Chemsex has been on the rise since the early 80s, but one study proves how far it’s leaped since the invention of hookup apps. More and more gay men are having sex while under the influence of hardcore drugs, but what’s even more disturbing is that it’s rising in popularity among gay teenagers having sex for the first time.
According to the study, 19% used GHB/GBL in the last 6 months, 10% had taken crystal meth and 21% had taken ephedrine within the same period. All figures of drug use were significantly higher among HIV-positive men. Alcohol still remains the most common influence during sex, but the rise of newer drugs have made recreational use common among men of all ages.
The term Chemsex became hugely popular on apps like Grindr. It’s a slang term for sexualized drug use by gay and bisexual men. In the majority of cases it seldom involves pot or alcohol, but stronger more lethal chemicals with the purpose of making sex a better experience. It’s safe to say that the allure of chemsex is what made it so popular in recent years.
For most men, chemsex helps with the insecurity sex often brings. The fear of being judged by your sex partner or even the voices in your own head can be wiped away, but with that comes an incredible loss of inhibition which makes unprotected sex all the more likely – and the numbers aren’t just expanding in America, but across the world.
“It’s not just older HIV positive men, it’s 15-year olds, the first time they have sex is on drugs. Im working with people like that in the clinic,” David Stuart, lead at London’s sexual health clinic, said to PinkNews, “At the moment we have 100 people every month coming to one sexual health clinic, just one, disclosing that they are using drugs for sex and haven’t had sober sex in more than a year.”
For most gay guys in America, sex has become so recreational that we’ve lost our sense of safety. The feeling of gratification and self-appreciation becomes an enviable quality to attain, more so than any consequences. But what makes this generation more complicated is that drugs like crystal meth, when compared to drugs like ecstasy, create a bigger aftermath.
“People weren’t rushing to accident and emergency departments from ecstasy,” Stuart continued, “They weren’t rushing to sexual health clinics for PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) or HIV tests because of ecstasy. This is not about drugs, this is about the harm that comes from them. In one weekend we had 33 people show up for PEP, the medication you take if you think you have been exposed to HIV. All 33 had come from a three-day chemsex party.”
With so much exposure to chemsex, have we lost our own voice? Despite the fact it may lift an incredible amount of weight from our shoulders, never should we underestimate the consequences.
If you feel like you’ve reached rock bottom, reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
The people at SAMHSA will help you find a Narcotics Center in your area that can help.