WHAT IS CHEMSEX?
Chemsex can be described as the sexualised used of drugs. The drugs can be taken immediately before or during a sexual session. ChemSex involves the use of one or more of the following drugs:
• Crystal Methamphetamine
Crystal Methamphetamine (Meth, Crystal Meth, Tina)
Crystal Methamphetamine is a stimulant. It comes in a crystal form which can be snorted, smoked, injected (slammed) or used rectally (booty bumped) It can increase arousal and libido, and can lower inhibitions. When used it can making people feel stimulated, alert, invigorated, awake and full of energy.
Mephedrone (M-CAT, Meow Meow)
Mephedrone is a stimulant and comes in white/yellow powder form. It can be snorted, smoked, injected or bombed (wrapped in paper and swallowed) When used it can give feelings of euphoria, excitement, feelings of love and affection.
GBL/GHB (G, Gina)
GHB and GBL are both depressant drugs. GBL comes as a clear, colourless, odourless liquid that is often oily in appearance. It is usually mixed into non-alcoholic drinks and swallowed. Measuring the dose out into syringes is the safest way of knowing how much is being taken.
GBL and GHB are different drugs; however GBL is converted into GHB in the body. They have separate doses and can easily be confused between each other leading to risk of overdose. It is also used in paint stripping and industrial cleaning. It can give feelings of euphoria, calm, chilled and sleepy. It also helps to lower inhibitions and can increase sexual desire. It works quickly so effects can start within 10-20 minutes.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
When using methamphetamine, feelings of paranoia, agitation and aggression can be common. As amphetamine raises blood pressure and heart rate, users can be at higher risk of a heart attack.
Longer sex sessions can cause more injury to the rectum and cause more friction meaning condoms are more likely to break leading to risks of STIs.
During a comedown (the time after using) people may feel low in mood, paranoid and may experience psychosis or suicidal thoughts.
There are also risks associated with certain types of HIV medication which can ‘boost’ the level of the drug in a person’s system increasing the risk of overdose and long term harms.
Anxiety and paranoia can occur, as well as headaches and vomiting. Can cause erectile dysfunction and make it harder to ejaculate. Mephedrone may cause short-term memory loss, insomnia, dizziness, teeth grinding leading to mouth ulceration, and profuse sweating. Mephedrone can overstimulate the nervous system leading to hallucinations, agitation, fits or seizures. It can also overstimulate the heart rate and circulation causing palpitations, and blue/cold fingers and toes. During comedowns, people may feel overly tired, have feelings of depression and may have concentration difficulties.
Mephedrone can reduce inhibitions leading to difficulty making decisions around safe sex and safer drug use and can increase risk of unprotected sex and STI’s.
There are also risks associated with certain types of HIV medication which can ‘boost’ the level of Mephedrone in a person’s system increasing the risk of overdose and long term harms.
Mixing these with other recreational drugs and alcohol can be dangerous. G can be physically addictive and it is easy to overdose. Due to the risk of unconsciousness, you may be unable to consent and more at risk of sexual assault.
The REACH service supports men who are using drugs in a sexualised setting. The Northern Contraception, sexual health and HIV service work in partnership with local drug services and the LGBT foundation to provide this care.
What our REACH clinic offers
• Screening for sexually transmitted infections
• Screening for blood-borne viruses, including HIV and hepatitis
• Drug intervention work
• Psychosocial interventions
• Signposting and referral to other support services.
Hathersage Centre, Upper Brook Street, Manchester M13 0FH
Telephone: 0161 701 0560
Appointments available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Drop-in Wednesday 3.30pm – 6pm