The average Brit has ‘indirectly’ had sex with almost 3 million people, new calculations from Lloydspharmacy show.
When a person has sex they are effectively exposing themselves to any infection carried by their partner’s “previous partners, their partners and so on”.
The figure of 2.8 million ‘indirect’ partners is based on research showing that a British person has sex, on average, with 7.65 others in their lifetime.
Men claim to have slept with an average of nine people while for women it is 6.3, giving an overall average of 7.65.
According to calculations by Lloydspharmacy, that makes a total of 2,811,024 indirect partners for the average Brit.
The pharmacy has launched an online calculator inviting users to work out their own figure by entering the number of sexual partners they have had.
The calculator then works out how many people they are likely to have had indirect sexual contact with based on data collected from 6,000 British adults.
The Sex Degrees of Separation calculator was launched by Lloydspharmacy to raise awareness of sexual health issues.
A spokeswoman for the company, Clare Kerr, said: “When we have sex with someone, we are, in effect, not only sleeping with them, but also their previous partners and their partners’ previous partners, and so on.”
Last year a group of researchers in America found that levels of promiscuity in Britain were higher than in any other western nation.
An MTV poll of 1,000 young people conducted around the same time found that a third of 16 to 34-year-olds had had unprotected sex with two to five partners.
The same proportion thought it was acceptable to have had up to ten partners by the age of 21.
In 2008 there were almost 400,000 new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnosed in the UK.
While 16 to 24-year-olds make up just twelve per cent of the population, they account for more than half all new STI diagnoses.