Wednesday 28 September 2016

Case for a Minister for Sex has become quite overwhelming

Published 16/05/2016 | 02:30

'There wasn’t a word about the great sex shortage in any of the programmes for government.' Photo: Getty
'There wasn’t a word about the great sex shortage in any of the programmes for government.' Photo: Getty

There's a terrible shortage of sex at the moment. Sex-starved men are the new silent majority. These men are suffering. Something must be done.

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No one sticks up for men's health. We will refer to international studies and anecdotal research, which conclusively prove sex is good for men. It's good for women too. But today we will focus on men.

It might be down to the weather and all the wet. It's not easy to persuade someone to take off their clothes when the wind blows from the north and the damp gets in the bones.

In the course of my research, I referenced only one woman who told us she never makes love on a full stomach. And that stomach isn't hers. Yes, the beer belly doesn't help but there are men with bellies as flat as a pane of glass who are in a terrible state.

My principal male interviewee voiced strongly held opinions. His partner has turned against sex. He doesn't know why, as she refuses to discuss the reasons for the abstinence.

There may be sex education in the schools nowadays. Back in our time we were shown the sexual organs of the rabbit when the facts of life were being discussed. Many is the chaste man or woman who was greatly surprised on the wedding night. But the facts of Irish life is there is no sex education for adults.

There wasn't a word about the great sex shortage in any of the programmes for government. The expression "I'm on a promise" means something completely different in politics. Maybe it's how the politicians and the HSE are of the opinion there's no such thing as sex. Like climate change.

We are calling for a sex policy. There isn't a person reading this who hasn't had some sort of sexual experience, yet there is no national sex strategy. I will go one further. I am calling for a special Minister for Sex, or at a least a super junior with a vote at the Cabinet table.

The last major Irish study on the benefits of regular sex was carried out by academics from Queen's University Belfast almost 20 years ago. The conclusion was sex is good for the Irish.

"I could have told them that myself and it would have spared a load of money," said one of my research subjects, who complained bitterly about his condition.

Now this next bit can be construed by some as dirt. I accept that hundreds of thousands of you may well be offended when we use a sex word which, when used in the context of equestrian sports, is quite acceptable to all.

The word is also referenced in a different context in the United States, as in a drive in the car, or a lift to work. So if the young lad is heading over on the J1, please warn him about the confusion due to the Yanks making up their own language. There's another warning coming up. Do not read on if you are easily offended. Move on down the page a bit.

The male subject who agreed wholeheartedly with the results of the Queen's University study asked if I knew the difference between an egg and a ride.

"No," says I, "I most certainly do not." And I was as shocked as the man who peed on an electric fence.

But the questioner could not be stopped. "The difference between an egg and a ride," he explained, "is that you can beat an egg, but you can't beat a good ride."

The man's assertion was fully backed up by the results of a study carried out by the University of Bristol.

Caerphilly is a town of about 30,000 people in south Wales. I have been there to see the castle and a wonder it is too, but on my last trip to the town during the Rugby World Cup, a man in the pub told me Caerphilly and some five nearby villages were a living laboratory.

I have always felt a Celtic bond with the Welsh. We are very close in terms of culture, language and geography. Same people too, genetically. A thousand middle-aged men from Caerphilly took part in a study over a number of years and one of the fields covered was sex. Or the lack of it.

We refer to an excellent 2003 academic article by Professor S Ebrahim from the University of Bristol entitled 'Sexual intercourse and risk of ischaemic stroke and coronary heart disease: the Caerphilly study'.

The conclusion was: "Middle-aged men should be heartened to know that frequent sexual intercourse is not likely to result in a substantial increase in risk of strokes, and that some protection from fatal coronary events may be an added bonus."

So we can take it sex is good for the heart. And what is the biggest killer in Ireland ? Heart disease. So there.

Subsequent Caerphilly studies prove conclusively regular sex also helps keep cancer and depression at bay. And this backs up Belfast and Queens.

I have to confess I took a shortcut in this next part of the research. The Programme for Government handed over to the Independents consisted of more than 300 pages of policy statements. I know it's my job to read the whole lot from cover to cover, but I couldn't face it.

I'm taking a gamble here but I am absolutely certain there was no mention of the benefits of sex in the programme. There never is. The opposition parties seem to have no interest in sex. No one marches for sex.

It is time to educate and enlighten. The new Health Minister must take charge. And his campaign slogan might well be 'Sex is Good for You'. If Guinness sues for copyright, Mr Harris might set up an advisory committee.

Irish Independent

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