We need to talk about chemsex (must we?)

We need to talk about chemsex (must we?). By Michelle Lhooq.

So much shame and secrecy is still attached to chemsex — a term that refers to using substances such as methamphetamine, GHB/GBL, and newer synthetic drugs such as 3-MMC while engaging in casual and often group sex.

To evade public scrutiny, the act is often facilitated online using coded language (“Party and Play,” “PnP,” “Tina”) or even specific emojis (diamond, rocketship). Rarely is this subject discussed beyond hookup apps — and even less so outside the gay male scenes where the term originates from. …

A field of academic study sometimes called critical chemsex studies has recently emerged that aims to centre the practice instead within the realms of pleasure, intimacy and identity. One seminal text in this growing field is Pleasure Consuming Drugs by the writer Kane Race, which tackles the question of how drugs have come to mediate sex in the gay discourse. …

It is still so rare to enter a thought space where sobriety is discussed as more of a spectrum, where the ambiguous zones of druggie disinhibition can be untangled by people from all over the drug-sober continuum. It felt like the future.

The conversation that night brought to light intersectional commonalities in the reasons why people of all stripes engage with chemsex — most commonly, it seems, to dissolve the culturally-conditioned sexual anxieties that can be so tricky to shake off while sober. Gay men and straight women alike spoke of letting go of body dysmorphia and shame while in the disinhibited state of chemically-enhanced euphoria, of exploring desires that the cultures of toxic masculinity and transmisogyny have impinged their abilities to see.

“It is possible to look at the shadow without the shadow taking over,” said Mikiki, speaking on how the history that people carry often shapes their sexual inclinations. “Of course my desires are related to my trauma, but am I not allowed to explore that?” …

Like a growing number of academics in the field, I believe this framework should include a wider population — because as the discussion in New York suggested, many other social groups already engage in these practices for similar reasons as gay or bisexual men, yet are under-represented in current research.

Muslim grooming gangs, pimps, etc. made their girls take drugs. With addictions, free will can quickly become chemical slavery, and there are always people prepared to exploit it.

More fall of Rome stuff.

hat-tip Stephen Neil