Sex and the Olympics. Some think they’re worlds apart, others think they should be (recent article published by the Christian Post on the ‘controversial’ nature of giving out free condoms to athletes), whilst others see them as completely and thoroughly connected.
Last week we were told that Grindr had crashed due to the influx of Olympic athletes arriving in the city. Whether this was an elaborate PR stunt or whether the newly arrived athletes were looking to hook-up with a local before doing some last minute training remains to be seen. However, it does seem to imply that sex and the Olympics are actually much more connected than we might think.
This is certainly implied by massive condom distibution stats from the last few Olympics. At Sydney 45,000 Condoms were given out to athletes, at Beijing this rose to 90,000 and in London that figure stands at 150,000. Some quick maths shows that athletes have enough condoms to have sex 15 times over the three weeks of the Olympics (It must be difficult fitting in time for all that training!). At Beijing a campaign to promote condom use amongst tourists and athletes alike used images like the one below.
So with more people in London (testosterone charged athletes and holidaying tourists alike) it might be expected that there is a spike in demand for sexual health services. Actually, there is little research on the topic as HIVsport testify ( http://www.hivsport.org/2012-olympics.php) and so it is difficult to predict demand accurately. We don’t really know whether tourist numbers will increase over the summer in London, whether Grindr is at melting point with sex-starved athletes or what goes on beyond closed doors at the Olympic village. However, we do know that it pays to be prepared and to be ready for an increase in demand should it happen. That’s why we’re open everyday throughout the Olympics providing free counselling, mentoring and sexual health for men who have sex with men. Head to our website to find more information on these programmes http://www.gmipartnership.org.uk/ .
And what do I think? Well, I think everyone is heeding Boris’ advice (hard not to when it plays every 5 minutes on the number 436) and not travelling whenever possible. So I think it will be after the Olympics when we’ll see a sudden increase in Londoners accessing sexual health services like GMI. But, let’s see… What about you guys, what do you think?