Fifty Shades of Grey blamed for increase in STIs among over-45s

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Fifty Shades of Grey, an erotic novel, has already been the object of blame for an increase in the number of callouts to the fire brigade to aid people who are trapped in handcuffs.

However, a leading doctor has issued a warning that the worldwide bestseller may be linked to a rise in the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among the older generation.

The Chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, Dr Charlotte Jones, said the book offered encouragement to older people to explore their sexuality more in the bedroom, however, the risk of them not using protection was increased.

The book, written by E L James, includes sado-masochism and bondage, and is being made into a film after it sold in excess of 100 million copies. Since its publication during 2011, and increase in STIs has been seen in those aged 45 and over. The main characters in the book are in their 20s, however, Dr Jones has suggested that some older people seem to have been inspired to try new experiences in their bedrooms.

She said that most people think young people forget about having safe sex, but the Fifty Shades of Grey effect has prompted older people to become more explorative, but they do not always remember to use a condom.

She added that everyone, regardless of age, who is entering a new relationship, should consider safe sex and particularly the use of condoms. She stated that people needed to take care.

Figures released by Public Health England indicate that during 2011, people aged 65 and over experienced 1281 new STI cases, excluding chlamydia. This figure increased by more than 7% during 2012, to reach 1374.

In Scotland, 210 cases of genital herpes were reported among people aged 50 and over. This figure had increased from 175 during 2010 and only 47 during 2002. During 2011, there were 140 chlamydia cases, which was an increased from 127 during 2010 and 48 during 2002.

The Policy and Parliamentary Manager for FPA, the sexual health charity, stated that his organisation have noticed a similar trend and agrees with the warning issued by Dr Jones.
He stated that there is an increase in older people having sex and the charity’s concern is that the message issued during the 1980s HIV campaign regarding condom use has been forgotten or people are simply becoming complacent.

A spokeswoman for Public Health England said that it was aware of the increase in diagnosis of sexual health infections in people aged 50 years and over. She is urging older adults to visit their local sexual health clinic and undergo tests, so an early diagnosis can be obtained and treated effectively. She has also offered advice to people to make use of condoms.

Image Credit: Mike Mozart

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