Chemsex – When Drug Abuse & Sex Addiction Collide

Combining Risky Behaviors

Chemsex has become more prominent throughout the UK and US with the evolution of Grindr and other dating/hook-up apps. The allure to “PNP” (party and play) is the use of drugs as sexual disinhibitors to endure several partners over multiple days. Chemsex drugs of choiceA recent study performed at St George’s University Hospital in May of 2018 showed the most commonly used drugs during chemsex are; mephedrone (69%), GHB-gamma hydroxybutyrate & GBL-gamma butyrolactone (53%), ketamine (8%), methamphetamine (44%), cocaine (19%) and other amphetamines (13%). These figures were provided by nearly 300 men who were at the time, active in chemsex. 26% of these men reported intravenous use of drugs. Men are often found describing this type of drug use as “slamming“. Slamming is a behavior that represents men who are involved with sharing needles to inject themselves and multiple sexual partners. These drug-fueled orgyies average between 5-10 men who are participating in unsafe sex and abusing substances. These parties, also known as “slamsex”, last a few days, typically over a weekend.

Slamming Associated With HIV & STD Increase

In November of 2017 we addressed the rising issue of Hooking Up on Dating Apps and Risk of STDs. These issues are now becoming even more widespread as new studies are showing a direct increase in men testing positive for STDs, HIV and Hepatitis C who participate in chemsex and slamming. According to David Stuart, a drug counselor who specializes in sexual health for Antidote, a UK drug and alcohol support service; an issue is that within the chemsex hook-up community is the glamorization of slamming (quote source).

Quote by david stuart of antidote

Chemsex Can Lead To Addiction

Though understanding and awareness of chemsex has become more discussed, bi and gay men who participate in chemsex can find themselves trapped in addiction for years. Detailed by two men (see quotes below) with positive outcomes reacting to a recent documentary created by Peccadillo Pictures to tell the stories of men who were tangled in the vicious web of lust, substance abuse, and compulsivity.

Chemsex was a part of my life ever since I started my first job working in a gay bar at the age of 21 in 1978…Every conceivable illegal compound was readily available to me working in the club industry for over 3 decades and I did not hold back…Times were good, the music was better, drugs were pure and the sex was endless…I also hit rock bottom, a few times, pulled myself up by my bootstraps, all on my own. At 60 years, I am not only grateful I survived it all but also more than a little surprised. Yeah, now days I am chem-free and beer is boring by comparison but man do I have lots of stories to tell.

After a 4-year “chemsex” addiction I feel I am one of those who got out alive. My rock bottom was the 3rd time I slammed. I am looking forward to watching this. Hope it is accurate, unlike so many drug documentaries.

PS: clean for 12 years!!!!! 🙂

Stories Of Men Who Struggled With Chemsex Addiction For Years

Not all men are able to share such positive outcomes as above and many men who dove into chemsex are now infected with the HIV virus. This dangerous lifestyle can have gay men feeling accepted and part of a culture, only to later feel isolated and alone struggling with chemical dependency.

These highs and lows are detailed by Nicholas Gurreri (read his story here) who dealt with chemsex addiction for over 15 years and contracted HIV+ during that time. Now sober, Nic looks back on that time which portrays an exciting, fun life of clubbing and partying which quickly led to theft, deceit, blackmail, and addiction by getting involved with the wrong men.

Liam McClelland, now 30 years old, reflects on how ‘Slamming turned chemsex ‘into a destructive journey to HIV’ (read his story here), in a raw and unfiltered interview. Liam describes an era in which the UK government was promoting Section 28. Enacted in 1988 the law was aimed to discourage homosexuality. Details of Section 28 reads as local authority, “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” (wikipedia). This led to bullying and harassment from peers.

Instead of finding understanding and help from teachers and superiors, Liam was directed to find counseling for his homosexuality. Gay men commonly share this experience of unacceptance and Liam frequently heard a similar description from others throughout his time addicted to chemsex. This shun led many down the path of internet dating and hook-up sites where they aimed to find acceptance and commonality. Liam was searching for other young men his age to help him understand his sexuality. Instead, Liam quickly found himself being paid for sex by older men who were abusing their power by feeding him drugs and alcohol to extend his limits and remove his inhibitions. A few years later Liam’s journey of destruction through chemsex eventually led to a HIV diagnosis before the age of 30.

Finding A Path Away From Chemsex Addiction

Prescott House and our staff of licensed therapists specialize in substance abuse issues, trauma resolution, along with sex, love, and relationship addiction recovery. We have had tremendous success and positive outcomes helping men restore their lives to once again be healthy and productive. If at any time you need to talk about the struggles you are dealing with please call (866) 425-4673 to speak with Tim or Zach or fill out a Contact Us form.

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