Shirley Valentine moments lead to sexual infections

August 18, 2011

Summer thrills are leading to unwanted souvenirs for travellers seduced by the sun, sea and the promise of sex, according to research out today (18 August 2011).

A study by The Co-operative Pharmacy, part of The Co-operative Group, shows a 22 per cent summer surge in visits to sexual health clinics from May to September* while more than one in three** Brits abroad admit to having had unprotected sex with a stranger or new partner.

Research among travellers has also revealed one in six flirty fifty-somethings would have a ‘Shirley Valentine’ type one night stand or holiday romance.

Those in their fifties were the least likely to use contraception with a new partner and over one in ten blamed excessive drinking for not using contraception while more than one in five said a lack of condoms was the main reason.

The twenty-somethings were the most likely to have a quick holiday fling or sexual encounter with a complete stranger while more than one in eight women said they were embarrassed to ask about contraception when having sex with a new partner.

Each year around 600,000*** cases of sexually transmitted infections are reported.

Lisa McCreesh, a pharmacist at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “On holiday people often get more amorous.  We are urging people to remember that condoms provide the most effective protection against STIs. If you have had unprotected sex, it is important to get a check-up as you may not show any symptoms.

“Some condoms that are available abroad don’t always comply with the relevant European health, safety and environmental protection laws, so we would advise people to plan ahead and make sure they take CE marked condoms**** with them, along with any first aid essentials.”

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, added: "Left untreated sexually transmitted infections can lead to health problems – whatever your age, always wear a condom to protect yourself."

Additional Information:


**One Poll interviewed a random sample of 3,000 adults online.  Surveys were conducted among adults across all ages and regions of the country.


****The CE mark is a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets all the appropriate provisions of the relevant legislation implementing certain European Directives.

About The Co-operative:

The Co-operative Pharmacy, part of The Co-operative Group, is the UK’s third largest retail pharmacy with almost 800 branches.

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by almost six million consumers.  It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating both The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas.

The Group operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets, employs more than 110,000 people and has an annual turnover of £13.7bn.  Further information is available at


Contact Information:

Alex Wilson
The Co-operative Group
Senior Public Relations Officer
0161 2663416