Dutch study says swingers have more STI’s than even prostitutes

PosterSince 2008 Dutch government has been trying to track sexually transmitted infections amongst swingers.  They set-up a system in the free health clinics whereby workers ask those coming in for STI testing whether or not they are a swinger.  Their findings are shocking, but only having seen numerous media reports in the past couple of days about the study (the report isn’t available on the British Medical Journal website, yet), I feel their findings are inaccurate.  First, here’s their basic finding according to the news outlets:

  • 1 in 9 heterosexuals that were tested were identified as swingers.
  • The combined rates of Chlamydia and gonorrhea were 10.4% for those they identified as swingers.  People who identified as simply straight had an infection rate of 10%, gay men had a 14% infection rate and prostitutes had a 5% infection rate.
  • Swingers over 45 had higher rates of infection than those under 45.

The biggest problem I can see with their research is how they identified swingers.  From the news articles I have read the Dutch researcher’s criteria for “swinger” is anyone who came in that identified themselves as a heterosexual, is part of a couple and has sex with other heterosexuals besides their primary partner.

By this definition this could also be people who are cheating on their partner.

By definition swinging is when partners in a committed relationship agree, as a couple, for both partners to engage in recreational sex with other people.

The Dutch researcher’s contend that based on their research 12% of the population is swingers.  Every other estimate in the world puts this number closer to 1% or less.

My personal findings show less than this if you are only looking at those couples actively seeking others to have sex with them.  Looking at the most popular dating site in my area, and just at couples in my state over the age of 25, with a photo (figuring those without at least some kind of photo is not a serious profile), muliplying that by 2 (since they are a couple) and dividing that by the population of the state shows that about 0.2% of the population of this great state is actively looking to swing. Or in simple math, 1 in 500 people.  Or, about 40 people at an average NBA game (don’t ask why I calculated that much less looked-up average NBA game attendance).

Of course there are those that are what I call “opportunistic swingers” who don’t advertise or are actively looking but if the opportunity presents itself with the right person/people they are all in.  Still, they are not enough to bring that number to 12%.

My experience in the swinger community is that safe sex and condom use is the rule, not the exception.  There are those that play bareback, however most of those are only with an individual or couple they are exclusive with.  No swinger wants to get an STI much less infect their spouse, also.

Let’s look at cheaters, though. I’ve covered this in several other posts and statistically conservative estimates are that somewhere between 40% and 50% of men cheat and 30% to 40% of women cheat.  That puts our NBA game attendance of cheaters somewhere in the neighborhood of just under 4,000 women and 5,000 men sitting in the arena.

Knowing this, and knowing the researchers only asked about heterosexuals in couples who have had heterosexual sex with someone besides their partner; and knowing that safe sex practices are low amongst cheaters, doesn’t it seem plausible that many of those the researchers are labeling as swingers are in fact cheaters and it’s skewing the data to the tune of 30X plus?

And finally, the most overlooked statistic from the study: “Swingers” had a 0.4% higher instance of STI’s than heterosexual non-swingers in the study.  You know, the general public.  So where’s the news here?  That those tagged as “swingers” in the study have the same instance of STI’s as anyone else in general society?

Just ranting out loud here…

EDIT:  A point that was brought-up to me on Twitter, and I feel is a great point, is that the research was done at clinics testing for STI’s.  People don’t usually go to a doctor unless they are sick, and in the same respect many people don’t go to a clinic to be checked for an STI until something starts to itch or burn or for some other reason they think they should get checked.  So the data you would get from a clinic of people testing positive for STI’s compared to those that test negative would be skewed when compared to general society.

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How to Recognize a Manipulative or Controlling Relationship

Couple arguingSomething that isn’t talked about a lot in open relationships and BDSM is the possibility and occurrence of manipulative and controlling partners.  Polyamory, other open relationship styles and BDSM are especially susceptible to people who’s intentions are not among the purest because of the compassionate and loving nature of people in open relationships and the Dominant/submissive nature of BDSM.  And it’s not because these people love their partners sooooo much.  It’s because these kinds of people get satisfaction from the manipulation and control of other people.  It’s how they feed the black holes of their own insecurity and low self-esteem.  The problem is identifying these people from the outset because they can be so charming and attentive and interesting.  But as a relationship progresses the manipulation and control take-over, making the object of their attention miserable as well as everyone around that person.

I came across this great article on wikiHow today about manipulative and controlling people in romantic relationships.  I recommend it to anyone currently in a relationship, multiple relationships or thinking about getting into multiple relationships.  Recognizing the warning signs early can save a lot of pain and heartbreak in the future.

