Well done, Minister Harris. The public have been crying out, after all, for free condoms in third level colleges, and finally, he has delivered. Never say he’s not stuck into his briefs. You can sleep easy in your bed this autumn, safe in the knowledge that your beloved first born is well-equipped for the sexual Olympics he or she is expected to partake in as part of third level education.
This was, of course, one of the many recommendations of that triumph of democracy, the Citizen’s assembly on abortion. Half a million euro will be spent on latex – presumably in all shapes and sizes – to make sure that our STD-ridden population of teenagers will be able to fornicate at will without catching nasty ailments from each other, and to reduce the number of times the Government has to pay some lucky GP €450 to deal with an unforeseen human problem.
More broadly, it is true that there has been a disturbing rise in sexually transmitted infections in Ireland, with the number of Gonnorhea infections, for example, exploding by nearly 50% from 2015 to 2016.
There are two ways to approach this issue, it has to be said. We could reflect on a pornified culture that encourages young people to engage in sexual activities you’ve probably never heard of, with as many partners as possible, and see if we could have a conversation with them as adults to explain the physical and emotional risks of such behaviour. Or, we can give them free condoms and hope that reduces the physical risks. There’s nothing wrong, I suppose, with wearing a seatbelt.
What we never talk about, though, are those emotional scars. The idea that you can hop in and out of beds without a care in the world, and emerge from them all feeling empowered and liberated, is a relatively new one. The notion of sex as a purely animalistic, physical, recreational act, not dissimilar to a game of hurling, is entirely detached from the reality of our evolution as a broadly monogamous species, and the evolutionary development of hormones that cause us to form strong emotional bonds to those we bond physically with.
But that, I suppose, is not the Minister’s remit. For now, just he’ll sleep soundly knowing that your beloved offspring are securely, ahem, wrapped up.