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Chlamydia at 50… Could it be you?


by Jenny Pogson

senior intimacy

If you think only young people are at risk of sexually transmitted infections, think again – rates could be on the rise in older adults.

With more of us living longer and healthier lives, and divorce a reality of life, many of us are finding new sexual partners later in life.

While an active sex life comes with a myriad of health benefits, experts are warning those of us in mid-life and beyond not to forget the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection from a new partner.

Figures suggest rates of infections have been on the increase among older people in the US and UK in recent years and there is a suggestion the same could be happening in Australia.

Chlamydia, a common bacterial STI, is on the up among all age groups in Australia, and has more than doubled in those over 50 since 2005; going from 620 cases to 1446 in 2010.

Gonorrhoea, another bacterial infection, has seen a slight increase in the over 50s, rising from 383 infections in 2005 to 562 in 2010.

While these increases could partly be attributable to more people being tested, the trend has caused concern in some parts of the medical community here and overseas.

Cultural shift

Older people are increasingly likely to be single or experiencing relationship changes these days, according to the UK’s Family Planning Association, which last year ran its first sexual health campaign aimed at over 50s.

It’s much easier to meet new partners, with the advent of internet dating and the ease of international travel. Plus, thanks to advances in healthcare, symptoms of the menopause and erectile dysfunction no longer spell the end of an active sex life.

But despite this, education campaigns about safe sex are generally aimed at younger people; not a great help when it’s often suggested that older people are more likely to feel embarrassed about seeking information about STIs and may lack the knowledge to protect themselves.

And, as noted by Julie Bentley, CEO of the UK’s Family Planning Association, “STIs don’t care about greying hair and a few wrinkles”.

Risky sexual practices

Dr Deborah Bateson, medical director at Family Planning NSW, started researching older women’s views and experience of safe sex after noticing a rise in the number of older women asking for STI tests and being diagnosed with STIs, particularly chlamydia.

The organisation surveyed a sample of women who used internet dating sites and found, compared with younger women, those aged between 40 and 70 were more likely to say they would agree to sex without a condom with a new partner.

Similarly, a telephone survey commissioned by Andrology Australia found that around 40 per cent of men over 40 who have casual sex do not use condoms.

While the reasons behind this willingness to engage in unsafe sex are uncertain, Bateson says older people may have missed out on the safe sex message, which really started to be heavily promoted in the 1980s with the advent of HIV/AIDS.

In addition, older women may no longer be concerned about becoming pregnant and have less of an incentive to use a condom compared with younger women.

“There is a lot of the information around chlamydia that relates to infertility in the future, so again for older women there may be a sense that it’s not relevant for them,” she says.

However, the Family Planning survey did find that older women were just as comfortable as younger women with buying condoms and carry them around.

“There’s obviously something happening when it comes to negotiating their use. Most people know about condoms but it’s just having the skills around being able to raise the subject and being able to negotiate their use at the actual time,” Bateson says.

As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure – something to remember when broaching the topic of safe sex and STIs with a new partner.

“If you’re meeting a new partner, they are probably thinking the same thing as you [about safe sex],” says Bateson.

“So being able to break the ice [about safe sex] can often be a relief for both people.”

Stay safe

Anyone who has had unprotected sex, particularly with several people, is potentially at risk of STIs, says Professor Adrian Mindel, director of the Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre based at Westmead Hospital, Sydney.

“People who are changing partners or having new partners, they and their partner should think about being tested,” he says.

“Also think about condom use at least until [you] know [the] relationship is longer lasting and that neither of [you] are going having sex with anyone outside the relationship.”

The UK’s Family Planning Association also stresses that STIs can be passed on through oral sex and when using sex toys – not just through intercourse.

It also notes that the signs and symptoms of some STIs can be mistaken as a normal part of aging, such as vaginal soreness or irregular bleeding.

And remember that often infections don’t result in symptoms, so you may not be aware you have an STI. However, you can still pass an infection on to a sexual partner.

So if you are starting a new sexual relationship or changing partners, here is some expert advice to consider:

  • If you have had unprotected sex, visit your GP to get tested for STIs. This may involve giving a urine sample to test for chlamydia, examination of the genital area for signs of genital warts, or a swab of your genitals to test for STIs such as herpes or gonorrhoea. A blood test may also be required to test for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B.
  • If you are starting a new relationship, suggest your partner also gets tested.
  • Use a condom with a new partner until you both have been tested for STIs and are certain neither of you is having unprotected sex outside the relationship.
  • If you have symptoms you are concerned about, such as a urethral discharge in men or vaginal discharge, sores or lumps on the genitals, pain when passing urine or abdominal pains in women, see your GP.

Complete Article HERE!


Here’s an exchange I had with a fellow named Angel. He writes:

I have a friend that has HPV. We spoke about being together but I’m nervous about this because I don’t know enough about HPV. Like how safe would I be if we were to mess around and or have sex? I wait to here back from you. Thank you for your time.

