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28 June 2010
STDs rife amongst older swingers
by George Atkinson

Swingers - those who regularly swap sexual partners and indulge in group sex - have markedly higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and may provide a transmission bridge to the entire population, say medicos in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections. They add that swingers who are over the age of 45 are particularly vulnerable.

The study findings are based on nearly 9,000 consultations carried out at sexual health clinics in the Netherlands. The clinics have systematically recorded whether a patient is a swinger since the start of 2007, in a bid to track the infection rates among this group.

Key findings include:

  • One-in-nine of the patients (12 percent) reported being a swinger, with an average age of 43.

  • More than half (55 percent) of all diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections in the over 45s were made in swingers compared with around a third (31 percent) in gay men.

  • One-in-10 older swingers had Chlamydia and around one-in-20 had gonorrhea.

  • Female swingers had higher infection rates than male swingers.

"While other risk groups for STIs, such as young [straight people] and [gay men] are systematically identified at STI healthcare facilities and provided with appropriate services, this is generally not the case for swingers," the researchers say.

Additionally, they say the practice of swinging is likely to be relatively widespread. "Although exact estimates are unavailable, the swingers' population is probably large. One of the largest dating websites for swingers estimates that there are millions of swingers worldwide," they wrote. "Potentially they [swingers] may act as an STI transmission bridge to the entire population."

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Source: Sexually Transmitted Infections

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