Intimate issues | 

Author of new sex ed book says most couples experience intimacy problems

“It is important to realise that most couples will experience sexual issues at some point, and this does not mean a relationship is over"
Grace Alice O’Shea who is a sex and relationship educator, in Barna Woods, Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan.

Grace Alice O’Shea who is a sex and relationship educator, in Barna Woods, Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan.

Caoimhe Young

The author of a new book for teens and parents called Sex Educated says Irish couples are eager to delve deep into their intimacy issues to solve sexual issues in a relationship.

Sex Educator Grace Alice O’Shea, who wrote the questions and answers style book with Sexual Health West, says: “If I am at a party and someone discovers I teach sex ed in school they off-load their sexual problems within minutes.

“It is very funny but also very encouraging because it means that people want to talk about it, and it is great not to be ashamed. It is not ideal for me, but it is a starting point.

“I am currently studying to be a Relationship and Sex Coach in Ireland remotely. Irish people want to talk about what is happening in a relationship if there are intimacy problems.

“It is important to realise that most couples will experience sexual issues at some point, and this does not mean a relationship is over, far from it, but you must find out what is happening and why it is happening. Irish couples are ready for sex coaching, and I want to play my part in making Ireland a more sex-positive, sex-literate nation.”

Grace’s books answers questions that young people ask about sex from body image, consent, pleasure, pornography, reproduction and more in Irish schools and is endorsed by President Michael D Higgins, a long-time supporter of Galway-based Sexual Health West.

Grace Alice O'Shea

Grace Alice O'Shea

“These are the questions we get asked in class or anonymously all the time and I just thought it would so be useful for teens and parents to have a good index for these questions, instead of the confusion of the internet. Also, I wanted the book to be warm and to give caring and practical advice at the same time.”

The first chapter deals with sensitive and tricky subject of gender identity and being intersex.

“I wanted the book to be inclusive and comforting to teenagers, which is why I made this my first chapter. Sex Educated deals with so much, I think it will help both teenagers and adults faced with these questions.”

‘How to be a good kisser’ to ‘what if I need a wee in the middle of sex?’ are all covered in the 440-page tome – with some sound advice on porn, consent, and communication.

“In porn, it looks as if the people involved are mind readers who know exactly what the other persons wants. The single most important thing you will ever learn in relation to sex is the ongoing giving and receiving of consent. The bodies we see in porn are very unrealistic.

“Penises in porn are a lot bigger than the average penis which is around 5.1 inches long and many are shorter than this.

“Porn can often be used as a scapegoat for evil, ‘I did this or that because I watched porn when I was very young.’

“Teenagers are going to be exposed to pornography by accident or on purpose and if they have all the information they need from their parents and feel they can ask them questions, then it should be okay.

“The most important thing is not to make them feel ashamed and talk to them about consent.

“If your child comes to you and asks you questions about sex and you feel awkward, go back to them later when you are ready, don’t ignore it.”

Sexual Health West is a voluntary organisation and charity based in Galway and primarily funded by HSE West and charitable donations. Part of the work of SHW is to offer information and education on all aspects of sexual health, and to provide high quality evidence informed youth and community education through the WISER team, www.bewiser.ie.

Sex Educated is published by Tribes Press and is available on tribespress.com.


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