Chemsex, or sex under the influence of illicit drugs, is not a new concept, but the phenomenon is becoming worryingly common place and reaching increasingly dangerous levels, particularly among the UK’s gay community.
The advent of the smartphone and the rise of hook-up apps, such as Grindr and Tinder, means that it is easier than ever before to arrange casual sex and when coupled with the increasing availability of cheap drugs, such as mephedrone, crystal meth and GHB, the harm can be lifelong.
Sometimes lasting a whole weekend, a typical chemsex party involves a group of men, meeting up, stripping down, snorting, swallowing or “slamming” (injecting) drugs before having group sex.
The euphoria-inducing drugs reduce inhibitions, sometimes to the extent that men can’t differentiate between partners, let alone determine if they are being safe.
There is little research into the practice, but 56 Dean Street, a sexual health clinic in London, estimate that as many as 3,000 gay men, who use drugs during recreational sex come through their doors each month.