The Swinger Lifestyle and Sexual Health
Are swingers really at greater risk than others?
Some years ago, an alarmist newspaper article ran the headline; 'Middle-aged swingers indulging in drug-fuelled orgies are fuelling a rise in STIs'.
A quick read of the article gave the impression that it was well based on unequivocal medical research. It was certainly convincing enough to have made anyone thinking about taking up the swinger lifestyle think again.
However, a little more scrutiny of the article provides a clue to its sensationalist bias because it describes swinger parties as "Drug-fueled orgies". For anyone who has attended swinger clubs and parties, this description would simply not match their experiences. All the swinger clubs I know of operate a zero tolerance policy of drug use on their premises and drugs are not used at the vast majority of parties hosted in private residences either.
As you read further into the newspaper article, more clues that bring into question its validity can be found. The research on which it was based came from a study of 289 patients at an STI clinic in Holland. Of these, more than half were regular drug users who also happened to have indulged in a lot of unprotected sex with multiple partners, that may even have included prostitution. The journalist seems to have used this bit of research, originally intended to be about the relationship between drug abuse and STIs, and turned it on its head to create the article about swinging.
Most swingers are careful
The reality of the swinger lifestyle is that most fabswingers are careful and responsible when it comes to minimising the sexual health risks. However it would be wrong to pretend that the swinger lifestyle does not create more risk of infection than a strictly monogamous one. STIs are not at all pleasant and even mild infections can lead to serious health problems. The very small minority of swingers who fail to take the risk seriously, are not only ignoring their own well being but they pose a health risk to others. These people are mainly found amongst older swingers and so their numbers are declining. Younger swingers are more willing to accept the need to use condoms and it is nowadays a rarity to find swingers who want to have sex without protection.
What else can swingers do to be safer?
As well as insisting on protected sex only, there are some other things that swingers can do to make swinging safer. The most important of all is to pay attention to personal hygiene. It is important to understand that bacteria which is allowed to congregate in the genital area can be a source of infections that are difficult to get rid of. Swingers should make thorough washing before and after sex a matter of routine. Showers are usually available whether partying at a swinger club or in someone's home or at an hotel so there is no excuse for not taking one after having sex.
Dental hygiene also matters. Bleeding gums and lip sores increase the chances of infections being transmitted via oral sex. The key to prevention is regular dental visits, good teeth brushing habits combined with the use of bottle brushes and mouth washes. Women might also want to consider using dental dams. These barriers are designed to decrease the amount of bacteria entering the genital region and they also protect the partner's mouth from oral infection.
For more detailed and medically reliable information about STIs, anyone considering the swinger lifestyle should refer to trustworthy and authentic sources of health information such as the NHS's Livewell web-site pages rather than taking too much notice of the hyped up reports that appear every so often in the popular media.