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Redefining Casual Dating with Ai-Driven Sexual Health

MA 22/23
Sexual Healthcare, Artificial Intelligence, Personal Well Being, Social Stigma, Learning

Despite of free testing services provided from the NHS, there are challenges within individual and social behaviours resulting in record-high levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK. We focus on addressing these challenges, specifically among casual daters who are at high risk of catching STIs. 

To combat this, we propose an innovative solution that combines personalised sexual preference exploration with AI-powered assistance to motivate individuals to plan and adhere to their own STI testing regimen. Ultimately, our goal is to empower young heterosexual adults aged 18 to 24 to take control of their sexual health and reduce STI rates as a social shift.

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Background & Approach

The STI epidemic is here

In 2022, Sexually Transmitted Infections(STI) rates in England increased by 24% within a year, soaring above pre-pandemic levels. Specifically, gonorrhoea diagnoses increased to 82,592, with a rise of 50.3%. Despite free testing services from the NHS, there are challenges within individual and social behaviours resulting in record-high levels of STIs. The public services are out there. We now need behavioural changes that can fully utilise these services to create a safer environment for all.

The Trend of Casual Dating 

56% of Britons have had a one-night stand in their lives, and this is widely due to the rise in popularity of online dating platforms that are creating easy access to connect with partners nearby, as well as a lack of need for emotional connection, more time personal time, greater kink compatibility, and influenced by the sexual revolution from 50 years ago. We're focusing on people who look for casual dates because they're most at risk for spreading and getting STIs.

Our Approach

The public services are out there. We now need a behavioural change amongst Britains that can fully utilise these services to create better social well-being. We're focusing on people who look for casual dates because they're most at risk for spreading and getting STIs.


Who are we designing for?

We’re focusing on young heterosexual adults aged 18 to 24 looking for short-term relationships. They have high levels of sexual desire and sexual activity, and want to gain more experience. 

Why heterosexual people?

Despite the LGBTQ+ community having the highest rate of STI diagnosis, they are relatively more responsible towards prevention and self-care, especially amongst gay and bisexual men with normalised prep subscriptions and consistent testing routines. Whilst most Britons are heterosexual, the diagnosis rates are lower due to the lack of testing. We are inspired by the LGBTQ+ community for our project.


A deeper dive into behavioural analysis

Testing is crucial for the prevention of STIs. If any infection is left undetected, it could turn into a disease, especially since STIs can be asymptomatic, posing serious health concerns such as cervical cancer, organ damage, and even death. We discovered existing sexual health services are mainly used by people who are symptomatic or influenced by close contacts. Along with advisors, experts and users, we have identified five causes for the lack of testing: trust, knowledge, fear, time, and conversation.

1. Excessive Trust:

People often trust their casual partners based on appearance. This creates a false sense of assurance that they're in a safe place. 

2a. Lack of Knowledge: 

STI is briefly taught under sex education programmes in schools, in assembly format lasting a total of 1-2 hours. Most students find this difficult to engage. Some don't even know the STI risks and testing if they don't study biology in GCSE. 

2b. False Knowledge and beliefs:

The realm of social media, pornography, and advice from friends often serve as platforms through which individuals gather information about sex and dating. Relying on these sources can result in false knowledge and contribute to the perpetuation of stigmas surrounding STIs. Furthermore, testing is frequently postponed until symptoms manifest, significantly hampering preventive measures.

3. Fear of Judgement:

Contrarily, the more people fear STIs due to their existing stigmatisation, the less likely they are to test as they are anxious about being judged. This is especially the case when diagnosed patients share their experiences with others. 

4. Lack of Time, Window Periods & Planning:

Casual daters often don't have the time or don't want to pursue romantic relationships as they seek pleasure. It's common to have multiple partners or change partners regularly. It's unrealistic for them to test after every single encounter. However, some STIs have longer window periods, ranging from 2-6 weeks, people aren’t aware of this. 

5. Open to Talk, But Close to Act:

Britons are open to discussing sex, but the mood gets awkward when someone asks another to do an STI test or share their result. They often use humour as a conversation starter to alleviate awkward tension, but it also avoids taking the topic seriously. There are specific dating apps that ask users to show STI results, but this can be forged and is rarely a topic on first dates.


Help user to explore and learn sex, such as their sexuality type, position, and pleasure points, and motivate them to plan their test with AI assistance. 

We aim to vitalise behavioural change and create a social shift in the long run. Five main steps are considered: 

  1. Increase awareness of the dangers of STIs: Share knowledge about STIs in a fun and engaging way.
  2. Encourage regular testing: Help users schedule and plan testing periods.
  3. Existing users influence others to test: Focus on a small group of users who will act as players to inspire others.
  4. As more people become responsible, this will lead to the development of testing habits: User engagement and will empower each other. 
  5. Reduce diagnosis rates of STI and increase social acceptance: If more people test, the number of people who get diagnosed will increase, but the overall infection rates will reduce in the long term.


Safe & Sexy is a personal AI assistant designed for young adults who look for short-term casual relationships to have safer sexual encounters without spoiling the fun! It provides tailored advice for better sexual exploration centred around the user's desires, fantasies, and experiences. 

Above all, Safe & Sexy is programmed to broaden young adults’ knowledge of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and encourage regular testing habits to prevent the further spread of STIs. 

As a starting point, we aim to leverage the hookup culture and explore how artificial intelligence can empower individuals to be resilient against stigmas around STIs, protecting themselves from physical and emotional harm and inspiring generations to come.


Special thanks to Wilf from Life Support Productions for his invaluable advice and insights; to Adam from Family Planning Association for giving us the opportunity to promote our work through their platform; to Oonagh from SH:24 and Kate from PreventX for their feedback and support; to healthcare professionals Christopher and Jonathan, for their guidance and validation; to our peers from Service Design and all our interviewees, for sharing their experiences and time; to our tutor John Makepeace, our project wouldn't have been possible without his support.

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