Sex in Ireland

Want to know more about sex in Ireland?

Many people believe Ireland to have a conservative outlook on sex yet the country was once home to one of Europe’s busiest red light districts, enjoys some of the most liberal LGBTQ laws in the world and is the sixth most frequent visitor by capita to one of the biggest porn sites on the planet. Sex in Ireland might not be as overt as in Amsterdam or Germany but it is still an important part of modern Ireland.

From the rise in dogging and popularity of swinging to the porn trends of the Irish and how to get a hook-up, we give you a summary of how the sex stats stack up in Ireland.

Sex in Ireland

Once seen as one of the most conservative nations in Europe, modern Ireland is no longer dominated by the strict moral and social opinions of the Catholic Church. In just a generation, the country has seen a decline in church attendance and the result has been a shift towards a more liberal attitude towards sex, pornography diversity of gender and sexuality.

guide to sex in ireland
A largely rural country, The Emerald Isle has a population of 4.77 million, 13% of whom are said to be swingers. Image via Pixabay.

Until fairly recently, Ireland had some pretty archaic laws in place:

  • Until 1980 condoms could only be sold to those over the age of 18 with a prescription
  • Homosexuality was illegal until 1993
  • Divorce was prohibited until 1997

The prohibition of divorce is thought to be behind Irelands enthusiasm for swinging. The practice would have allowed couples to indulge in extra-marital relations and despite divorce now being legal, this activity is still popular; particularly in the older generation. In Ireland the average age of swingers is mid-40s (compared to Spain or Italy where it is mid-20s).

It is thought that around 13% of the nation are regular swingers with some couples preferring dogging to a traditional ‘swap’ event.

ireland dogging
Dogging in Ireland is a popular pastime. Image via Pornhub.

In a survey conducted by the Irish Times in 2015, the following stats were revealed:

  • 16% have engaged in group sex
  • 58% have used sex toys (one of the highest rates in Europe)
  • 52% have engaged in anal sex (48% of whom were women)
  • 27% have masturbated via webcam
  • 71% had had a one-night stand (this makes Ireland one of the highest in Europe)

Sex education in Ireland is largely believed to be out of date and no longer in keeping with the progressive reality of the social and moral changes in the country. Once dominated by Catholic teachings, much of the education given out in schools is based on the negative aspects of sex such as crisis pregnancy, disease and risk. There is also a lack of basic teaching on contraception and safe sex. This has resulted in the country still having quite a high teen pregnancy rate as well as above average STD and HIV infection rates (compared to other Western countries). There has been a sharp rise in rates of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea in Ireland over the last decade.


Adult Industry in Ireland

Censorship laws in Ireland still control some aspects of the distribution and production of pornography and it was only in 1995 that Playboy was legal to purchase.

The country retains bans on offensive domain names for IE domain registry; both and are known to be unacceptable.

In practice, mainstream pornography and niche porn that does not contravene laws on age of consent or other illegal activities is widely available and distributed.

porn ireland
A famously conservative nation, Playboy was banned until the mid-1990s. Image via Flickr.

When it comes to the production of porn, Ireland has no direct industry but the increase in amateur porn is widespread (see Ireland Porn Viewing Trends, below). However, there are several companies that profit from the nations appetite for porn with companies like MG Billing Ireland Limited raking in €357million in revenue from subscriptions to the MindGeek network of sites (Pornhub, YouPorn, Tube8 etc).

Homegrown talent is also a little thin on the ground with the majority of ‘Irish’ porn stars being American with Irish roots. These include some big names but most were born in raised in the USA, namely:

  • Jenna Haze
  • Ashely Adams
  • Devon Lee
  • Penny Pax
  • RayVeness
  • Lexi Belle
  • Eva Angelina
  • Sasha Grey
  • Ricki White
  • Kylie Ireland
  • Dillion Harper

Now retired, Melanie Rowen was popular in the 1990s with plenty of appearances in adult magazines as well as Private Studio porn movies.

Prostitution Laws in Ireland

Prostitution itself is legal in Ireland but many activities surrounding the industry are not. Running a brothel, pimping and soliciting sex are illegal as is paying for sex. The situation means that most prostitutes operate as escorts who are paid for companion services such that sex is not part of the transaction but merely an act between two consenting adults.

prostitution laws ireland
The Irish sex industry is not legalised or regulated but the prostitution trade is still thriving. Image via Wikimedia.

