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sexual partners

A brand new online service is allowing people to tell their previous partners anonymously about STIs, and hopes it will encourage more people to get tested.

E4's The Sex Clinic has links with this STI testing company, which allows service users to anonymously text or email current or former partners in order to tell them about the positive result.

Patients have a secure login to the online portal, where test results can be accessed, and if anyone tests positively for an STI, they can anonymously contact them.

The person using the service can enter either an email address or mobile number for the person or people they want to notify, and select whether they want to remain anonymous or not.

After that, it's sent automatically and the weight is off your shoulders. Seems pretty easy, doesn't it? The only catch is if you don't have the person's email address or phone number…

The notice tells the receiver a “person who cares about you has recently tested positive for an STI” and explains in detail about the STI and how to get tested.

STI fact sheets, counselling and support, details on treatment and information on next steps can also be found on their website, Better2know.

Recently, a survey of 2,000 people undertaken by online pharmacy chemist-4-u.com found that a shocking 72 percent of people diagnosed with an STI chose NOT to tell their most recent sexual partners about it.

Better2know.co.uk, hopes to encourage the growth of sexual knowledge by making it easier to tell partners about STIs. 

Metro.co.uk poll showed that 92 percent of people would be worried about how they'd be perceived by a partner who they told about an STI.

The website has been hugely successful so far with patients, who praise the service and claim they never would have notified previous partners unless it was anonymous.

Mike Asher, Chairman and CEO of Better2know.co.uk stated the importance of sexual healthcare and education;

Image: Better2know.co.uk/iStock

“STIs are often initially symptomless, so people need to know their status and how to get treatment – whether that’s communicated anonymously or face-to-face.

"Too often people fail to properly communicate to sexual partners once they have had a positive result. Sometimes patients want to avoid awkwardness or it is because they are upset at the implications of the results," Asher continued.

"Other times it’s down to apprehension about how a recent or short-term partner might react or feelings of guilt. We hope the text service encourages people to inform partners that they are at risk and that as a result, more people get the testing and treatment they need."

The Bulletin of the World Health Organization have just published a study which warns of a 'silent epidemic' in terms of STIs.

According to the survey, an incredible one in 25 people globally are carrying an STI.

Better2know recommends considering the temperament of the partner or partners', and to accept that they may react negatively. Think about what emotional support the person will need, and physical healthcare.

Mike Asher says that how a person tells their partner or former lovers is a very personal choice, but anonymous services can beat the awkwardness, especially if the person barely knows their former partners.

“We are always keen that both parties are first in a place and position where they feel safe and able to process information,” he said.

Being open and honest with a partner is always best to reduce the risk of serious health complications, like infertility.

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We all dread the awkward point of a blossoming relationship, where one person asks "so how many people have you slept with?"

The number of sexual partners each of us has can be a sensitive subject for some people.

Whether you've had over a hundred or have yet to have one, there will always be someone who thinks you have had too many or too few.

So how many people would you want your partner to have previously slept with?

Research by Nottingham, Bristol and Swansea universities, and published in the Journal of Sex Research, showed that the ideal number is three.

Any higher than that, and their interest in pursuing a relationship with that person begins to fall.

This number is the same for both men and women, who feel that three is the magic number when it comes to their lovers past encounters. 

However, those participating in the survey don't live up to their own expectations, with the average woman having 5.81 and the average man having 8.4.

Men surveyed also said that the cut off point of past lovers for their prospective partners was 11. 

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Most of us have a solid idea of our 'number' when it comes to how many sexual partners we've had, be it one or one hundred.

But with STI statistics on the rise in Ireland, it's important to be aware of another number too… the amount of 'indirect' partners you've had.

For every one person you've slept with, there's a high likelihood they have their own history of sexual partners too. And when you take into account how many people their partners have slept with, and so on, the number just keeps growing.

So what's the total tally? Well, now you can find out, thanks to the Sex Degrees of Separation calculator developed by Lloyds Pharmacy. Be prepared, because the numbers will shock you.

For example, someone with five male sexual partners in the 20-24 age group is estimated to have slept with a whopping 1,353,301 people indirectly.

And the more partners you've had, the more that number grows:

The formula is based on the Six Degrees of Separation theory, the "sociological idea that we are all connected to each other by only six connections.

In order to give you an estimate of your number, the calculator asks for the number of partners you've had and what age group each was in.

It then tallies how many people those partners are statistically likely to have slept with given their age, and so on for six stages or degrees.

The aim? To estimate how many indirect partners you could have been exposed to sexually.

It's important to note that the calculator is simply a statistical estimate, and serves only to highlight the possible risks of unprotected sex, but all the same it's definitely made us think.

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More than three times a week; once a week; once a month, or not at all in the last year: when it comes to sex, there is no 'normal'.

However, we do now at least have a national average. Yes, the country's biggest ever sex survey has been compiled – and the results prove once and for all that we are indeed a nation that loves to get jiggy with it.

Put together by the Irish Times, it noted that close-to half of sexually-active respondents enjoy bedroom action at least once a week. Hurrah!

With more than 12,000 people responding to the survey, it has been revealed that more than a fifth of women aged between 17 and 24 are hitting that magic three-times-a-week target – though just 16 percent of 17-24-year-old males could lay claim to the same.

But having a lot doesn't mean having it with just anyone: a third of 17-24 year-old men have never had a one-night stand, with 37 percent of women also claiming the same (though at the other end of the scale, some 15 percent of men and 14 percent of women in the 25-34 age bracket have had more than five one-night stands).

Indeed, six out of every ten women and more than half of men aged 17-24 have had between two and ten partners.

We're not all that eager to jump into the sack too early either: the average age to lose your virginity is 19.

And just 16 percent overall have had a threesome or group sex.

However, despite such comprehensive research, sexologist Emily Power Smith told the newspaper that people shouldn’t compare themselves to the statistics

“Six months to a year is what we know as the ‘honeymoon period’… It is a physiological fact that we cannot keep producing the same hormones that we did in the beginning.

Therefore we need different skills and levels of communication if we hope to sustain an exciting and satisfying sex life.”

 

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