App for sex hook-up sparks fears
A DRAMATIC increase in casual sexual encounters sparked by the emergence of a new iPhone application has been met with trepidation from health experts.
They have issued a warning to anyone using the networking iPhone application Blendr for casual sex, amidst reports of a rapid rise in "hook-ups" on the Sunshine Coast.
The app uses GPS technology to find other users in close proximity and defines itself as "a new way to meet new people".
However, many users admit it is used more to find "no-strings-attached" sex.
Some people with the iPhone app say they are finding different partners daily.
One man told the Daily yesterday that he had slept with 13 different women in the past three weeks.
Dr Christine Knox from the Queensland University of Technology said the increase of random sex partners was frightening.
The microbiologist and mother of three adult children said the Blendr app was "terrifying" because it increased the likelihood of casual sex with "people who you know very little about".
Having sex with multiple partners is one of the top three factors that heighten the chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, Dr Knox said.
"Be informed, be wary and ask questions," she said.
"People have to be very aware of the risks (of contracting sexually transmitted diseases)."
Dr Knox said last year there were more than 80,000 reported cases of chlamydia, with 20% of those in Queensland.
"It does (shock me) because that's the tip of the iceberg," she said. "Most of the symptoms are asymptomatic. A lot of people think they're healthy and have no infections at all.
"But if you are having multiple sexual partners then you're highly at risk of being infected."
A 24-year-old tradesman told the Daily he downloaded the app three weeks ago and found it a good way to meet like-minded people.
He said he had had sex with a different woman almost every night, but defended Blendr's image as a "sleazy" iPhone app.
"Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of sleazy guys on there that are putting inappropriate things (in messages) straight away without getting to know if it's appropriate or what the girl is interested in," he said.
"If it is used appropriately and in the correct manner and everybody's wishes are taken into consideration, it's great."
The Blendr enthusiast said there were many people who used the app to meet people and "not just for casual hook-ups".
However from his perspective he was happier to find someone likeminded on Blendr than spend three hours talking to a woman in a bar.
"You're more inclined to find someone who's more interested in what you're going to do," he said.
Dr Knox said young people needed to think of long-term consequences that could result from casual sex.
The Blendr user who spoke to the Daily said he was conscious of protecting against diseases in the same way he would be if he found romance at a nightclub.