Awkward Plan B Story Highlights a need for Better Sexual Education

Aoife Breslin

In Ireland sex education in schools is out-dated, based on misinformation or non-existent, which we all know is damaging and ineffective for teenagers.

Earlier this month Roz Purcell appeared on Angela Scanlon’s Thanks a Million podcast, where she shared her story on how being misinformed about sex led her to a mortifying situation.

Unfortunately, due to being uneducated about sex, Purcell found herself at 16-years-old in a doctor’s office seeking emergency contraception when she in fact didn’t even have sex.

On the podcast, Purcell spoke about her sex ed experience in school, “we had some random woman who came in and gave us sex ed, just was like a nun.”

With the misunderstandings created by secondary level sexual education, teenage Purcell was led to believe that fingering could make her pregnant.

Since then, sexual education in a lot of schools still needs major improvements, teenagers should not have to turn to google in order to receive answers to their questions regarding sex.

In 2019, I completed secondary school and can confidently say that we were exposed to very little information surrounding sexual health.

Sex education was introduced into Irish schools in 1995, now in 2021 instead of positively educating students on sexuality and relationships, schools are still avoiding teaching sex ed.

The subject is unfortunately treated as a low priority in most schools. Most teenagers become sexually active at the age of 17-years-old, but without adequate sexual education most of them have no idea how to practice safe sex.

Without the presence of sexual education young adults become so vulnerable to sexual situations which often times can result in a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

According to HIVIreland the burden of STI’s is most common in people aged 15 to 24, this could be corrected if Irish schools were to introduce sufficient sexual education.

Another huge factor is consent, if young adults are not taught the importance of consent at a young age, it is more likely for people to be pressured into sexual activity. This can have horrible consequences on one’s mental health and also some may find themselves in emotionally abusive relationships.

Thankfully for Purcell she only suffered the embarrassment from her morning after pill experience, but unfortunately it can turn so much worse. The only way that we can assure that teenagers know how to practice safe sex and relationships is that they learn it in school.

We will sit for hours learning off Shakespeare and memorizing our theorems, but what young adults need is to feel safe when the time comes that they decide to experiment sexually. The only way we can achieve this is through bettering our education system.

Aoife Breslin.

Image Credit: Sonja Tutty