Mary Kenny

Country Matters

Occasions of Sin: Sex & Society in Modern Ireland


Profile Books 694pp £30 order from our bookshop

As a schoolgirl in my Irish convent school, I encountered two versions of sex education. One very decorous version came from the nuns, who would tell us that God had made sexual congress very pleasurable so that the human race would be induced to continue, but that God also insisted that this pleasure be confined to marriage. The second version came from the country girls, who knew all about the bull being taken to the cows and the stallion being taken to the fillies. They even knew a revealing detail about the stallion with the mares and fillies: a ‘teaser’ horse – poor nag! – was employed first to arouse the fillies, and when the females were fully aroused the stallion would be given his unrestrained way while the teaser horse would be removed, unfulfilled. 

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