Swingers, still around and at risk for sexually transmitted diseases

I was shocked, shocked to learn that people who regularly swap partners, visit sex clubs for couples, and participate in groups sex are at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

Apparently public health researchers in The Netherlands needed to check the clientele at an STD clinic to determine that swingers are an oft forgotten category of people at particularly high risk of contracting such diseases.

Actually, I was a bit surprised to learn that there is a significant contingent of so-called swingers still around. I kind of thought it was a fad that had died out with disco, but the researchers noted that there could be a large group of aging swingers still active across the globe.

"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 said. "Potentially they may act as an [STD] transmission bridge to the entire population."

The researchers found that swingers, who tended to be older, made up 12 percent of the patients seeking care at the free clinic. Overall, those seeking treatment at the clinic tended to be young heterosexuals, men who have sex with men, and swingers who ranged from 38 to 43 years in age.

While the young and men who have sex with men are recognized as being at high risk for STDs, the researchers noted that older swingers are often overlooked. But older swingers at the clinic were found to have a Chlamydia prevalence of 10 percent and a gonorrhea prevalence of 4 percent.

Swingers accounted for 55 percent of the patients over 45 years of age with STDs. Most of the rest of this older age group were gay men.

"Swingers, like other groups with risk behaviors need to be identified and treated as a risk group" for prevention and care, the researchers concluded in their report for the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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