According to new research released by Lloydspharmacy, the typical British adult has slept indirectly with 2,811,024 people.
The leading community pharmacy chain has developed an online calculator which allows people to work out the number of indirect sexual partners they have had.
The sexual partners calculator has been developed to help people understand the risks of unprotected sex. According to the Health Protection Agency, cases of sexually transmitted infections rose last year by 0.5%, to 399,738 and cases of Chlamydia increased by eight per cent between 2006 and 2008.
The average British man claims to have had nine sexual partners while the average women claims 6.3 partners, giving an overall average of 7.65. However, as the new calculator demonstrates, they are potentially exposed to the sexually transmitted diseases of hundreds of thousands of others.
The calculator, which uses data collected from more than 6,000 UK adults, is called Sex Degrees of Separation, a reference to the famous theory first proposed by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy which states that no one person is more than six steps removed from another.
When people enter the age range of each partner, the calculator raids its database to work out how many previous sexual partners people within that age range have had on average. It then repeats this process for five further ‘generations’ of partner. This is added together to give a Sex Degrees of Separation total.
The launch of the calculator coincides with the introduction of Lloydspharmacy’s Relationship Screen, an online postal service which allows people and their partners to have a Chlamydia test – the most common STI in the UK – Gonorrhoea test and HIV test before committing to full intimacy.
Clare Kerr, head of sexual health at Lloydspharmacy said: “When we sleep with someone, we are, in effect, not only sleeping with them, but also their previous partners and their partners’ previous partners, and so on. It’s important that people understand how exposed they are to STIs and take appropriate precautions including using condoms and getting themselves checked out where appropriate.
“A simple sexual health test will give both partners in a relationship peace of mind. The majority of STIs are easy to rectify, but if left untreated, the long term implications can be very serious.”
The Sex Degrees of Separation calculator, and more information about Lloydpharmacy’s sexual health services, can be found at online.