I read this news story recently that talks about a study done where they found more sexually transmitted diseases in a group of mature swingers than they do on average in a similar size group of prostitutes. I am not a big fan of tantalizing headlines that make people believe something at a glance, and I am less fond of stories that do not explain the study’s details. I do however think that anything that can be done to raise awareness about STD or STI risks is generally a good thing.
This is one of those stories that will make many people think, and really it is something that we should all think about unfortunately. At least this story did provide some details about how and where it was done. I would like to have seen more details, because it is not a fair comparison when you look at similar groups in other cities perhaps, but certainly it should be an eye opener no matter where in the world you are. I also hope it is a wake up call for health clinics who do not currently consider swingers in their groupings.
Of course it is hard to get people to be honest about their sexuality when talking to clinic staff and even doctors. Certainly there will always be people who contract STDs from prostitutes or swinger sex actions – but getting people to be honest about their sexual activity with health professionals and tracking it will never be an exact science.
It seems like the a pretty good study, better than I expected actually.
However in your town or city, I would not expect the numbers to be exactly the same, and it is going to be hard to compare apples to apples. In some towns the swinger clubs and swing parties are completely crazy – all out open sex fests with little regard to safety. One of my local swing clubs is actually very much the opposite, more of a place to meet, and I have heard people talk about condoms, safe sex practices and even testing before wife swapping on several occasions.
Comparing the prostitutes that were part of this study in the Netherlands is going to be tough as well. I am sure that when most people think of prostitutes, they probably think of the street walking hookers you might see in the ghetto area of you hometown, but I am not sure that the whores that were tracked int his study were the same kind of hookers. I wouldn’t bet, but I would imagine the street walking poor hookers that work the streets of many cities probably have a higher rate of infections than the girls in the Netherlands study.
If you compare the STD rates of higher class call girls to street walking hookers you may find a difference, and if you compared the group of drunk swingers who engage in crazy sex without concern about disease to other groups of swingers who are more responsible about who and how they get intimate with, you would probably find a difference there too.
I imagine that you would also find big differences in different cities as well. Places where prostitution is legal and regulated probably have less STDs, and cities that provide good health care through STD clinics probably have less transmissions through prostitutes than cities that do not provide low cost sexual care. I don’t know if there are good research numbers to prove any of that, if anyone does know, leave me a comment so we can provide that info.
Either way, we also may not be considering different types of STDs as well. Some clinics do not routinely screen for HPV and herpes, only the other popular ones.
However you want to look at, I think it is good to know that swinging does carry a strong risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Safer sex, and STD testing is certainly recommended by me. I have thought about having a STD checkup available at the local swingers club – I think that would be very cool. I would certainly enjoy that!
A few highlights from the article:
Dutch researchers publishing their work in the British Medical Journal showed that older swingers — those over the age of 45 — are particularly vulnerable and yet are a group largely ignored by healthcare services.
With estimates that the swinger population could be many millions across the world, the scientists said there was a risk this untreated group could act as an STI “transmission bridge to the entire population.”
The Dutch study analyzed the numbers of patients seeking treatment in 2007 and 2008 at three sexual health clinics in South Limburg in the Netherlands.
The clinics have recorded whether a patient is a swinger since the start of 2007, in an attempt to track infection rates among this group.
During the study period, there were just under 9,000 consultations at the three clinics. One in nine of the patients was a swinger, with an average age of 43.
Overall, combined rates of Chlamydia and gonorrhea were just over 10 percent among straight people, 14 percent among gay men, just under 5 percent in female prostitutes, and 10.4 percent among swingers, they found. And female swingers had higher infection rates than male swingers.
One in 10 older swingers had Chlamydia and around one in 20 had gonorrhea.
Wow, the Netherlands only had 5% infection rate in the prostitutes that sought services at the clinics. They must be doing something right over there! If you combine those numbers with the girls who never needed to seek a clinic because they are practicing safe sex, it may make the percentage of hookers in that area of the world more like 1% infected. Is this because it is legal in that part of the world, regulated, and people are given more education about safe sex?