Just about everyone remembers the character Coach Carr in the 2004 movie Mean Girls for his quote: “Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die. Don’t have sex in the missionary position, don’t have sex standing up, just don’t do it. Ok, now everybody take some rubbers”.
Death is an extreme result of sexual activity, but the inevitable is always a possibility. Henceforth, Sexual Health and Guidance (SHAG) Week was created to promote a safe and healthy attitude towards sex and to make students aware of their sexual practices. SHAG Week campaigns will be running this week in colleges all across Ireland and each college will be hosting a variety of fun-filled events to raise sexual health awareness. As a somewhat conservative nation, the topical issue of SHAG could make some people feel awkward, but it is important to be aware of all the implications that can occur if you don’t use protection. Getting involved in SHAG Week activities is a great way to become informed.
DCU has adopted the theme, ‘Do the Math’ for this year’s campaign and if you calculate the amount of time it takes to use protection, it is nothing in comparison to the variety of problems you could face if you don’t bother. The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) released figures from the Irish Contraception and Crisis Pregnancy study (ICCP, 2010) showing that consistent use of contraception among young adults between the ages of 18-25 is high and increasing, with 80% saying they use contraception every time they have sex.
The study also revealed that a high percentage of students didn’t use protection because alcohol or drugs had an impact on their actions. Lads, go out with rain gear in your pockets just in case the magic happens. Equally, girls should put protectors in their purses because it is just as important that women carry protection.
The SU has an array of events on offer this week, including sex talks, a sexual health magician and something called ‘the bed’, which is a well-kept secret, thus it must be good. Condoms and lube will be distributed to students around campus and SHAG information leaflets will also be available to all students. The Village on Camden Street will host the SHAG Ball tonight and the proceeds will be donated to charity.
DCU’s SU Welfare Officer Neil Patrick Collins said that during SHAG week, the SU are aiming to educate students about “the positives of safe sex” and also the “hazards” related to unsafe sexual practices. The SU also want DCU students to be aware of “the best sexual practices, for the benefit of their health”. The severity of STIs, the topic of pregnancy and mainly that “safe sex = good sex” are the key messages the SU want to get across to students this week. LGBTA groups will also be promoted and supported throughout this week.