Changing sexual and drug taking trends in the London gay scene have seen an increased emergence of 'Chemsex' - otherwise known as 'Party and Play' or 'Chillouts'. It refers specifically to extended periods of time where men have sex that occurs under the influence of drugs taken immediately preceding and/or during the sexual session. The drugs most commonly associated with chemsex are crystal meth, GHB/GBL, mephedrone and, to a lesser extent, cocaine and ketamine.
If you are engaging in chemsex, use the tips below to help you to stay in control and minimise risk:
- Don’t overdo it! Overdosing is easy to do, research the drugs and dosages beforehand. Keep track of what, when and how much you’re taking. Make sure the limits are your limits- different people have different tolerances to substances. Keeping a timing dairy is the easiest way to keep track of when you last had a dose. Do this on paper; if your phone dies, you could lose try track if you don’t have a charger.
- Are you in the right headspace? Different chems can affect different people in different ways? If they make you feel upset or angry, it might not be safe for you to get high. If you are struggling to manage this, check out the services below.
- Set sober boundaries. Losing inhibitions is a common effect of taking chems, but you might not be ok with the sex you had the next day. Agree what kind of play you want and stick to people’s boundaries as well as your own.
- Do you have what you need? Make sure you take enough condoms and lube, if you are slamming- make sure you have clean injecting equipment and enough to last for the session. If you run out of clean equipment, don’t share as this could increase the risks of infections. If you feel like you are having issues with slamming addiction- check out the services below.
- If you are HIV positive or have any other condition that requires adherence to medications, make sure you have enough meds to cover you- especially if it turns into a long session.
- Who’s around? Are you playing with people in the same mind set as you? Wanting similar play makes it easier to stick to each other’s boundaries. It is OK to change your mind about sex- you are not obligated!
- Are you OK? Are they OK? Keep an eye on the guys you’re playing with. If you’re at a chemsex party with your mates, agree to check in with them throughout the session.
Whilst drugs and alcohol may be fun and manageable for some people, others may find it dominating their social life or leading to chaotic sexual encounters, isolation, unmanageable comedowns, wasting money, missing work or upsetting family or partners.
Below are some services which specialise in helping gay and bi-sexual men who may be experiencing issues with drugs and or alcohol. The support varies depending on need and can range from simply wanting to cut down on drinking to addressing a full drug dependency.
ANTIDOTE - Support in central London for LGTB people
Antidote offers information and support exclusively to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT) people around drugs and alcohol. Whether you want to cut down or stop using or drinking, or want information about keeping safe Antidote can help. They run a range of regular sessions that you can simply attend for help and support, For more information refer to their website at:
LIFELINE – Support in Woolwich
Support with a wide range of substance misuse issues, such as cannabis, stimulants, legal highs, khat and non-dependent alcohol use. For more information:
By completing the below referral form, you give consent for METRO Charity to pass your information to the provider, LifeLine BaSIS, to enable them to contact you.