What is ChemSex

Chemsex involves using drugs to enhance sex. Usually people do it to change the physical sensations they have during sex (increasing pleasure and their ability to have sex for longer), or to change their psychological experiences (increasing their confidence or removing inhibitions). Chemsex can last for many hours at a time and often with multiple sexual partners (for example at parties) but can also just involve a couple or lone masturbation. It is most common among gay men, but straight people often use drugs and alcohol to enhance sex too and there can be sexual health (and other) risks for them as well.

What Drugs are Used with ChemSex

The three most popular drugs used during chemsex are:
1. gammahydroxybutyrate/gammabutyrolactone (also known as GHB/GBL, G or Gina)
2. mephedrone (meph or meow)
3. crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth)
These drugs are taken on their own or together with alcohol or other drugs (such as cocaine or ecstasy).

What are the Risks?

Chemsex drugs change how you feel and behave. When you mix them with sex you increase your risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The drugs used in chemsex also have other health risks. It is easy to take too much GHB. This can cause you to ‘pass out’, leaving you more vulnerable to sexual assault. There have even been cases of deaths resulting from interactions between ritonavir and crystal meth.

Chemsex drugs change how you feel, sometimes in unwanted ways. They can make you confused, paranoid or frightened and in some cases you can lose touch with reality and have very convincing hallucinations.

It is also common for people to have a ‘comedown’ after a chemsex session where they feel depressed or low.