M.Sc. Adam Schmidt

What is chemsex?

In a broader sense, it is the use of drugs associated with sex. In today's society, the combination of alcohol and sex is well known to us, it is somehow socially accepted and most of us don't particularly think about it. Alcohol is commonly available, so sex under the influence of alcohol is well accepted by society. Some couples make sex more enjoyable by using cocaine, for example, in this case we're going a little further...

Stimulants also act as "accelerators" of making contact, we lose our inhibitions, we feel more attractive, which under the weight of today's times can often be very important, desirable and often welcome. Simply put, it can be a shortcut to easily establish sexual contact, without shyness, without inhibitions.

In a narrower sense, chemsex is specific in that it is closely linked to the gay community, it is associated with risky sexual practices, a large number of sexual partners, group sex and its increased frequency, and especially the use of a mix of illegal, addictive substances. There are also definitions that speak of chemsex as sex between men under the influence of addictive substances. (Bourne et al., 2014).

Chemsex as a phenomenon is not new, but it has been on the rise in recent years. Specific subcultures are emerging where sex is becoming the same as chemsex. Dating apps like Grindr play a significant role in the development of chemsex. The motivation for chemsex has several layers, on the surface lies the desire for better, longer, more intense sex, deeper is the need to establish contacts with other people, and even deeper is the desire to avoid unpleasant emotions. Due to the intoxication of the participants and the specific atmosphere, chemsex is associated with risky sexual behavior, such as unprotected sex (inconsistent use of condoms or barebacking), harsher sexual practices, crossing boundaries (rape). The basic addictive substances used during chemsex are stimulants and gamma-hydroxybutyrate. Chemsex requires specific practice in the field of harm reduction. Chemsex is a complex phenomenon that also requires the services to go beyond the established framework, for example linking addiction and sexological services, working with both "chems" and sex." ( https://www.aplp.cz/chemsex-jako-sexualizovane-uzivani-navykovych-latek/ ).

Some experts consider sex to be a part of gay culture, so much so that we can talk about their hypersexualization (that is, there is increased sexual activity based on an increased sexual drive). At the Chem sex forum in Berlin, it was emphasized that sex is the main motivation for drug use.

“Chemsex is (especially at first) experienced as overwhelming, exciting, liberating, longer (meth delays orgasm, while erection is maintained with erectile dysfunction drugs), orgasm as more intense (Knoops et. al., 2015). However, many users cannot achieve orgasm under the influence of meth and have difficulties with erection. An overwhelming desire for sex that persists long after physical exhaustion is important (Fawcett, 2016, p. 12). Chemsex enables pushing one's own boundaries, sexual exploration, new and previously unimagined experiences. Users describe the difference between sex and chemsex as the difference between black and white and color television.” ( https://www.aplp.cz/chemsex-jako-sexualizovane-uzivani navykovych-latek/ )

Chemsex poses a whole host of risks. Unprotected sex is common in this case. Atmosphere, fatigue. Intoxication, all these factors lead to carelessness, but mainly to the inability to follow the rules of safe sex. Of course, unprotected sex can also be a conscious decision. In this case, there is a great risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV or the dangerous type of hepatitis C.

What substances are we talking about in connection with chemsex?

PERVITIN is among the substances used in chem sex. It belongs to psychostimulants, so-called "uppers". The most frequent illegal addictive substance in the Czech Republic. GBL (gammabutyrolactone) and GHB (gammahydroxybutyrate), also known as liquid ecstasy (although it has nothing to do with MDMA at all), Gina, G are depressant substances (so-called downers), their sedative and euphoric effect is similar to the effect of alcohol. In higher doses, it acts as an anesthetic and therefore fulfills its purpose especially during hard sexual practices. MEPHEDRON is a stimulant substance, chemically similar to amphetamines, it belongs to the synthetic cathinones. KETAMINE is a dissociative anesthetic, sometimes called a "horse sleeping pill". Poppers, Alcohol, MDMA are also used

So far, very little is known about chemsex in addiction. Clients often lack greater reflection on the questions of why they actually use NL. They reflect that they need to talk about sex and intimacy more than about addictive substances. Most active chemsex users do not see themselves as typical drug addicts, mainly because they have long perceived their use as controlled. There is still a lack of quality research in this area.

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