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Using statistics for risk reduction : Swingers Discussion 193705
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TOPIC: Using statistics for risk reduction
Created by: TheCaretakers92
Original Starting post for this thread:
We are of the mindset the lifestyle is a balance of desires vs risks. As such risk management varies depending on what the individual wants out of the lifestyle. For example, a soft swap couple automatically is at lower risk than full swap. Of course condom use is another risk reduction method.

Having said that, statistics are often brought up with varied views. I would like to see if we can flesh out what benefits can be gained, if any, by statistics being used as one more risk reduction strategy.

For example, MSM is well known as the highest HIV risk group. Should ones are bi-males or play with bi-males get tested more often because of those statistic?

Would couples like us that have no interest in bi-males not benefit by excluding the group from potential playmates?

Obviously there are statistical data on all types of stds, and prevalence based on geographical locations. Are these worth anything?

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Joe

I applaud your honesty and your common sense efforts to attempt to limit your risk.

Pittsburgh PA
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I agree.

We also try to do research and ask a lot of probing questions to determine the other persons lifestyle and experience.

Since I do it in real life, Im a pretty slick interrogator.

So when chatting with people I do ask questions in ways that I get honest answers without the other people realizing I asked the question or why. And that has helped a lot.

Just by having a conversation we've found people who claim to be straight who confess to loving the feeling of strangers cumming in their ass. And 20 minutes before that, they are just slightly bi curious willing to experiment with us.

So I totally agree with most people on here that you should use every measure you can to determine risk and avoid it. Look at the profile. Look at the testimonials. Then go read their profiles.

People who have said they never had sex without a condom in their lives, you look at their testimonials and find a profile that says "BAREBACK ONLY NO EXCEPTIONS" and then look at the bareback couples testimonials and they have 20 of them talking about what a great time they had at the creampie gangbang at the swingers club.

People tend to use the same pics on multiple sites. We have basic profiles on popular gay sites. Again for "risk reduction"

I cant tell you how many straight men on here, have profiles on gay hookup sites and reading those profiles you see they are much higher risk than they appear on here.

So you have a guy like me into very mild bi play as part of a couple here.

You also have a straight guy here, who says condom only, with a profile on a gay site listed as a bareback bottom.

Its scary as hell sometimes.

So while I know i have come across a little argumentative in some posts where people make generalizations about people and their labels here.......I totally agree with the concept of risk reduction and doing your homework on people before you jump in the sack.

I think the bi thing just struck a nerve with me because of the generalizations. With my activity I am no more risk than a straight man. But clicking that box on the profile makes all the difference, while people feel perfectly comfortable hooking up with the bareback bottom cum pig, that clicks the straight box.

Mount Juliet TN
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Joey, I agree with you to some extent. I think we've all concluded (or already felt) that trusting others to be honest about their behaviors or STI status is unwise.

However, I do think we can use statistics to better protect ourselves. Even if we go with the "worst case scenerio" approach and assume everyone is high risk, we can look at stats to run a cost-benefit analysis. Meaning, I can look at the rate of transmission of various STIs through various acts and decide if that level of risk is acceptable.

For example, if I know that anal sex is a much riskier act than oral sex, I could decide that anal sex wouldn't be worth it. And swingers often perform oral sex with no barrier protection. I think the reason (other than possible ignorance to the risks or disregard) is that people are aware that transmission of HIV is extremely low. However, it very possible to pass herpes that way. Knowing that is a risk (and the statistical probability of that happening, assuming the partner is HSV positive, bc ppl lie and likely are infected) is another way of making that decision.

And you are correct that at the end of the day, we're taking risks. Its a numbers game and at some point your number comes up. Perhaps its just letting me sleep better at night, if thats the case, let me have that. I don't think I would sleep well if I were celibate. ;)

Baltimore MD
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Great reply and mostly accurate in our experience. I think most people would be amazed though at the volume of mail we receive stating things like we understand and are ok with it, or we understand because we are positive as well( but yet the claim and ask for dd free!!) Yes we know all to well the games people play.

Indianapolis IN
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Sexy,

1. If you get cold sores Do you inform your swing partners that there is a certain amount of risk involved if you play?

*Yes, I believe that the ethical thing to do here would be to inform the potential partner. Do I think people do this? No.

