Sex on drugs
Having sex while you’re on drugs can add al kinds of new dimensions to your sexual experience. People say they use drugs for sex to make the sex more intense, to make it last longer or to get out of their heads and into the mood. Of course sex on drugs can also have unintended negative consequences. Besides the risks of using drugs on their own there are some extra thing to keep in mind when you combine drugs and sex.
Sex on drugs in general
Drugs are illegal and unregulated, so you never know exactly what you are taking, no matter what your dealer tells you. Sometimes drugs are cut with other dangerous substances, or they can be dangerously pure and potent. Sometimes your drugs contain something else entirely than what you thought. So have your drugs checked before you use them.
Before you take any drug, think about the specific reasons why you want to have sex on this drug. What do you hope to get out of this experience? Talk to your sexpartner(s) about the drugs you are planning to take and help each other to stick to your plans. Check in afterwards with yourself and each other and ask the question: did you get the experience you were hoping for?
While you’re still sober, think to yourself and talk to each other about what you want and don’t want to do when it comes to sex. Consent while on drugs – recognising and communicating your boundaries and those of your partner(s) – can get very tricky. Boundaries get fuzzy and you agree more easily to things you wouldn’t do while sober (which is usually the point). It becomes tempting to push your limits, which you may end up regretting, or you can end up in situations where you feel uncomfortable, unsafe and/or unable to communicate your needs. Try to prevent this by talking and planning together while sober, and checking in with each other afterwards.
If you have sex on drugs regularly, sex without drugs can get less appealing. It starts to take more effort to get into the mood, and it may feel less (or at least differently) satisfying. If you notice that you’re losing interest in sex without drugs, it’s a good time to reach out and talk to someone about your use of drugs and sex and how you might want to change your habits.
Sex on uppers (MDMA, speed, coke, Tina etc)
Uppers (stimulants) give you a sense of energy, keep you awake and increase your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and muscle tonus. You get less sensitive to pain or discomfort. This means sex on uppers can last for a long time and get (unintentionally) rough. Remember to take breaks, chill out and cool down during a long session. If you’re wearing leather, latex or rubber, remember that these fabrics trap heat and may cause you to get too warm.
Uppers also give you a dry mouth, so spit as lube won’t cut it. Use plenty of water or silicone based lube instead. Be careful with drinking too much water though, especially with MDMA/ecstasy, because you run the risk of water poisoning. One glas per hour is enough.
Be mindful when dosing and redosing uppers; taking too much increases acute health risks, but may also keep you awake for much longer than you intended. Lack of sleep can severely impact your mood and wellbeing the following days.
Lastly during sex on uppers it is more difficult to orgasm and switch from a state of arrouasal to a state of satiation and relaxation. Usually this period after orgasming the body floods with oxytocin and your mood turns mellow and you feel connected and cuddly (or just sleepy). Uppers keep you in this prolonged state of arousal, where even if you manage to come, you keep going. This can be great – longer lasting sex can is one of the main reasons people use drugs in a sexual setting – but it can also lead to this frustrating lack of gratification, which leaves you feeling raw and unfulfilled once the drugs wear off. If you decrease your dose, you’re less likely to experience this.
Sex on downers (GHB, ketamine, cannabis, alcohol and benzodiazpines)
Downers (sedatives) make you feel relaxed and lower your inhibitions. You get more suggestible; you agree more easily to the suggestions of others. It also becomes more difficult to feel pain and easier to dissociate from discomfort. This means you may not notice pain in your body until after the drugs wear off, or end up in situations that you regret when sober again. Some downers like GHB are difficult to dose properly and extremely dangerous to overdose on. Taking too much GHB can lead to loss of consciousness, coma and even death. It is important that you read up on proper dosage and use a milliliter syringe to dose.
Sex on trippers (Magic mushrooms, LSD, 2C-B, ketamine, cannabis)
Trippers (hallucinogens) change the way you perceive and interpret the world around you. You become more sensitive to all kinds of input; vision, sound, touch, the sense of your own body; all become more intense and strange. Goal oriented behaviour (and orgasm oriented sex) become more difficult. You can also become more easily confused or frightened when you do not feel safe with the people you’re with or the setting you’re in.
Remember that on trippers you are psychologically more vulnerable so take them only with people and in settings that you trust and who can take care of you if you start feeling unwell. It is always a good idea to have a sober person around or on call to help you through a difficult experience.
Chemsex – a.k.a. Party and Play or PnP – is a specific kind of sex on drugs. Often it means sexparties with multiple men arranged at someone’s home through familiar connections or hookup apps. These parties can last up to a few days and nights. To endure this kind of long intense sessions, uppers such as MDMA, cocaine and now increasingly Crystal Meth (Tina) and Mephedrone (Meow meow / 4-MMC) are used to increase energy and libido and stay awake and horny for a long time. This is sometimes combined with a downer such as GHB/GBL, ketamine or cannabis to take the edge off and to be able to relax despite having taken uppers. Poppers (amyl nitrates) and erection pills (viagra/kamagra) are sometimes used too, to promote sphincter relaxation and to stay more erect for a longer time.
Using condoms is not standard practice during chemsex, which increases the chances of getting an STI or HIV. Proper use of PrEP can protect you from contracting HIV, though condoms are still the best way to prevent other STIs. With more extreme sex acts such as fisting and sharing toys chances of blood contact between sex partners increase, which means more chance of getting Hepatitis C. For more info on how to reduce the spread of HepC check out NoMoreC.
Chemsex is a practice that is difficult to participate in in a safe and controlled manner, especially if you indulge in chemsex regularly. Still there are things you can do to reduce the risk of harm to yourself and others by following these tips:
- Don’t take more than one drug during one session, even though combining drugs is common practice. It simply becomes more and more risky and less predictable how your body will react if you combine drugs. If you feel like you need to “balance out” the effect of one drug (like Tina) with another drug (like GHB), try taking less of the first drug in the first place instead of “counteracting” it with another. These drugs work on different parts of the brain and don’t actually cancel each other out, it just feels that way. In the meantime you’re increasing the chances of adverse reactions and interactions between the drugs.
- Eat and sleep well the days before a session and schedule in time afterwards to recover. Don’t go on for too long; missing a night of sleep – and especially multiple nights of sleep – severely impacts your mood, health and sense of wellbeing in the following days. The hangover will be hard enough as it is.
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated, but don’t go overboard, especially if you’re on MDMA/ecstasy. One glass per hour is enough.
- Uppers increase your body temp so take time regularly to actively cool down; strip off heat trapping gear such as rubber, latex or leather, get some fresh air, have a cold shower.
- Keep track of the drugs everyone is taking, especially GHB. Note the time and dose so you don’t accidentally double up and overdose.
- Think carefully about the way you take your drugs. Choose to swallow or snort rather than to smoke or to slam (inject) your drugs. Slamming drugs is particularly high risk. Make sure everyone uses their own snorting tubes and syringes: sharing means having blood contact.
- Use lots of lube to reduce friction damage and bruising. Use PrEP to prevent getting HIV. Use condoms to prevent getting other STIs, even if it is not common practice at the party (bring your own).
- Get tested regularly for STIs and HIV
- Don’t participate in chemsex too often and keep having sex without drugs in between, to prevent dependency on drugs to have sex and addiction to chems.
- BEWARE: one of the risks of taking drugs and not sleeping for multiple days – especially when using strong uppers such as Tina – is a drug-induced psychosis. If you find yourself feeling very anxious, strung out and paranoid during or after a chemsex session it is important to seek professional help.
Short clip on chemsex and possible help: