what is chemsex

What is ChemSex?

The term Chemsex refers to homosexual or bisexual men who use crystal meth, mephedrone, or GHB to enhance sex with other men. When it comes to chemsex it’s important to understand that while many drugs can be used during sex only meth, ecstasy, or GHB are termed ‘chems’ by the people who participate in chemsex. Likewise, heterosexual men and women could use these substances for intercourse but this would still not be the same as ‘chemsex’ because for homosexual men, these chems are used for the purpose of overcoming the shame, stigma, and even disgust that can surround gay male sex.

In fact, these “chems” are used specifically to increase desire and decrease inhibitions for the purpose of having anonymous gay sex with other men. Dr. David Stuart hypothesizes that really drugs are not the problem in the culture of chemsex, they are actually an attempt at a solution to things that would otherwise decrease the pleasure of sex, such as:

    Attitudes surrounding homosexuality that decrease the pleasure of sex

    Cultural or religious attitudes about gay sex


    Rejection culture born as a result of the online hookup apps

Chemsex Drugs: 

Crystal Meth (Methamphetamines): Most often called meth, crystal, or tina is a stimulant that increases your blood pressure and heart rate. The result is feeling more awake and alert, or as if you have intense amounts of energy. Meth can also cause insomnia, agitation, paranoia, violent outbursts, and addiction. Chemsex participants may use meth to help them stay awake and have more sexual intercourse — or meth sex. 

Mephedrone: Is a stimulant like meth. In addition to causing euphoria, energy, and increased sexual arousal mephedrone can also cause paranoia, visual or auditory hallucinations, and erratic behavior. People in the chemsex community use mephedrone for its ability to enhance sexual arousal. Some also say it can prolong sexual stamina, however research has yet to confirm this.

Ecstasy: Ecstasy (or MDMA) is a psychoactive drug meaning that it changes mood, perceptions, thinking, and behavior. When taken it causes energy and pleasure but it can also cause addiction, paranoia, and trouble sleeping. Ecstasy is used during chemsex for its ability to lower inhibitions and enhance the physical sensations of homosexual intercourse. A drawback to this of course is that lowered inhibitions can increase the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. 

 Chemsex Party “Party and Play”: 

A chemsex party is a gathering of gay and bisexual men who have anonymous sex (play) after taking drugs (partying). Locations for these gatherings are often saunas, jacuzzis, or homes where drugs are easily accessible. Once under the influence, people have intercourse with one or more anonymous partners. Other party and play gatherings also have a swinger component where gay men swap partners for the purpose of sex. 

The Problems with Chemsex: 

  1. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Because the drugs used for chemsex lower inhibitions, it’s not uncommon for men to take multiple sexual partners in the evening without using any form of protection. As a result, the transmission of STIs, including HIV, in the chemsex community is very high. 
  2. Addiction: All the drugs used for chemsex are addictive. And regardless of whether someone has the disease of addiction, anyone can become physically dependent on these drugs if they are used too often. This means that when a person goes longer than usual without using meth or other chemsex drugs they can experience withdrawals like sweating, shaking, nausea, irritability, and insomnia. 
  3. Erectile Dysfunction: If Mephedrone and methamphetamines are used often they can affect a man’s ability to get or maintain an erection. This fact is widely recognized in the chemsex community, which is why people will bring or provide additional drugs called “poppers” (aka viagra) and other drugs to combat this effect. 
Reclaim Your Life:

Tree House Recovery is about getting sobriety by helping you build a new lifestyle and identity. Our program is designed to make you the best version of yourself — someone who neither wants or needs substances for any reason. To learn more call 855-202-2138.

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