Some sex workers provide in-call services in massage parlours or apartments, but some do work on the streets of the larger cities (mainly Dublin). The majority of prostitutes working in Ireland are foreigners with the predominant nationality being of Eastern European origin.

The number of women working as prostitutes is thought to be relatively low compared to other nations. Conservative estimates place the figure at just 1000 with others suggesting closer to 4000.

As ever in a country where the sex trade is not regulated, it isn’t easy to determine how big the trade is but recent reports on global prostitution statistics suggest that the industry in Ireland amounts to an annual €326milllion.

Historically, prostitution in Ireland has had some prominence, most notably in Dublin during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The area around what is now Foley Street and Sean McDermott Street, known as ‘Monto’ was a thriving red-light district and thought to be one of Europe’s largest at the time. The area was immortalised in James Joyce’s Ullysses as ‘Nighttown’ when the protagonist, Leopold Bloom, visits a brothel with his companion, Stephen Dedalus.

Though moral purification under the Catholic Church along with widespread prohibition reportedly cleaned up the streets in the 20th century, Dublin continued to have a big prostitution market.

Ireland Porn Viewing Trends

Insights into Ireland’s porn viewing trends reveal some social and cultural trends which are no surprise.

Firstly, the country ‘s love affair with sex ‘al fresco’ is reflected in the search history of the users of the porn web giant, Pornhub. Dogging in Ireland is a popular pastime, particularly for swingers in rural communities and the Irish are 45% more likely to be searching for porn tagged as ‘public sex’ than anywhere else in the world.

Though ‘exhibitionist’, ‘voyeur’ and ‘outdoor’ searches are prominent in the country (compared to in other nations), they aren’t the top ranking. Across the country, porn search terms are more in keeping with other popular keywords though, as ever, homegrown porn is popular:

  • Lesbian
  • MILF
  • Irish
  • Step mom
  • Celebrity sex tape
  • Step sister
  • Cartoon
  • Irish homemade
  • JOI (Jerk Off Instructions)
  • Threesome
  • POV
  • Anal
  • Lesbians scissoring
  • Massage
  • British

In keeping with much of the rest of the Western world, the Irish prefer their big name porn stars and Kim Kardashian, Mia Khalifa and Lisa Ann were the top three most searched leading ladies. The appetite for slickly produced American studio porn continues with Brandi Love, Riley Reid, Madison Ivy and Asa Akira also hitting the top searches.

irish porn trends
Pornhub reveals that Irish women are searching for lesbian scissoring. Image via Pornhub.

However, amateur Irish porn is hugely popular and, with a lack of a domestic industry, is the only real way to get a fix of local talent.

Though Ireland only has a population of 4.7 million people, traffic per capita to Pornhub is 171 page views per person ranking them as the 6th busiest nation in the world to the site.

But it’s not just Pornhub where the Irish get their online adult fix and a quick review of the country’s most visited websites reveals some other popular adult sites get regular traffic in Ireland:

  • Pornhub (27th most visited site nationally)
  • Bonga Cams (38th most visited site nationally)
  • Live Jasmin (42nd most visited site nationally)
  • XVideos (47th most visited site nationally)

Top Irish Porn

Unfortunately, there are no big porn sites that dedicate their content to the Irish and the best films available are to be found on the tube hosting sites such as:

The film studio, Rude Britannia made a series of DVDs about a decade ago entitled ‘Fucked in Ireland’ that were popular.

irish porn
The ‘Fucked in Ireland’ series by Rude Britannia remains popular on back catalogue. Image via Adult DVD Marketplace.

LGBTQ in Ireland

Despite popular misconceptions that Ireland is a conservative country, the truth is that there has been a major social and cultural shift over the last generation. The impact on LGBTQ rights in Ireland has been seismic with the nation having some of the most liberal legislation on diversity in the world.

In 2015, Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage with massive popular support. Given that homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1993, this represents one of the fastest turnarounds in legislation for LGBTQ communities on the planet.

