A reader confided with us that he’s slept with hundreds of men – and wonders whether if that’s normal or whether he is a sex addict. Experts from 56 Dean Street take the question
Dear 56DS and TGUK
I’m in my mid 20s and I’m a bit of sex lover. I’ve probably been with over 700 guys in the last 2 years, which makes my friends laugh, but I think I’m a bit addicted to it.
Some of the sex has been whilst drunk or on drugs (never needles) and I can’t be certain that it’s always been protected sex.
I am around 80% the top in these shags. So I’ve been told that the likelihood is that I’m fine, but just wondering.
I’ve had a few STDs and had those cleared up but I’m feeling a little bit worried as I always do this time of year with WorldAIDS Day coming up…
I have been to the clinic, but not this year.
Thanks for your question.
Being top may be less risky than being the bottom, but there is still a risk, and guys who only top still get HIV. This is because of HIV can also be found in mucosal secretions inside someone’s bum. Using condoms will protect you against HIV and most STIs regardless of how many partners you have. However, it’s possible that condoms break, or you can get STIs including HIV through oral sex, although getting HIV through oral sex is rare.
Some people say that taking drugs including alcohol makes them more relaxed and more likely to take risks. Sometimes when people get caught in the moment they may feel invincible and forget to do the things they normally would to protect their health. It’s really important that you keep control by using condoms and getting yourself checked regularly for sexually transmitted infections. This should be for all STIs not just HIV.
It might also be worth considering going onto PrEP. If you’ve not heard about PrEP, essentially it’s a anti-HIV drug, which when taken as prescribed can effectively prevent HIV spreading from partner to partner. PrEP stands for (Pre-Exposure Prophylactic. Campaigners believe PrEP can ultimately end new HIV transmissions. To find out more about it and see if you’re able to access PrEP make an appointment with your location sexual health clinic.
If you do have HIV finding out can save your life (if you have had it for many years) or add years to your life. HIV is now a manageable health condition and life expectancy may be almost the same if diagnosed early and you start treatment at the right time. It’s better to know as you can take control of your own health and protect your partners.
It sounds like you may want to visit our CODE clinic, a walk-in service. The team are super friendly, non-judgemental and there to help you. They can advise you on drug taking, help you to reduce or stop and explain more about risks of STIs. Also, they know a lot about the harder sex scene, if that happens to be your thing.
In terms of the number of partners, it’s really important that you are having a healthy, enjoyable sex life which is not harmful to your mental or physical health.
If you’re worried that you may have sex addiction then help is available. There is an online screening tool at www.sexhelp.com which is free. It will give you a score and explain what that means. There are also lots of resources on the www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk and www.recoverynation.com websites. We provide support at 56 Dean Street and if you visited the clinic with an appointment with a health advisor we could refer you to this service.
Hope that helps;
Jenna and Jake.
This article was first published on THEGAYUK in 2012 and now includes extra information about PrEP.