Irish Podcast Awards 2023: Best sex & relationships podcast

Sexuality and dating aren’t always the easiest subjects to approach - particularly when they’re dealing with elements that may be somewhat stigmatised - but podcasts have proved to be extremely effective at breaking down these barriers and allowing for open and empathetic conversations. This category celebrates these shows, with a focus on those that approach them sensitively and inclusively.

Winner: Let's Talk about Gnéas

Feeling that sex podcasts were typically too academic or outlandishly unrelatable, Michelle Heffernan launched Let's Talk about Gnéas, a bi-lingual podcast that aims to put real-life sexual experiences front and centre.

To do this, the podcast features a panel of eight people aged between 18 and 35 (the show’s target demographic) and five sex educators. Over the course of the series, the show frankly covered topics routinely left out of formal sex education, from masturbation and foreplay to oral sex and kink. All of this is strongly underpinned by the importance of consent, leaning on Heffernan’s previous experience working on a podcast about sexual violence.

Heffernan is open about her own experiences, and the result is a show that’s both entertaining and eye-opening. Let's Talk about Gnéas is essential listening for Irish young people looking to explore and unpack their relationship with sex.

Highly commended: Big Sexy Talk

Sexual health charity Informing Choices NI is a leading campaigner for open and accessible reproductive health services, and the first series of Big Sexy Talk looks at the history of abortion in Northern Ireland, co-hosted by the organisation’s CEO. It’s a frank, candid look at the subject matter that succeeds in demystifying and normalising sexual health conversations.