If you want to speak to someone about your chems use, come for an informal chat at our drop in session every other Thursday from 12-5 at MESMAC. Email email@example.com for details of the next drop in.
Chemsex means using drugs as part of your sex life.
Generally it’s more common among gay and bi men, although chemsex is not the norm for most gay men in Britain. Typically three specific drugs (‘chems’) are involved: methamphetamine (crystal meth), mephedrone (Mcat, Meph), GHB and GBL (G, geebs or liquid ecstasy).
These drugs facilitate sustained arousal and induce feel-good emotions and a feeling of instant rapport with sexual partners. Sex that can last for hours, or even days. Some users report using them to manage negative feelings, such as a lack of confidence and self-esteem, or deal with worries about stigma around sexuality and HIV status.
Using illegal substances can have significant negative impacts on both your health and mental health but if you are intent on choosing to take illegal substances then following the advice in this resource may reduce potential harm or a fatality.
We now have a fortnightly drop-in at Yorkshire MESMAC on Thursdays between 12pm and 5pm. Contact MESMAC Leeds for details of the next date.
Set Group Rules
Agree in advance, and while sober, what sex you would like and what you don’t want. Ensure everyone is in agreement about what is going to happen and that you will all respect one another’s boundaries.
Be upfront about the type of sex you want to have – including if you want to use condoms. Bring condoms and safer sex materials with you even if you’ve agreed otherwise in case someone changes their mind.
If you choose not to use condoms this will put you at risk of catching a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). Also, you may be at increased risk during chemsex, as people on certain drugs may have rougher sex, increasing the risk of bleeding and infection.
Lastly, try and limit to events where you know people who you can trust.
Avoid mixing chemsex drugs with any other drugs, including alcohol. This includes erectile drugs like Viagra. These, in combination with your chemsex drug of choice, may cause an adverse reaction.
General protective measures
Blood-Borne Viruses – If you inject crystal meth and mephedrone there is an increased risk of infections and blood-borne viruses like HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B. If you do choose to inject, don’t share needles or items for snorting eg. straws and notes.
Consider taking PrEP/PEP
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and PEP stands for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis to protect against HIV.
You may also find that you become dependent on chemsex drugs. Once you have a dependency and you stop taking drugs, you’ll experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
People who regularly engage in chemsex sometimes find it hard to enjoy sex without drugs. Ensuring positive sexual experiences without drugs is an important part of ensuring a healthy, diverse balance.
Health and mental health
Taking the drugs involved in chemsex can lead to serious short and long term impacts on your health and mental health including chronic depression, anxiety, weight loss, paranoia and psychosis
In any situation where drugs or alcohol are present, it is easy for people to lose the capacity to consent. If someone is asleep, unconscious or so ‘out of it’ they cannot decide for themselves, then they cannot consent.
Consent is never permanent. Someone can change their mind and withdraw their consent at any time. Consent is not just about the law, it is also about experiencing positive sexual experiences for all those involved.
Use condoms and lube, and other barrier protection like dental dams.
Get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You can get tested for STIs, as as well as blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis c at local sexual health clinics.
Forward Leeds offers specific support for people who engage in Chemsex and would like information or advice. Complete the secure, confidential form below and someone will be in touch with you. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org