In four months, thousands of people will descend upon Whistler, fuelled by testosterone, adrenaline and the anticipation of an Olympic-sized party — and it’s possible they’ll leave with more than just memories.
Jennifer Matthews, a Vancouver-based researcher who conducted the 2007 Whistler Guys Study on intoxicated sex, said some Olympic host cities, such as Sydney, ended up with a higher rate of sexually transmitted infections following the Games.
“People come and they party. They might have unprotected sex with someone and get an STI, but (it’s difficult to) track that because they go home to their home country,” she said.
Marisa Collins, a physician at Whistler’s Sexual Awareness For Everyone clinic, said she is not yet sure what to expect.
“Our clientele are not the tourists some tend to think of when thinking Whistler,” she said.
“Our constituency at SAFE are the young Whistler workers. Their numbers should be stable come time for the Olympics. Of course, what happens behind the fence … is not something I know about.”
In a 2008 column for the U.K.’s Times Online, British journalist and former Olympian Matthew Syed described the Olympic atmosphere among athletes as being thick with sexual tension — something he attributed to their high testosterone levels and a “volcanic release of pent-up hedonism” after displaying “an unnatural level of self-discipline.”
His first Games, in Barcelona, was “as much about sex as it was sport,” he wrote.