The darker side of Fifty Shades: a rise in STIs among over-45s

 

The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs.

But now a leading doctor is warning that the global best-seller could be linked to an increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among older couples.

Dr Charlotte Jones, the chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said the book had encouraged older people to become “more explorative” in the bedroom, but that there was a risk they were failing to use protection.

The novel by E L James depicts bondage and sado-masochism and is being made into a film after selling more than 100 million copies. Since the book was published in 2011, there has been a rise in the number of infections in people aged 45 years and older, according to official figures. While the main characters may be in their 20s, Dr Jones suggested some older people appeared to have been inspired to seek out new experiences in the bedroom.

“When it comes to forgetting about safe sex we always think of the vulnerability of young people, but there’s the Fifty Shades of Grey effect where older people are being more explorative but not necessarily remembering to use a condom,” she said.

“Anyone, of any age, going into new relationships should be thinking about safe sex and particularly the role of condoms. People need to take care.”

Figures from Public Health England show that in 2011, there were 1,281 cases of new STIs among people aged 65 and over – not including chlamydia. This rose by more than 7 per cent to 1,374 in 2012.

Among those aged 45 to 64, there were 19,896 cases in 2011 and 20,445 in 2012, an increase of nearly 3 per cent.

In Scotland, there were 210 cases of genital herpes among those aged 50 and over, up from 175 in 2010 and only 47 in 2002. There were 140 chlamydia cases in 2011, up from 127 in 2010 and 48 in 2002.

Harry Walker, the policy and parliamentary manager for the sexual health charity FPA, formerly the Family Planning Association, said his organisation had noticed a similar trend and echoed Dr Jones’s warning.

“Generally speaking there’s a lot more people in older age groups having sex and certainly it is a concern of ours that the 1980s message around condom use – with the HIV campaign – is getting forgotten about or people are getting complacent,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Public Health England said it was “aware of the rise in adults diagnosed with sexual health infections aged 50 years and older... We would strongly urge older adults to go to their local sexual health clinic and get tested, so early diagnosis can be made and promptly treated. We also advise people to use a condom.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?