Chemsex is a neologism consisting of the two terms “chemicals” and “sex”. It is a term used to describe the use of drugs, specifically psychoactive substances, during sexual activity.
This practice can increase sexual pleasure and intensify the experience, but it can also be associated with a range of mental and physical health risks. Another name for this phenomenon – Party and Play (PnP).
In most cases, when it comes to сhemsex, people mean or talk about the sexual relations of men and trans-men. However, women, trans-women and other genders are also active agents, those who face the consequences and difficulties of this practice. And regardless of heterosexual or homosexual relationships. Therefore, I am writing this article so that it will be useful to everyone.
Why do people practice Chemsex?
I will turn to the scientist for an answer. According to the article Chemsex and Psychosis: A Systematic Review for authorship Lucía Moreno-Gámez et all, the primary driving force behind chemsex is the desire for heightened sexual performance and pleasure. In fact, up to 92.3% of participants indicated this as their main motive for engaging in chemsex. Additional reasons for participation included the potential for escapism (62%) and uninhibited behavior (35%) induced by the drugs. Moreover, some individuals reported an increase in confidence and self-esteem due to the effects of the drugs, as well as a desire to conform to the stereotype of the sexually active gay man with multiple partners.
Another factor that drove individuals towards chemsex was a sense of loneliness and emptiness, as it provided them with a social platform to interact and connect with like-minded individuals. Finally, some participants were introduced to chemsex by their sexual partners.
Most common substances for Chemsex
Certain substances and their combinations are usually associated with chemical sex. Below you can see a list of substances that were most frequently encountered in this activity according to the 2022 rewiew:
- Mephedrone and other Cathinones 35–100%,
- Poppers 11–87.9%,
- Methamphetamine 5.9–60%,
- Cocaine 11.8–79.1%,
- GHB/GBL 13–73.6%,
- MDMA 2.9–59.6%,
- Amphetamines 57.5%,
- Ketamine 2.9–55.7%,
- Cannabis 8.8–53.2%,
- LSD 2–8%
- Alcohol 2.9–72.1%,
- Erectile dysfunction drugs 24.9–76.1%,
- Benzodiazepines 6%,
- Opioid Analgesics 5.4%,
- Ethyl Chloride 2%,
- Heroin 1.1%.
The percentages reflect how common a particular substance is found separately or in combination according to different studies that have been analyzed in the Chemsex and Psychosis: A Systematic Review.
That is almost all substances in general. We, people, love experiments, what to say.
In the table below you can find more detailed information about some of the substances mentioned:
|Common Name||Street Names||Preparations||Route of|
|Mephedrone||4-MMC, meow meow, m-CAT, bounce, bubbles, mad cow||Tablets, powder, crystals||Oral,|
|Nitrites: Butyl, Cyclohexyl, Isobutyl, Isopropyl, Pentyl||Poppers||Colorless liquid or Clear pale yellow|
|Crystal meth, Batu, Blade, Cristy, Crystal, Crystal glass, Glass, Hot ice,|
Ice, Quartz, Shabu, Shards, Stove top, Tina, Ventana
|Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid||GHB, “G” (most common), GammaOH, Liquid E, Fantasy, Georgia Home|
Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Liquid Ecstasy, Scoop, Water, Everclear, Great Hormones at Bedtime, GBH, Soap, Easy Lay, Salty Water,
G-Riffick, Cherry Meth, and Organic Quaalude, Jib
powder: sodium or
solution: GHB salt
dissolved in water
|Gamma-Butyrolactone||GBL, Blue Nitro, Blue Nitro Vitality, Firewater, G3, Gamma G, G.H. Revitalizer, Insom-X, Invigor ate, Paint Stripper, Remforce, Renewtrient, Revivarant, Serenity 2, Thunder, Verve, Weigth Belt Cleaner, revivarant, revivarant G, blue moon, BLO, GH-gold (GHG), genx (genex), verve (verv), liquid go|
ld, N-force, pure raine, reactive, rejoov, rejuv+nite, regenerize, remedy GH, thunder, X-12
|1,4-butanediol||BlueRaine, Dream On, Fubar, Pine Needle Oil, Rejuv@Nite, Thunder, Cleaner, Enliven, Inner G,|
One Comma Four, One Four Bee, One Four B-D-O, Revitalize Plus,
Serenity, SomatoPro, Soma Solution, Sucol B, Thunder Nectar,
Weight Belt Cleaner, White Magic
|Amyl nitrite||Amy, high-tech, kix, liquid gold, locker room, poppers, ram, rave, rush, snappers, thrust, TNT||Transparent liquid||Inhalation|
The Risks of Chemsex
It is important to note that the use of these drugs can have serious health consequences and legal implications.