Here’s what I know, Angel…

  • HPV (human papillomavirus) is a common virus that infects the skin and mucous membranes.
  • There are about 100 types of HPV. Approximately 30 of those are spread through genital contact (typically fucking). Around 12 of these types are called “low-risk” types of HPV, which can cause genital warts.
  • In addition, there are approximately 15 “high-risk” types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
  • It is estimated that 80 percent of all women – and 50 percent of men and women combined – will get one or more types of “genital” HPV at some point in their lives.

As you can see, this is a very widespread virus. However, it’s relatively easy to protect yourself. Use a condom. You were gonna do that anyway, right?stis-1

And, as you probably know, there is a human papillomavirus vaccine is used to prevent infection by HPV strains 16 and 18, which causes most cancers of the cervix, as well as some cancers of the vulva, vagina and penis. Infection with HPV strain 16 also causes most anal cancers and some throat cancers.

This vaccine, given to young men and women ages 9 through 26, prevents pre-cancerous changes that may become cancer. HPV vaccination is currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all boys and girls ages 11 or 12, and for men and women ages 13 through 26 who have not already received the vaccine or have not completed booster shots.

Depending on the specific vaccine used, it may also prevent genital warts caused by other strains of HPV. This vaccine will not cure an HPV infection that is already present, and does not prevent other sexually transmitted diseases.

condom_STI_titlesThe HPV vaccine is given as a series of three injections into the muscle in the upper arm or thigh. The first shot may be given any time beginning at 9 years of age. The second dose is given 2 months after the first shot, and the third dose is given 6 months after the first shot. The protective effects of the vaccine last for approximately 5 years. Whether or not a booster is needed after five years is not yet known.

Angel writes back with:

Yes ok then sorry I just figured it’s easier to be safe and just not go there. We are really good friends and don’t want to wreck that by worrying about what I may, or may not catch. He doesn’t want me to use condoms for oral sex.

I don’t suppose you happen to know what kind of HPV this person has, do you? That makes a big difference, ya know.

Many people are unclear on the risks associated with oral sex and HPV. It can be passed during oral sex, but it is rare. To reduce the risk of infection during unprotected oral sex, limit exposure to sexual fluids and ensure that no cuts or lesions are present in your mouth or on your partner’s genitals. But, in the end, your safest bet is use a condom. If he doesn’t want you to use a condom, tell him to such his own dick.

Good luck

The Dark Side of Love

Just in time for Valentines Day, I feature an exchange I had with an earnest and, I might add, very nervous young man about a prevalent STI. Our friend is freaking out about genital warts.  I know, I’m such a buzz-kill.


Name: Ryan
Gender: Male
Age: 20 something
Location: Lowell MA
A few years back, a friend confided that he contracted genital warts from his ex-girl friend. He had the genital warts on his genitals, anus, hands, feet and in his mouth. His ex-girl friend had it on her hands, in her vagina, mouth, anus and cervix. I can understand having it on the genitals and hands and in the anus, mouth and cervix. I didn’t ask how he got it on his feet.
He went to work in another state, but came back here two years later. He told me he liked a girl he met and would like to bring the relationship into a more intimate level. I asked him about his genital warts. He said he was cured of it. I read that genital warts cannot be cured. That it can be treated, but will remain incurable and contagious although dormant for a while.
Will the girl get it after they had sex? My friend comes to my house very often, drinks beer with my girl friend and me. He uses the bathroom and the hand towel. Even after scrubbing the bathroom and washing the hand towel, can my girl friend and I get the genital warts? As for my friend, was he condemned not to have sex for life? Or, is it safe to have sex if there was no outbreak or external signs?

I’ve seen several bad cases of genital warts, but never a case that included hands feet and mouth. I know that’s possible, of course, but I’ve never seen it. And without a doctor’s diagnosis, a particular outbreak could be something else. That’s why, something like this, needs to be diagnosed and treated properly.

the dark side of love

You are right; technically genital warts remain incurable, though non-contagious, and dormant if treated correctly. And proper treatment is the key. For more information you might consult WebMD.

Casual contact, the kind you describe below — bathroom, towels, etc. — cannot pass on the virus. Transmission is dependent on intimate genital contact. Does your friend (or his GF) have an outbreak going on now? Can you see something on his (her) hands and face?

     I know my friend is a responsible person and he will not knowingly infect me with his genital warts. But, how can he be sure that the wart is dormant and non-contagious? I am now wary because he told me his genital warts were cured. This makes me wonder whether he was given the wrong medical advice or he was just trying to put my mind at ease. Aside from using the bathroom and towels, he also eats dinner at my home and could infect my dishes, utensils, cloth napkins, etc. and pass the virus to me and my girl friend.
This matter has the potential of becoming a dilemma for me and my friendship with him. I don’t want to ask him details such as who is his doctor, what kind of treatment he is getting (it seems the infected person must be tested periodically and the treatment ongoing) and how is he going to determine when he is not contagious. He is a sensitive person and I know that he will get angry if I asked him these questions. I can make excuses not to see him at my house (this only goes so far). If I ask or make excuses, I’d lose his friendship. I don’t want to lose him as a friend. But, I don’t want him to infect me and my girl friend with the virus either, knowingly or unknowingly.
I don’t see any warts on his hands and on his feet (he wears sandals sometimes). I don’t know if he plans to tell the girl he plans to get intimate with.
My girl friend doesn’t know about this. She will freak out if I tell her and that will cause more problems. Help!!!???!!!

