Middle-aged "swingers" are a hidden and significant source of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), researchers have claimed.
Dutch scientists found that swingers – defined as straight couples who regularly swap partners at organised gatherings and clubs and indulge in group sex – had some of the highest rates of STIs, along with young heterosexuals and gay men. Those older than 45 were most likely to be infected, and women had higher infection rates than men.
A team led by Dr Nicole Dukers-Muijrers from the South Limburg Public Health Service wrote in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections: "Potentially, they may act as an STI transmission bridge to the entire population."
The researchers found one in nine patients at three Dutch clinics was a swinger. Partner-swappers accounted for 55 per cent of all STIs in those older than 45. The researchers added swingers numbered in the millions internationally. Rebecca Findlay, of the Family Planning Association, said: "The lesson for British swingers is they're a risk group for STIs. The over-45s in this country are generally forgotten about in terms of sexual health information."