The Irish were once seen as a nation dominated by the Catholic Church and, as such, moral and social attitudes towards homosexuality (and diversity in general) were largely synonymous with the strictly conservative religion. However, the last two decades have seen a decline in the influence of Catholicism in Ireland. A mixture of contributing factors underpins this change including greater multiracialism, a string of public scandals involving the church and, despite over 75% of the country identifying as Roman-Catholic, falling numbers actively practicing their faith; only a generation ago, more than 90% of the Irish regularly attended church, now the figures are more like 30%.

lgbtq ireland
Rights for the LGBTQ community in Ireland have been hard won but are now very progressive. Image via Flickr.

The shift towards liberalism has been welcomed by the LGBTQ community as well as the European Union and legislation in Ireland supports every aspect of equality:

  • Transgender persons can self-declare their own gender identity
  • Homosexuals can serve openly in the military
  • The LGBTQ community is protected by far-reaching anti-discrimination laws though there is some discrepancies being campaigned for regarding transgender discrimination
  • Same-sex coupes may adopt (including stepchild adoption within same-sex marriage)
  • Lesbians have access to IVF
  • The age of consent is equal irrespective of sexuality

As far as communities are concerned, most cities and lots of towns have an active and visible LGBTQ presence with the capital, Dublin, having dozens of gay bars, clubs and saunas. The country also hosts several Pride events, the largest being in the capital.

Top Classified/Personals Sites in Ireland

When it comes to casual encounters in Ireland, a poll conducted in 2015 revealed that just 1% of the female population regularly use websites/apps to look for sex; this compares to 4% of men. Fortunately, 7% of women admit to ‘occasionally’ using the services of classifieds and personals for a hook-up.


Craigslist has coverage in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, but ads come from over locations across the Emerald Isle. This free to use classified site has a good personals section which includes a specific category for casual encounters as well as Women Seeking Men and Men Seeing Women.

The fact that the site is free is great for the wallet but does mean that the ads are not verified. As a result, there can be issues with regard to the quality of listings with some being hoaxes or scams. The site is also popular with escorts who advertise their services here.

The other thing to bear in mind with Craigslist is that the number of guys looking on the site far outweighs the number of women advertising so you will have competition for any listing.

craigslist personals ireland
Craigslist has become synonymous with the hook-up and Ireland has some coverage. Image via website.

Adult Friend Finder

Adult Friend Finder is a free to register site but ultimately you need to pay a premium to be able to get the best out of it. The site has a lot of domain authority and is well trusted by millions of users worldwide. Ranked the 33rd most visited site in the adult category worldwide, it attracts an estimated 72million hits each month.

Of course, it’s a global website and that doesn’t mean the entire population of Ireland is using it but the figures signed up in this area are in the tens of thousands.

Adult Friend Finder offers a mix of serious and casual dating opportunities and most people rate the site highly with good success rates on finding a match.

As the world’s number 1 sex dating site it should certainly be on your list of premium sites to look at.

No Strings Attached

With a reported 3 million users registered wordwide, No Strings Attached is a site that is trying to compete with Adult Friend Finder. They do receive over 160,000 visits each month but much of this is in the US.

In Ireland, the figure is more like 4,000 hits per month and there are certainly user numbers to back up the potential of a lot of local users.

The site is free to use and register with but you do have to pay to get the best out of it. Reviews for success rates vary with some reporting high numbers of hook-ups and others dissatisfied.


Like Craigslist, Locanto is a free to use classified site and, along with selling second-hand goods and personal services, has a personals section.

The site has pages for all the counties of Ireland plus popular towns and cities. Of course, the number of ads in each does vary but most locations have at least a handful of recent ads in the personals section.

The categories range from casual encounters and missed connections to lonely hearts and personal services. The latter often includes escorts (or adult masseurs).


Boasting a reported 1 million users, Shagbook, offers users the opportunity to hook up with other singles in your area for a one-night stand or arrange a regular ‘Friend with Benefit’.

casual dating ireland
Shagbook comes with all the bells and whistles reporting good hook up rates in Ireland. Image via website.

The site is free to join but the best experience will be achieved through a paid membership. There have been some issues in the past regarding fake users and though there are certainly a lot of people who are interested in your profile from the off, there are genuine listings on here; how many is unclear.

Anyone familiar with the social networking site by a similar name will recognise the layout and format of this hook-up site for Ireland.

The benefit of using the site is that is isn’t restricted geographically and you can find members in any area you find yourself in.

Featured image via Flickr.

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