While many enormous changes have occurred in the gay community over the past several decades, one constant has been the familiar smell of poppers in dance clubs, bathhouses and private parties.
Poppers play a role for some people in the experience of sexual pleasure. We use poppers to enhance pleasure, reduce pain and injury and to “let go” and enjoy sex.
Poppers are nitrite-based drugs that when inhaled, heighten the experience of pleasure and cause the dilation of cerebral blood vessels, giving the user the perception of a “rush.”
Poppers also induce the relaxation of smooth muscle and prevent spasm and injury (e.g. tearing of the inner sphincter) during receptive anal intercourse.
Poppers can be enjoyable, but like any drug, overuse can lead to problems. Some of us may experience issues resulting from frequent poppers use, including experiences of dependency on poppers for sexual pleasure.
It’s safer not use drugs at all. The reality is that many gay men continue to use poppers for sex, and probably will continue to do so. With this in mind, we have developed harm reduction tips for when you are using poppers, to keep you and your partner(s) safe.
Use of poppers is associated with an increased risk of acquiring HIV infection among MSM, particularly for the bottom. This is because using poppers opens your blood vessels wider and causes more blood to flow to your rectum, allowing for more of an opportunity for HIV to enter your bloodstream.
Poppers affects blood pressure. Many people have lost consciousness and passed out.
Poppers can interact with other drugs, especially Viagra. This has caused people to collapse and could result in death.
Swallowing it will cause poisoning and severe sickness. It also burns if it touches someone’s skin.
Poppers are flammable and should not be used near candles, lighters or cigarettes.
If you are worried about your relationship with poppers, it is important to reach out. There are a number of non-judgemental friendly services who can help.
The Switchboard Ireland
Outhouse, 105 Capel St, Dublin 1.
The Switchboard Ireland is Ireland’s longest running support service for the LGBT+ community. LGBT+ volunteers are available 7 days a week on phone, email and online chat to offer confidential listening, support and information. Thursdays: Substance Abuse, Chems, Narcotics, Alcohol 6:30pm – 9pm.
Phone 01 872 1055
Contact: WhatsApp @ 089 26 74 777
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for support & signpost by email
email@example.com for other questions
The MPOWER team of peer sexual health outreach workers offer information, support and resources relating to HIV, STIs and other sexual health & wellbeing needs. The team is available to speak to you by phone, email, WhatsApp, and Zoom.
Phone 01-8733799 and ask for the MPOWER Team (Mon-Fri 10am – 5pm)
Whatsapp on 086 065 7212 (Davy), 0866002996 (Mark), 0892291869 (Diego)
Sexual Health Centre Cork
Sexual Health Centre Cork offer the services of a dedicated Sexual Health Advisor to members of LGBTQIA+ community. Konrad Im provides sexual health advice and support in an understanding and warm environment, on a wide range of matters such as healthy relationships, sexuality, sexual dysfunction, gender and sexual identity.
You can make an appointment by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, calling the Sexual Health Centre on 021 427 5837 or contacting Konrad directly at email@example.com
Drugs helpline: Freefone 1800 459 459
Further information at http://www.drugs.ie/drugtypes/drug/poppers_stimulant
or from the drugs helpline: Freefone 1800 459 459