Chemsex can be explained as a culture amongst the (mainly) msm community to have parties, with specific drugs, for the intention of having heightened, prolonged and more extreme sex with multiple or generally casual partners.
The three drugs known as ‘chemsex’ drugs are:
- Crystal Meth – Sometimes referred to as ‘Tina’ or ‘T’. This is a very addictive and strong amphetamine that can be smoked or injected (known as slamming).
- Mephedrone – Known as ‘mkat’ or ‘kat’. This is an addictive stimulant that can be inhaled (snorted) or slammed.
- GHB – Known as G, GB, Gina. This is an addictive substance that can be drunk in small shots. There is a danger of overdose and physical symptoms of withdrawal after prolonged use over a few days.
Users may also take other drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine alongside one or more of the above.
Chemsex can have a negative impact on a person’s sexual, physical and mental health even if they only are involved occasionally.
- People at parties tend to have condomless anal sex and do not use harm reduction methods such as gloves for fisting. Individuals could acquire HIV, Hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted infections
- Whilst under the influence of chem sex drugs, users may find it difficult to negotiate condom use and other methods for preventing STI’s. People may often agree to take part in activities they would not if they were sober
- If people are taking medication for HIV or PrEP (to prevent HIV infection) they may not remember to take their medication which may impact on their undetectable or negative HIV status
- All of the chem-sex drugs mentioned are extremely addictive and it’s very easy to overdose or simply be out of control whilst taking them. This can leave individuals in a vulnerable position as regards their physical health, their ability to consent and the possible risk of sexual exploitation
- If drug taking equipment (needles, water, ‘works’) are not clean or are shared its possible to acquire infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C
- Some of the sex at parties can be a lot rougher with risk of injury
- All of the drugs can have side effects such severe paranoia, anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideation
- Users may isolate themselves from other friends outside of the chemsex scene, leaving them feeling trapped or unable to control their partying
- Users may struggle to concentrate which could impact on their performance at work
If you would like to know more about the support we offer for people who are concerned about chemsex then visit our Chemsex support page here or alternatively contact James on firstname.lastname@example.org