The legal issues
The use of recreational drugs is illegal in most countries and states and can result in criminal charges. Additionally, individuals engaging in chemsex may be at risk of being charged with sexual assault or rape if they engage in non-consensual sexual activity while under the influence of these drugs. It is important to note that laws and regulations regarding drug use and sexual activity vary by country and jurisdiction. This topic is highly taboo in many countries and for many people, which creates a certain tension and increases the risks of adverse outcomes.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Chemsex participants often engage in sexual activities with multiple partners without the use of condoms or other barrier methods. The use of drugs can impair an individual’s judgment and capacity to choose sexual partners and engage in consensual sex. Consequently increases the likelihood of engaging in unprotected sex. And this in turn can increase the risk of contracting and spreading STIs. Common STIs include HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
It is very important to pronounce this sequence. Because otherwise it is very easy to slip into stigma, and this is not only unproductive but also simply wrong. The action of substances in this chain plays a key role and not some ephemeral moral human positions. The only things that a particular person should monitor is their knowledge of the topic, care and responsibility for their health and the health of their partners.
Traumatization and physical consequences
Sexual activity over a prolonged period of time under the influence of chemsex drugs can result in rectal trauma or penile abrasions. The use of these drugs can also have serious physical health consequences, including but not limited to: cardiovascular complications, liver and kidney damage, respiratory problems.
PnP can also have significant psychological impacts. The use of drugs can lead to changes in mood and behavior, including increased impulsivity and risky decision-making. The intense sexual experiences associated with сhemsex can lead to feelings of shame and guilt, which can contribute to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety in the post-event period. Additionally, the drugs in combination and with long use can cause changes in brain chemistry that can lead to altered mood states and impaired cognitive function. Together, these factors can lead to psychotic states and chronic diseases.
In the heat of passion and when consciousness is changed, and neurotransmitter systems are as far as possible from the state of normality, none of us will think responsibly and carefully. It is simply naive to hope for this. Therefore, all steps to preserve health, both mental and physical, should be taken before the fun. To a certain extent, this applies in general to the relationship of a person and psychoactive substances, and not just сhemsex.
Drug Use and Substance Abuse
The use of psychoactive substances in combination with such a strong and reinforcing activity of our brain’s Reward System as sexual experience can create especially strong neural networks in consciousness that mediate addict-thinking and addict behavior much stronger if only substances or only sex were involved in the process. This combination with unlimited and chaotic use can significantly deform the personality and life more than its components individually. Additionally, the use of multiple substances can increase the risk of overdose and other health complications.
It is important to note that the long-term effects of chemsex are not yet fully understood due to limited research on the topic.
Harm Reduction for Chemsex
While the risks associated with PnP cannot be eliminated, Harm Reduction strategies can help reduce the negative impacts on health. These strategies include:
Using drugs responsibly. This means not using too much or mixing substances. Avoiding sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia. Stick to a dose that you’re comfortable with and avoid using drugs that you’re not familiar with.
Use protection. Always use condoms and other barrier methods to reduce your risk of contracting or spreading STIs. If you’re going to engage in anal sex, use plenty of lube to reduce the risk of tearing.
Practicing good hygiene by washing hands and genitals before and after sexual activity.
Be tested regularly for STIs. Getting tested on a regular basis can help you catch infections early and get the treatment you need.
Getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, and against other diseases that are transmitted parenterally and for which there are vaccines.
Knowing your limits and avoiding engaging in activities that make you uncomfortable. It’s important to know your limits and stick to them. If you’re not comfortable with a particular activity, don’t do it. It’s okay to say no.
Staying hydrated. The use of stimulant and euphoretic drugs in combination with intense and prolonged physical activity will dehydrate you. So it’s important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your PnP activities. This can help reduce the risk of dehydration-related health problems. During the action of the substance, it is important to drink cool water in small sips. It is worth avoiding carbonated drinks, sweet lemonades, and a lot of water in large sips at once. It can be dangerous.
Be aware of your surroundings: PnP activities often take place in private settings, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and keep yourself safe. Let someone know where you are and who you’re with, and have a plan in case something goes wrong.
Remember, chemsex can be a fun, interestind and exciting experience, but it’s important to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risks associated with substance use and sexual activities. If you’re ever unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from someone you trust.
And once again – it is very important to think through all these questions before you have taken a substance and found yourself at the mercy of an altered consciousness. Knowledge, preparation, plan and harm reduction practices – this will help everyone who wants new sensations, take care of themselves and their loved ones. Love and Stay Safe!
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