2. Do you think all swingers that are orally Hsv1 positive should post it in their profile.

*Probably a good idea, (eliminates the conversation from question 1), but I believe that it is each persons preference.

3. If you met us and we clicked would you still choose us before someone who is not as honest as us that have no idea of their H status,you know the old ignorance is bliss thing.... " we know you have it and take all precautions to reduce risk, but they SAY they don't have it so we feel less risk with them.

*This is difficult for me to answer (generally and personally). I do think that people would be more likely to move on, especially if they aren't educated about the risks and risk reducers. Of course, you are clearly getting at a deeper issue, and that is that many people write in their profile "DD free," which we all know can be inaccurate due to people not knowing their status, not testing, or being dishonest. As with everything we've been talking about on this board, its a matter of choice. And most importantly, I think its important to assume the worst case scenario and act accordingly with your level of comfort.

So (and as you can see, I am always long-winded, my apologies), I think as someone who is aware of their HSV status, its about how you want to live your life. If you are a person who believes in living in the most ethical way, then you would likely choose to be upfront (whether written preemptively in your profile or after meeting an interested party and disclosing your status before play). You would also be educated on the level of risk and how to reduce it to your potential partners. You may end up missing out on some experiences, but you should be happy with the choices you make (living in an ethical way). The other side of the coin is that you don't really care about your fellow man/woman/swinger and in which case, besides being an asshole, you likely wouldn't do any of the above. I assume most fall into the latter category and act accordingly.

Baltimore MD
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Ive said before. The majority of this discussion is pointless for the very fact that you can only go by what people tell you.

As a couple we could be swinging bareback with different partners every single night. How would you know? If we put safe only in our profile and described ourselves as "newbies"......How many would make a condom exception for a "first time monogamous couple?"

I list as a bi male. Which to many means that im a walking ball of disease. Even though the extent of my bi play is very light touching and oral. The exact same thing my wife is doing who is part of the couple with the same guy. So no different at all than if I was "straight"

Some couples would avoid us because we list honestly. With the click of a mouse I could be "straight" and those couples would then be interested.

Statistics and risk reduction are only as good as the data. And can you really trust strangers?

Those that avoid bi guys.......Take a look at the bi forums on here and see that the majority of posts on there talking about sucking dick are from men and couples listed as straight. Couples or men that you would probably play with if they never mentioned anything simply because they say theyre straight.

So your risk reduction is essentially avoiding honest people in that respect.

Yes. We would decline a couple that states they bareback. But for every one couple that says they do.......How many dont state that?

Ill tell you that since we have been in the game.......Most of the time when my wife picks up the condom off the nightstand.......You see the long face and the music stops for a minute.....Thats MOST OF THE TIME.

MOST of the people were seriously hoping we would forget the condom part or overlook it in the heat of the moment. Even discussing it beforehand, having condoms right in the open, MOST of the time people try to slip by.

Our experience cant be unique and I dont believe we just happen to find people who try to bend the rules.

We hold to the rules. But how many people say "screw it" in the heat of the moment.

Ill be the first one to say that I am glad my wife doesnt get lost in the moment and flat out refuses to bend the condom rule. Because ME....Im not as strong in that respect.....I fantasize about another guy cumming in her...I personally hate condoms.... I personally could get caught up in the moment and go without.

But that would end our playing for good. She would stop it as quick as it started.

You can only protect yourself, at the moment that you are playing. Anything else is just making yourself feel better.

Mount Juliet TN
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Testing.... The topic of testing keeps coming back but it seems fairly unimportant if you consider how many couples never test and if you do not retest after each and every play date what is the value of it other than knowing at that moment your are D free. Keep in mind also a herpes test is an altogether different blood test than what you take in a standard std work up. Wondering how many folks out there have been tested for HSV? Show of hands please.!!! And just from our own experience why does is it the the female half is the one tested and not both?

