Sunday 19 January 2020

Missed catching a Magaluf STI? Here is your chance

Magaluf has become notorious this summer. Photos: Gerry Mooney
Magaluf has become notorious this summer. Photos: Gerry Mooney

Henry McKean

I'm in Donegal at a wedding. After the first dance, I snog my date on the dance floor - a big French kiss. The bride shouts over: "Get a room."

It's a million miles away from the sweaty, sticky, hot streets of Magaluf, Mallorca where I've just spent the last week. I wasn't looking for love or no-strings sex, just the Leaving Cert students who were doing so. I had come to the right place. An Englishman, Giles, told me: "Booking a holiday to Magaluf is now a contract where you are guaranteed sex, and you know that when you book."

It wasn't the sex games or the drink-fuelled orgies that shocked me, it was that sex has become a cheap form of entertainment rather like a chick flick you might half watch on a long-haul flight.

I remember meeting a gorgeous girl in Mallorca when I was a teenager. We really hit it off and I thought a holiday romance was definitely on the cards, but I just couldn't make a move. She was incredible, but my shyness kicked in. No score.

When Newstalk asked me to go to Mallorca, I jumped at the opportunity, thinking I might make up for my failed attempts at a holiday romance. Was it still possible for me to find true love in the sun?

There had been so much news coverage of the Northern Irish girl who performed a sex act on 24 boys. The phone footage went viral and it has been heating up 
water-cooler conversations in offices around Ireland for months now.

The bar where the sex game took place faces a fine of €55,000 and has been ordered to close for a year. But should parents be worried? Yes.

Is it really that bad? Yes.

Is your little angel above all of this? No.

In my day, sex was something you had on special occasions. Now it has become a fast-food outlet. You can have it any time, any place and anywhere; it tastes great and has no repercussions, except you might feel a little guilty and unwell.

When I was young, I wouldn't perform a sex act for a free pint. Boys and girls now ask themselves, 'How far will you go for a free drink?' And the answer is - all the way.

It's not like I'm new to Mallorca. I have a connection to the place. My granddad first moved there in 1957 with his job at BEA (now British Airways). Indirectly, he helped Magaluf and Santa Ponsa become the tourist meccas they are today.

When visiting Grandpa in Mallorca as a teenager in the 1990s, I was banned from Magaluf because he knew the sins that went on there. Looking back, he was right. Back then, it was a kiss; holding hands; a relaxed holiday romance. Now it's different - not just a one-night stand, but sometimes two. It's no longer in the privacy of your bedroom, but on the streets or the dance floor. What has happened? Have we turned into a raunchy episode of 'Game of Thrones'? The Magaluf authorities advise holidaymakers to have fun, but not to do anything you wouldn't do at home.

Last week, I met a 19-year-old Scottish guy who admitted to sleeping with three Irish girls over two nights, and he only used a condom once. Safe sex has gone out of fashion and STIs are on the rise. According to a Spanish pharmacist, one young man said he didn't use a condom because he had taken the morning-after pill, not realising it doesn't work for blokes.

Amongst the neon lights and seriously loud music on the Magaluf strip, a Leaving Cert student from Tallaght said: "I use a condom because if I get prego, I won't be able to go out at the weekends."

An 18-year-old girl from Newcastle told me: "Any hole is a goal."

What has changed for young people since the 1990s? Well, not much. They had sex then too. The big change is smart phones - disposable cameras never captured the filth properly. You would take it to a 24-hour photo store and all you got back was an image of a blurred hairy foot.

I worked in Greece in the late 1990s, organising pub crawls in Ios, foam parties in Crete and booze cruises in Ayia Napa. We put 90pc alcohol - used to disinfect cuts - into water pistols and diluted it with cola and orange concentrate to kill the taste, then squirted it into our paying customers' mouths. It's not just this 
generation that do stupid things...

I once drank a bottle of Issey Miyake, the Japanese aftershave after losing a poker game in Crete. It caused me to fall asleep. When I woke, I vomited yellow liquid for about an hour. At the foam party I worked on, we used plastic cups instead of glasses, which got lost in the foam, and so many of the 
party-goers went home with cut feet.

On the pub crawl, we used bananas in the sex games. These days in Magaluf, the bananas have been replaced with real willies. Nothing is left to the imagination. Having no-strings sex in the nightclub toilets is now normal. How low can you go? I think you can always go lower.

I asked one Dubliner in Mallorca if he, after a one-night stand, would buy a girl breakfast the next day. He laughed and said, "No, never."

Locally, Magaluf is called 'Shagaluf' or 'Shagabitch'. Hundreds of millions of euro has been pumped into the area to make it more upmarket, but if people want to have sex on the pavement, you can't stop them.

Magaluf is a mix of rural Irish girls from good convent schools, inner-city Dubs and Dublin 4 natives.

You also have privately educated posh English girls and proud working-class girls from Bradford. These 'cray cray' (crazy) teenagers are getting their kit off and exposing their bodies cheaply, but who are we to pass comment?

Did we not behave badly as teens too? As I met many drunk revellers finding love in a hopeless place, I suddenly felt lonely, surrounded by young beautiful people getting down and dirty.

I failed to find a life partner amongst the smelly Spanish streets. Maybe it's time I give up on the fast food in Magaluf and head to Donegal where people snog on the dance floor and shout 'get a room'.

Henry McKean presents 'Under the Covers' Saturdays 8am and is a reporter on 'Moncrieff', weekdays 1.30-4.30pm on Newstalk 106-108FM;

Irish Independent

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