The study was done to investigate sex-specific associations between lifetime number of sexual partners and several health outcomes in a large sample of older adults in England.
The search method was cross-sectional data analysis from 2537 men and 3185 women participating. Participants reported the number of sexual partners they had had in their lifetime. Outcomes were self-rated health and self-reported limiting long-standing illness, cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Logistic regression was used to analyze associations between lifetime number of sexual partners and health outcomes, adjusted for relevant sociodemographic and health-related covariates.
10 or more lifetime sexual partners was associated with higher odds of reporting a diagnosis of cancer than having had 0–1 sexual partner in men and women. Women who had 10 or more lifetime sexual partners also had higher odds of reporting a limiting long-standing illness.
The study concluded that a higher lifetime number of sexual partners is associated with increased odds of reported cancer. Longitudinal research is required to establish causality. Understanding the predictive value of the lifetime number of sexual partners as a behavioral risk factor may improve the clinical assessment of cancer risk in older adults.