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About chemsex


Publication1As far back as 1999, New York Magazine's article 'Nightlife ‘99: Clear And Present Danger'  said “GHB first became a fixture at raves and gay “circuit parties” in the early nineties. The FDA declared the drug unsafe and illegal to market in 1990, and several states have banned it because of its use as a date-rape drug.”

Before the word chemsex was coined, 'slamming', PnP, 'parTy', 'HnH', and 'chem friendly' were/ are shorthand for gay men using a new generation of drugs, the slang appearing on hook-up apps Inc. Grindr, Recon, Bareback Real Time (BBRT), Gaydar, and Scruff. Chemsex, as it would eventually be called, is not the same as popping a pill, snorting a line, or smoking a joint. Instead, it's a specific form of recreational drug use.

What is chemsex

Chemsex is the intentional use of any combination of the following drugs to help facilitate, enable or enhance sex:

  • Methamphetamine (crystal/ crystal meth/ Tina/ meth)
  • Mephedrone (meph/ drone)
  • GHB/GBL (G/ Gina)

Arranging chemsex through hookup apps is the norm for gay men, Grindr and Scruff, for example. Chats will often say whether someone uses these drugs for sex, actively looking for someone who does, and include a range of so-called ‘secret’ emojis for easy reference.

The heightened sexual focus enables more extreme sex, for longer, with more partners and with less concern for STIs, including HIV and HCV. Sex can last for several days with little need for sleep or food. Other drugs may be involved. 

Like people everywhere, gay men have been taking drugs for years, and it wasn't so long ago some of us were dropping 'E's. Today it's 'chemsex' and professionals are over it like a rash with opinions, forebodings, perspectives, predictions, and research. Some argue the word chemsex does what it says on the tin (sex on/with chemicals)  while others say it's yet another unhelpful label ascribed to gay men.It wasn't so long ago gay men were under a similar microscope during the HIV and AIDS epidemic. What do you think? What is new, however, is that if and when guys 'crash and burn' using these drugs, the consequences are more damaging, more lasting, and require more complex and comprehensive intervention, recovery, and support.


Slamming | LGBT Hero 
Slamming | Friday/Monday | THT
Party and play | Wikipedia
European Chemsex Forum | European Chemsex Forum

Words and phrases you may have heard

Unfortunately, these and other terms are often lumped together which is not necessarily helpful in understanding what is happening and why.

  • Slamming - another word for injecting and the practice of dissolving crystal meth or mephedrone in water before injecting it into yourself or someone else
  • Chems - drugs, typically crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB/ GBL (also known as "G")
  • PnP - shorthand for 'Party and Play' used to arrange 'sex and drugs' hook-ups online where there will be drugs, or you may be expected to bring some
  • parTy - using drugs with an emphasis on Tina aka crystal meth (smoked or injected)
  • HnH - high and horny
  • Chem friendly - any combination of Methamphetamine (crystal/ crystal meth/ Tina/ meth), Mephedrone (meph/ drone) or GHB/ GBL (G, Gina), though other drugs may be used.
  • Tweaker - 'tweaking' means making minute adjustments to something, like using a small screwdriver to repair a radio. Doing this can include a turn to the left, the right, back again, left again ... so it's not a stretch that it's also slang for someone exhibiting repetitive, sometimes compulsive, behaviour. And so not a stretch again that it's used to describe a highly-strung easily distracted individual into chemsex which can also relate to making minute adjustments to a drug dose to get the desired high. Anyway, that's our explanation. Let us know if you have a better one?

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