Indianapolis IN
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What are your thoughts on this.... If according to the stats provided by cdc that 80 to 90 percent of the WORLD population is hsv1 positive orally which means they have herpes... (Yes if you get cold sores on your mouth/ facial area you have Herpes...)And in light of the fact that it is well documented that oral sex received from a person with oral hsv1 even when a cold sore is not visible( shedding period) Would it not make sense and be the moral thing to do to inform your potential partner that you have Herpes and that there is always potential risk in oral sex or even kissing?if the stats hold true 80 to 90 percent remember ... That would mean 3/4 or so of you who posted in this thread would be pos for oral hsv1 and there for present the above mentioned risk. So we ask... 1. If you get cold sores Do you inform your swing partners that there is a certain amount of risk involved if you play? 2. Do you think all swingers that are orally Hsv1 positive should post it in their profile. 3. If you met us and we clicked would you still choose us before someone who is not as honest as us that have no idea of their H status,you know the old ignorance is bliss thing.... " we know you have it and take all precautions to reduce risk, but they SAY they don't have it so we feel less risk with them.

Again just food for thought.

Indianapolis IN
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A few more thoughts on transparency... Most of the public get their info from the media (who aren't responsible for anything other than promoting readership or tv ratings). A great example would be the Netherlands study. If you google "swingers sti" you will get a ton of media hits. All referring to that (one and only) study. 90% of the headlines read: Swingers more at risk than prostitutes! So, that makes it sound as though swingers are a huge STI risk! When, in fact, looking at that study with a critical mind shows that is not the case. 1. The study was in the Netherlands where prostitution is legal and highly regulated. As that study showed, prostitutes had lower STI rates than ANY of the other groups, including your average heterosexual. 2. The "swingers" were only .4% more likely to have an STI than Joe the plumber. 3. Those identified as "swingers" were self-reporting. Meaning there could have been a lot more participants who were actually swingers, just not admitting it. 4. The highest risk group were swingers over the age of 45. Another variable, not mentioned, is age. Recently, a new "high-risk" group has been identified and that is "older" people. People who were in long term monogamous relationships through the AIDs era and grew up at a time where getting pregnant would have then the "worst consequence" of casual sex tend to have much more lax attitudes about condom usage. These folks are now widowed or divorced and back on the casual sex market. They are post-menopausal, so without the risk of pregnancy (their understanding of "worst consequence") they are less likely to use condoms. So, the data can be easily skewed, misinterpreted and often the media does a bang up job of using whatever "findings" they can to sensationalize the information or use it to reflect what they think the public wants to hear (that swingers are irresponsible STI spreading sluts). Although they may have got that slut part right. ;)

Baltimore MD
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Care, Transparency is there. For one, the CDC has pretty much ever statistic they've got publicly available on their website. This is a great tool: wonder.cdc.gov/std-std-race-age.html

Two, the CDC can look at trends from the required reportable STIs. But, they aren't conducting any empirical studies with this information. So, there are a few things to consider when thinking about how/why information is made public. 1. Public health is a broader issue. They're main goal is to protect the general public by providing them with "guidelines" or an "understanding" of whats going on. Telling everyone, "Don't worry HIV is a gay man's or African American's problem" would be setting us up for huge public health consequences. Yes, those populations are at higher risk, but that doesn't mean that a middle class white male isn't soliciting an AA inner city prostitute or the bored house wife's husband isn't having gay sex while traveling for work. The bottom line is that everyone is at risk! So, public health officials, trying to prevent the spread of disease, can do that best by emphasizing that no one is immune and certain actions can make things "safer." 2. All the CDC data is coming from doctors, as in, if you're not seeking medical treatment, you're not even in the system. 3. These stats can tell us about trends, but like I said, there are no empirical studies being conducted. Meaning, at best, the CDC can look for trends, perhaps correlations, but not cause and effect. 4. Any empirical data collected from researchers has serious limitations. Self-report is one of the largest in this arena because people are not forthcoming about the types or frequency of sex they're actually participating in. 5. When looking for empirical evidence, one must be able to isolate variables. This is extremely challenging in sex research. Participants are self-reporting (a limitation, as they may be lying, they may not remember correctly, etc), and engaging in multiple activities (for example, how can we know HIV transmission came from oral sex when we know its likely that the participant also engaged in vaginal sex).

Baltimore MD
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TOPIC: Using statistics for risk reduction