As your relationship with a new person in your life has developed, you find your old friends falling away, while family members remark on how you don’t seem like yourself. Are you losing yourself to an odd, and ultimately destructive, relationship? Before you can regain your individuality and strength, you’ll need to determine if the relationship is taking something away, and, if so, put an end to the destructive cycle. While the steps are directed towards romantic relationships, they do apply to any kind of relationship.

Read the whole article here: How to Recognize a Manipulative or Controlling Relationship – wikiHow.

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Clarifying cheating vs. polyamory and other open relationships

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the definitions of particular relationship matters and structures.  So in an effort to make the world a better place I hereby attempt to clarify things a little.

Cheating: Cheating is an act of lying, deception, fraud, trickery, imposture, or imposition. Cheating characteristically is employed to create an unfair advantage, usually in one’s own interest, and often at the expense of others. Cheating implies the breaking of rules.

Open relationship: An open relationship is a committed relationship in which the partners are free to have emotional and/or physical relationships with other partners, often within mutually agreed limits. If a couple in an open relationship are married, it can be called an open marriage.

Swinging: Swinging or partner swapping is a non-monogamous behaviour, in which partners in a committed relationship agree, as a couple, for both partners to engage in sexual activities with other people.

Polyamory: Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

See the difference in the bolded print? “Deception” vs. “agreed upon with full knowledge and consent of all parties involved”.

That’s a big difference.

  • Honesty (only-more-so.blogspot.com)
  • Serial Monogamy,Open Relationships & Polyamory (atomiurl.com)
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Polyamory, swinging and fulfilling missing needs within a relationship

To what degree is it healthy to look outside your current relationship to fulfill needs it isn’t fulfilling?

The answer to that question is: What are you trying to fulfill that’s missing?

It really depends on what needs you are looking to fulfill by going outside your primary/current relationship. If you are not fulfilled in love, affection or sex within your current relationship, than looking to someone else to fulfill these needs may lead to some problems in your relationship. And that goes for all of them, for I think very few people would want to be looked-at as nothing but a surrogate for something missing in your life as opposed to adding something additional to a happy person’s life.

If you are looking to fulfill certain interests, desires or fantasies (like BDSM of any sort) that your primary partner simply isn’t into, than it will be a fine addition to your primary relationship and make you a happier, more attentive, less resentful partner to your primary partner; and in turn to your other partner(s), also.

Basically, the former is “replacement” relationships which can be harmful to your current relationship and a weak base upon which to build another relationship;  the latter is “additional” relationships that build on your current relationship.  Which is what polyamory is all about.

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Defining Polyamory by my terms – by emanix

This is a great read about what polyamory means to Maxine, and I identify with much of it myself. I highly recommend reading the whole post. Here’s an excerpt of it to tickle your interest:

For me, being ‘poly’ is tied to my definition of what Love is. I believe that if you love someone, you want them to be happy, whether that means they are with you or without you – this applies both in the long-term, as in ‘who would I like to spend the rest of my life with?’ and the short, as in ‘who would I like to spend this evening with?’. To me, loving someone means facilitating their happiness, or giving them space to create their own, in the best way you can.

If that sounds like a masochistic approach to relationships, it can be. In my early years of relating to people, this meant I gave a hell of a lot and expected little in return. However, having matured a bit since, and gained a lot more experience, the flip-side of this is that I now expect my partners – all of my partners – to feel the same way about me.

Obviously, what will make me happiest at any given moment is not always what will make my partner(s) happy. There is always a balance to be struck, and compromises to be made. Sometimes partnerships are just plain incompatible, and end up dissolving – but any two people who love each other in the way I defined above will care for and support each other even through break-ups.

There are still hard times: In the long-term sense, letting go of someone you’re madly in love with but not well suited to is still damned hard, and in the short term so is spending an evening alone when you really don’t want to, because it’s better for someone else. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone else’s happiness is nothing at all, and coming to terms with that can also be tough.

The bit that makes it worth it though: knowing that the person you’re spending time with is there because they want to be with you, not because you’ve blackmailed them into it, or because they have nowhere better to be. That in itself is a heck of a boost in self-esteem.

She goes on to say, and this is a great analogy of why more than one person is important to someone who identifies and polyamorous:

Often after explaining all this, I still get asked why it is that I want to be sexual with more than one person – why I want to have more than one relationship at a time. My answer is a question: Why would anyone want to have dinner with more than one person? Or play tennis with more than one person? Or have a conversation with more than one person? The experiences are different – and an extra bonus is that there is always something new to learn from every new relationship – if you have parallel relationships, your existing partners benefit from this (believe me, I know!).

You can read her full blog post here.

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