London has recently been hailed the chemsex capital of Europe according to information collated by The Global Drugs Survey. The report further found that young Brits are most likely to engage in chemsex in London out of all the cities in Europe, Canada, Australia and even the US.
Rehab Guide feel it is important to highlight the dangers of combining drugs and sex, as it is rarely discussed within a public domain. Sex and drugs are two things that as British we are conditioned not to speak openly about; add to that, because it is very much something that the gay community engage in and you have the perfect combination of taboo subjects that drives chemsex underground.
Chemsex is a topic that we cannot afford to ignore. In London, a chemsex party can be accessed at any time of day or night – thanks to today’s advancements in networking technology. With a click of a button or a swipe of a picture, a chemsex hook up can be arranged within minutes.
You may wonder why it is seen as a growing problem, surely between two consenting adults; it is just a bit of harmless fun? The reality is that it is anything but harmless, it can carry severe consequences, and for the minority that become addicted to it, it can become life-threatening.
What Is Chemsex? And Who It Appeals To
Chemsex parties, often hosted by dealers of chemsex drugs, are where men meet up to take drugs and have sex. The drugs are taken purely for the purpose of facilitating, enhancing and prolonging sexual activity. It is a term that is associated more with the gay and bisexual community. Although heterosexual chemsex does exist, there is a far smaller percentage, and it tends to be less problematic in heterosexual encounters and relationships.
The illicit drugs that are used for chemsex are drugs that enhance sexual performance, reduce inhibitions and increase sexual confidence, arousal and stamina.
- Crystal methamphetamine (meth, crystal, methamphetamine, ice and Tina)
- GHB/GBL (G, Grievous bodily harm, Gina, or liquid ecstasy)
- Mephedrone (Meow meow, MCAT, m-cat, meph, miaew, bubbles, white magic and plant feeder)
Crystal meth is an extremely, addictive and destructive drug. It is favoured by London’s chemsex scene.
Crystal methamphetamine is known to be highly addictive, and it can be snorted, swallowed, smoked or injected. While crystal meth use is not known to be particularly popular amongst the general population of the UK, its powerful euphoric and stimulant effects make it the perfect drug to facilitate, enhance and prolong sexual activity.
Alcohol, while not considered to be a drug by most people, does lower inhibitions and relaxes. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in chemically enhanced sexual activity and is often mixed with illicit drugs for greater effect.
These drugs, or a combination of them, are often mixed together or combined with alcohol for more pronounced effects. Cocaine, ketamine and crack cocaine have also been known to be used but to a lesser extent. Chemsex drugs are usually smoked, swallowed or snorted.
“Slamsex” is a term used when drugs are injected intravenously instead of swallowed, smoked or snorted for an immediate and powerfully intense high. This form of chemsex, for obvious reasons, is the most dangerous. It can easily lead to overdose and increases the chances of transmitting blood-borne viruses through shared equipment.
Chemsex appeals to those that find sober sex awkward or unfulfilling. It also appeals to those that want to engage in forms of risky sex, experiments with different partners, or sleeping with multiple partners at the same time.
Crystal Meth – The Chemsex Drug of Choice in London
The London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham commissioned a report studying the use of illicit drugs within sexual settings amongst London’s gay and bisexual men. The report found that chemsex was more common in London than in any other part of the UK. The Global Drug Survey findings also backed this information.
The report published by The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine detailed that nearly all crystal methamphetamine use reported was within a sexual setting and that 85% of GHB/GBL and 75% of mephedrone users reported that they used these illicit drugs solely to facilitate sex.
The Link Between Chemsex and HIV in London
The Terrence Higgins Trust, who specialises in men’s sexual health and living with HIV reported that London continues to have the highest rates of HIV in the country, 36% of all new UK HIV diagnoses in 2017 were London residents.
While the overall number of HIV diagnoses has steadily declined since 2015 when it hit an all-time high, it is still a huge concern, especially for London where chemsex is particularly popular.
The most recent chemsex research suggests that there are 101,600 people currently living in the UK with HIV, with approximately 7,800 of HIV positive individuals being undiagnosed. Undiagnosed HIV positive individuals are less likely to take precautions to prevent the incurable virus from being transmitted.
The London borough with the highest proportion of residents who have been diagnosed with HIV is Lambeth – with just under 15 people per 1,000 living with a confirmed diagnosis of HIV.
The fact that London has the highest figures for chemsex HIV is no coincidence. One of the biggest risks is having unprotected sex with multiple partners. While under the influence of drugs and alcohol, safety comes secondary to desire and impulse.
The Dangers of Chemsex
With chemsex becoming more popular, especially in London, it is important to understand the dangers that having chemsex can carry. Drug-fuelled sex is highly risky for a number of reasons, and not all are related to sexual health.
Having chemsex repeatedly can carry emotional, financial, social and physical negative consequences. The following chemsex documentary filmed by the BBC highlights the risks associated with chemsex and how it can impact on an individual if they become addicted
Dangers and risks associated with chemsex include:
- Making decisions that you may regret or feel ashamed of once sober
- Having unprotected sex leading to increased risk of contracting an STI or STD
- Increased risk of contracting the HIV virus due to having unprotected sex with strangers and multiple partners
- You are at risk of suffering a drug overdose, especially if you are mixing drugs together, injecting intravenously, and/or taking drugs with alcohol
- You may feel that sober sex no longer carries any appeal once you have engaged in chemsex – This can lead to a dual addiction to both risky sex and drugs
- You are more vulnerable to rape, assault and theft while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
- Once addicted you will find it hard to have healthy intimate relationships with others
- It can cause you to become withdrawn, depressed and anxious afterwards.
It is entirely possible to become addicted to chemsex. The more you engage in the activity, the higher the risk you run of developing a full-blown addiction. Chemsex addiction will cause you to become obsessed with arranging drug-fuelled hookups.
Over time you will need more drugs and riskier forms of sex to keep your cravings satisfied. Naturally, this will impact on your sober life which will hold little appeal. Addicts characteristically tend to be full of shame and guilt and find it incredibly difficult to ask for help.
If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to chemsex, it is vital that you seek professional help. What perhaps started as an experimental bit of fun can end up spiralling out of control into a life-threatening condition. Chemsex addiction can cost you your physical health, mental health, emotional wellbeing, your relationships with significant others and impact on your career and social life. It is just as dangerous as any other addiction.
Help For Addiction
Help for chemsex addiction can be accessed privately through drug rehab, behavioural rehab or private chemsex counselling.
Free help and support for chemsex addiction can be sought through your local sexual health clinic, your local drug and alcohol team, your GP and 12 step fellowship meetings such as narcotics anonymous and sex addicts anonymous.
Treatment For Addiction
Chemsex is a dual addiction, both to the drug(s) involved and to the risky sex. For the minority that engages in chemsex, those that do so regularly are in danger of it progressing into an addiction. Addiction is a life-threatening illness that requires professional treatment and intervention.
For the minority that chemsex becomes a problem, there are often underlying issues that need to be professionally resolved so that they can recover. Undergoing private rehab treatment and chemsex counselling can be both life-saving and life-changing.
Rehab Guide specialises in providing private rehab treatment for those that need help with a chemsex addiction. Please call us today for confidential advice as to how we can best help you access the treatment you need. Don’t be alone with chemsex addiction. Get confidential advice today on addiction treatment options from Rehab Guide UK.
Global Drugs Survey
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/2197245/1/report2014a.pdf
Journal of Sexual Medicine
Terrence Higgins Trust