Chemsex is a specific form of recreational drug use and involves using one or more of three drugs, in any combination, to facilitate or enhance sex, with or without other drugs.
The three common drugs used are:
Chemsex commonly refers to sex that can sometimes last for several days where there is little need for sleep or food. The heightened sexual focus enables more extreme sex, for longer, often with more partners.
Men may engage in Chemsex for many reasons, some include:
Chemsex is associated with extreme disinhibition. Some people use Chemsex to do things they might otherwise not usually do. Safer sex can be less important to those under the influence and therefore the chances of transmission of HIV and STIs are greatly enhanced.
As with the use of other recreational drugs, engaging in Chemsex can affect our choices and our judgement. Some people may feel unable to consent to sex when highly intoxicated. Be aware of your limits and your right to say no to sex or sexual acts that you don’t feel comfortable with. A good way of achieving this is by setting boundaries before engaging in Chemsex.
Plan in advance – carry condoms and lube and do not share injecting equipment.
Drug interactions can be serious and difficult to predict, for example between alcohol and GHB/GBL. Side effects from the drugs used for Chemsex can be more severe than other commonly used recreational drugs.
Short and long term side effects can include:
If you are injecting or ‘slamming’ your drugs, it is important to know how to do it in the safest possible way. Merchants Quay Ireland have created a booklet on safer injecting practices which you can download here. It includes information on safer injecting practices and types of injecting. Advice on how to find a vein and the equipment that should be used. Recommendations on how to best care for your veins, avoiding vein damage and when you may need to seek help.
Information on the drugs mentioned above and other drugs and services including ‘free needle/equipment exchanges’ at www.drugs.ie
or from the drugs helpline: Freefone 1800 459 459
For Sexual Health, STI & HIV Services such as the; GMHS Outreach Team, Gay Switchboard Ireland and HIV Ireland https://man2man.ie/testing-support/