Home > Free Essays > Sociology > Gender Studies > The Sexual Revolution in Ireland

The Sexual Revolution in Ireland Research Paper

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jan 11th, 2020


Ireland is a country among European countries that have been sexually repressed from the 1900s to late 1990s. Ireland was found to be more liberal when it came to issues of sex and cohabitation before marriage. Sexual revolution in Ireland was a social movement that posed a great challenge to the traditional ethics related to sexuality and associations between people in the entire continent. This happened back in the 1950s to 1980s. Most of the sexual practices that did not portray any ethical standards in Ireland were liberalized.

These practices reduced ethical standards because they almost drained the Irish culture leaving the state under the western culture. Some of these legalized practices include abortion practices, contraception and pills, sex outside marriage, homosexuality, high sexual acceptance outside traditional heterosexual, nakedness in public without no fear, and monogamous relationships (Wilson and Donnan, p. 43).

Although the sexual revolution gained its stability after 1950s, its roots in Ireland can be traced back as far as 1866. This was as a result of the age of reasoning due to enlightening of most people. This was meant for intellectuals and mobilized the power of reason in order to reform the society within Ireland.

It also led to enhanced and advanced technological and social knowledge. This age of enlightening among people enhanced promotion of science and intellectual interchange and opposition of traditional practices like superstition, intolerance and abuses in church and the entire state. The liberation of sexual practices was also a result of the era of Queen Victoria. This was a period of peace, prosperity, and self confidence nationally (Wilson and Donnan, p. 45).

Evolution and development of sexual liberation in Ireland

Sexual revolution in Ireland came as a development of the modern world but led to a great loss power of virtues and moral values especially in the Christian religion. Modernity in Ireland came as a result of the western culture that was introduced after nullifying the tradition and culture in Ireland.

This was due the advanced technology from the education and familiarization of manufacture of products that were used to enhance the sexual revolution. This led to rise of permissive societies in Ireland that accepted sexual freedom and experimenting of the sexual practices.

This made sexual acts be liberalized and become rampant in the whole world. This was well portrayed in matters that were meant to separate the state from sexual matters and cause rejection to such practices like marriage, control of birth practices, as well as adultery (Wilson and Donnan, p. 21).

Most of sexual practices spread due to the increased technology in the media services like the discovery of television in the 1950s which promoted means of communication in the entire state. Therefore, it was easy to pass information and convey new ideas to many people within a short period. This was also enhanced by the development of other mass media devices like newspapers, radios and other media services.

This also assisted in conveying of messages and new information to people in the entire state. All this promoted the growth and expansion of the sexual revolution in Ireland. One of the sexual liberation practices that came to being as a result of media was the pill which was used by women as a means of birth control. This enabled women to have access to easy and reliable means of preventing fusion of gametes during and after performing a sexual activity.

This promoted the sexual revolution because most women and girls in the teenage stage engaged in sexual activity. This is because they were sure of failing to get pregnant after any sexual activity. This increased immoral practices both with married and unmarried people in Ireland. Another practice that evolved was obstetrics which was a medical specialty meant to care for women during the prenatal period, bearing of the child and also during the postnatal period.

This led to a reduction in death and an increment in life expectancy for women in Ireland. In turn, this increased the rate at which women could perform sexual activities hence promoting the sexual revolution period. All this caused the evolution and spread of the sexual revolution in Ireland (Godbeer, p. 45).

Causes of rapid spread of the sexual revolution

Sexual revolution emerged due to a number of factors which were contributed by the people who lived in Ireland. First, the advancement of science and technology was one of the major causes of the spread of the sexual revolution as it led to manufacturing of better methods of birth control pills.

This led to increased knowledge of design and production of condoms that were used by young teenagers to control premarital pregnancies. In turn, this encouraged sexual activities in the entire state. Secondly, improved medication, healthcare, expansion of the pharmaceutical industry was also a major contribution as it led to discovery and perfection of the pill as a birth control method. This increased the sexual activities among the teens since taking pills enabled them avoid pregnancy.

Thirdly, increased sexual revolution was caused by increased literacy in the world. World wide literacy made people in Ireland discover new ideas pertaining sexual activity. This led to increased spread of sexual practices in the state. Fourth, failure to observe religious norms and rules was a major cause of the spread of the sexual revolution in Ireland. People neglected biblical teachings and abandoned all the biblical laws and notions.

This made them embark on utilizing the modernized western culture which in turn led to the rapid spread of the sexual liberation. The emerging of the free love culture where people were taught on the power of love and the beauty of sexual acts as part of the student life in school caused continued spread of sexuality in Ireland (Godbeer, p.160)

Overall Impact of the sexual revolution in Ireland

The evolution and spread of sexual liberation in Ireland is said to have changed the lives of men and women than any other revolution that ever existed in the state. It has had a great impact both to the married people and young girls and boys in the adolescence stage. People ended up engaging in risky sexual practices especially for young girls and boys.

It led to changing of behaviors and ethics leading to low ethical standards in Ireland. There were noted shifts in social attitudes and behaviors within the state. Sexual liberation resulted to premarital pregnancies that affected the girls who never had knowledge of use of contraceptives. Sexually transmitted diseases accompanied by depression and emotional consequences were also consequences which arose from this sexual liberation.

