What is ChemSex and why does it matter?


“Chemsex” is used in the United Kingdom to describe intentional sex under the influence of psychoactive drugs. It refers particularly to the use of mephedrone, γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), γ-butyrolactone (GBL), and crystallised methamphetamine. These drugs are often used in combination to facilitate sexual sessions lasting several hours or days with multiple sexual partners.

It needs to become a public health priority

Mephedrone and crystal meth are physiological stimulants, increasing heart rate and blood pressure, as well as triggering euphoria and sexual arousal. GHB (and its precursor GBL) is a powerful psychological disinhibitor and also a mild anaesthetic. Anecdotal reports and some small qualitative studies in the UK find that people engaging in chemsex report better sex, with these drugs reducing inhibitions and increasing pleasure. They facilitate sustained arousal and induce a feeling of instant rapport with sexual partners. Some users report using them to manage negative feelings, such as a lack of confidence and self esteem, internalised homophobia, and stigma about their HIV status. More information about this matter can be found here.


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