implementing 'safe sex' as a norm in society, with every effort to ensure the availability and accessibility of contraceptive measures is the need of the hour to curb the alarming numbers of unwanted pregnancies.
The Health Service Executive and the Crisis Pregnancy Agency of Ireland have been given the responsibility to chalk out a program to deal with the crisis at hand based on the key information cited by the report submitted.