Emotional consequences were as a result of heart break pains from long term relationships which created a sense of betrayal and low self esteem. Most people thought that contraceptives were helpful; however, they could only act as birth control methods but could not reduce the risk of diseases. The spread of sexual liberation led to increased use of anal and oral sex among adolescents in Ireland which in turn resulted to increased spread of sexual infections (Godbeer, p.171).

The spread of the Human Immune Deficiency virus was rapid due to increased sexual practices among adolescents and married couples. It also led to the spread of cervical cancer where about 11000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. Among those diagnosed, about 3700 of them died out of it. It has been noticed that most of the people affected by the liberation of sexual practices in Ireland are the Irish women. This has also affected young girls who are still in the teenage stage (Bradley, p. 96).

This has in turn led to most recorded death rates in the entire state. Rapid spread of sexual liberation also led to most of the unmarried men and women between the ages of 20 to 25 years having many sexual partners. This was common in Ireland until late 1990s. Most of the people in Ireland lived unmarried lives as a result of this so that they could have many sexual partners. The increased freedom of the use of pill as a contraceptive was dangerous because it led to increased “sexualization” among the young girls.

Again, the increased freedom of choice on sexual matters destroyed families in the state hence most of the children could not be brought up in the right manner. In addition, there were a lot of divorce cases noticed during the sexual revolution even up to 2000s where most of the married people divorced and children ended up being brought up by single parents and others by unmarried couples.

This made most children lose one side of the parental love. Sexual revolution also led to shifting of most people from religion and encouraging secularization. In a general sense, sexual revolution has affected millions of people in Ireland causing a notable disturbance in the community and influencing the future society at large. This is because Ireland had already become a site of immoral behavior (Bradley, p. 98-103).

Effects of the sexual revolution to women lives in Ireland

As it has been discussed in literature, women in Ireland have been found to be most affected by the evolution and spread of sexual liberation. A significant number of women have been affected by the infections that occur as a result of sexual activities with infected men. Some of these are the sexually transmitted diseases like cervical cancer and AIDS. This is because most of the men could have several partners that were unmarried and could end up being unmarried.

Although sexual revolution has been seen to have great negative impact to women’s lives, the evolution of pills has helped to empower women in the state which has in turn caused a change in the entire world. Sexual liberation has led to most of early marriages among the ladies in Ireland. This has in turn caused most women not to go through the education system in Ireland leading to high levels of illiteracy.

Sexual liberation has also led to unmarried mothers becoming desperate. This is as a result of increased premarital pregnancies which were common among the teens. Again, it also led to increased immoral behaviors amongst young ladies. In addition, the freedom in sexual matters helped women in the places of work. The evolution of the pill gave married women the freedom to choose the number of children they could wish to bear (Bradley, p.122).

End of the sexual liberation in Ireland

The spread of sexual practices in Ireland increased at a high rate between early 1980s to1990s. Records show that most of the affected groups during this period were still women and unmarried girls. This was indicated by the high rate of teen pregnancies recorded during this period.

This went on at this high rate until 1991 when the rate of premarital pregnancies started to decline up to date. However, records of birth rates in Ireland and most parts of Europe show that teenage birth rate is still the leading as compared to the women birth rates (Wilson and Donnan, p. 134).


From the discussion on sexual revolution in Ireland, it has been found that women were highly affected by this period. This has been indicated by the high rate of deaths recorded in the state which was a result of the sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, gonorrhea and syphilis among others.

Despite the negative impacts of the sexual revolution to women, there are also positive effects arising from the use of some sexual practices introduced during this period. Some of these were use of contraceptives which were found to be helpful to women as it helped reduce the pregnancies and birth rates.

It also helped young girls to reduce premarital pregnancies. On the other hand, men were also affected by the sexual revolution because having sex with those who were infected still transmitted the diseases. Again, the sexual revolution posed a great danger to the community and society at large. This is because of the increased freedom of sexual activities that led to destruction of norms and ethical standards in the state.

Works Cited

Bradley, Anthony. Gender and Sexuality in Modern Ireland. Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1997. Print.

Godbeer, Richard. Sexual Revolution in Early America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. Print.

Wilson, Thomas M. and Hastings Donnan. The Anthropology of Ireland. Oxford: Berg, 2006. Print.

This research paper on The Sexual Revolution in Ireland was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Research Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, January 11). The Sexual Revolution in Ireland. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-sexual-revolution-in-ireland/


IvyPanda. (2020, January 11). The Sexual Revolution in Ireland. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-sexual-revolution-in-ireland/

Work Cited

"The Sexual Revolution in Ireland." IvyPanda, 11 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-sexual-revolution-in-ireland/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Sexual Revolution in Ireland." January 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-sexual-revolution-in-ireland/.


IvyPanda. "The Sexual Revolution in Ireland." January 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-sexual-revolution-in-ireland/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "The Sexual Revolution in Ireland." January 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-sexual-revolution-in-ireland/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Sexual Revolution in Ireland'. 11 January.

Powered by CiteTotal, easy bibliography tool
More related papers