If I were you I would ask him about the treatment he received for his warts. That would put your mind at ease. Besides, your friendship sounds like it’s on the brink anyway. And here’s a tip: you probably have lots of casual contact with many other people with genital warts without even knowing it — it’s a very common malady.

     Thank you very much. I think he should also tell the girl about his genital warts before having sex with her. She must be given the option to reject or accept it. I also read that the virus can be passed just with skin-to-skin contact when there is a flare up. Is this true?
I feel bad about this. Although my friend is a responsible person, there is still a chance he could get carried away in the heat of passion and throw precaution and caution to the wind.
I imagine it is difficult to enjoy sex when you have to do and think of many things that could go wrong.      Giving him my sympathy will not help. He alone has the burden of doing what has to be done before having sex to prevent contaminating his girl friend or spreading he genital warts around.
I will appreciate any additional information/clarification/advice you can give me about this.
Thank you again for your help.

Again, genital warts, like herpes, are contagious only when there’s a flair-up. Skin to skin contact can pass the virus at that point. Also, like herpes, if the genital wart virus has been treated, the likelihood of passing on the virus is negligible.

I am of the mind that we all ought to be responsible and up-front with our sex partners about any health related issues that may impact on the health of our partners.

Good luck

This is gonna hurt!

Name: Annie
Gender: Female
Age: 23
Location: Miami
Dr. Dick, My boyfriend and I have been having sex for about a year now. He is the first uncircumcised male I have been with. I’ve noticed that lately, it feels like he’s tearing my vaginal opening. He pulls his foreskin forward to lessen the pain, but it still hurts. While examining his penis looking for an answer, I noticed he has a very common condition in uncircumcised males called ‘pearly penile papules’. The papules are rough to the touch in comparison the rest of the phallus. Could this be the cause of my sex woes? Thanks so much!

I’m having a difficult time putting two and two together here, my dear. The painful fucking you describe; this is a new phenomenon, right? You say that even when he pulls his foreskin over his dickhead, you still experience pain when he enters you, is that correct?

See, that’s where I’m having a problem understanding what’s going on. If his foreskin is covering his dickhead, and thus the papules, how could they continue to be an irritant? Surely, you can’t feel the papules through his foreskin, can you? If you can, maybe we’re not dealing with pearly papules.

lovers0147Listen, I know a lot of men who have developed pearly penile papules. Some of these men have mistaken them for genital warts or sign of another STD/SDI, but they are not.

All men are susceptible to these buggers. But interestingly enough, they are more common in younger uncut black guys. They are small, hard, white, pinhead sized bumps that appear on a dude’s dickhead. They are neither painful, nor are they a sign of disease. And they are not contracted or spread through sexual activity.

If a guy has them, he should LEAVE THEM THE FUCK ALONE. Don’t try to squeeze or pop them. If you break the skin doing this, you will leave yourself vulnerable to other more serious infections. Pearly penile papules are harmless and are simply part of maturing. Thy often disappear on their own later in life.

Allow me to repeat myself. Since this is such a common thing in younger men, I can’t see how this is the cause of your discomfort during sex. Either your man has something other than pearly penile papules, or your discomfort comes from another source.

Let me ask you this. When you masturbate, do you insert anything in your pussy? If you don’t maybe that’s a good place to begin to get to the bottom of this mystery. If you can insert a couple of fingers or a dildo into your vagina without discomfort, then we’ll have more information to work with.

If, however, you experience pain in your solo play, then you have something goin on in your pussy that needs immediate attention. You could have an infection or vaginismus.painful-intercoursejr

Do you know what that is? Vaginismus is caused by the involuntary tightening of the pelvic floor muscles, especially the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle group. This will cause discomfort, burning, and painful penetration. That sure sounds like what’s goin on with you, right?

Not to worry, vaginismus is easily treatable. Treatments include a combination of kegel exercises and insertion or dilation training. Why not get back to me with your thoughts on this.

Good luck

A Scary Halloween Q&A Show — Podcast #306 — 10/31/11

Hey sex fans, welcome back!

It’s time, once again, to delve into my email in-box to see what’s up with the sexually worrisome. I know I’ve billed this as a scary Halloween show, but to tell you the truth; it’s always a bit scary opening the email I get. I never know what frightful question or dreadful situation will pop out at me.

So ok; maybe it’s not all that scary all of the time, but regardless of what my correspondents toss my way, you can count on me, your intrepid sex therapist, to respond with clever, resourceful and oh so informative answers. Hey, it’s what I do!

This week we hear from

  • Alexia wants to know about genital warts and getting her tubes tied.
  • Stevie O wonders if butt fucking will change the color of a butthole. He also laments getting older.
  • Aaron and his GF are experiencing a major dry spell.
  • No Tan Lines wants to swing, but is afraid to let her man touch another woman.
  • Jai is missing the good sex she had with her BF, but he don’t care no more.
  • Luke says sex with his GF is painful…for her.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Review.


Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.


Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

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