Older Sexually Active Adult "Swingers" May Serve as a Reservoir for STDs
By Barbara Lock, MD
June 24, 2010
The man was clearly intoxicated; he said he had come to town looking for some action, had used some cocaine, alcohol and marijuana, and had a wild party that included sex with people he didn't know. Pretty wild, I thought, especially for someone who was 72 years old.
Yes, the swinger coming to me to be evaluated for exposure to sexually transmitted diseases was 72 years old. I wondered if it was him who needed protection from the careless sexual practices of others, or if they needed protection against him. Protection probably would have been a good idea all around.
That's what I told him, use barrier protection, or condoms, to prevent disease instead of coming to the Emergency Department afterwards.
A few days later, another man came in, this one in his early 40s, asking to be tested and treated for gonorrhea and chlamydia. As he left, he asked how soon he could have sex again. I told him tonight, if he used a condom. He sort of smirked and said, no really, how soon? And I said, no really, use a condom.
Dutch researchers have revealed that the average age of "swingers" in the STD clinics is 43. That means that half of these sexually promiscuous adventurers were older than 43. Swingers, defined as people with sexual networks of concurrent partners and high rate of unprotected sex, were more likely to carry chlamydia and gonorrhea than female prostitutes. Swingers may be thought of as potentially serving as a reservoir for sexually transmitted disease in the community. Not a very sexy distinction, I think.