6th February 2019, Gae Sawitri

How Chemsex addiction is killing the UK gay community

A strong and dangerous problem known as Chemsex addiction is rife amongst the UK gay community and is resulting in hundreds of deaths every year and thousands of destroyed lives.

The party and play culture which sounds innocent enough is in fact weekend long drug fuelled sex parties indulged in by the male homosexual community for sex with multiple other partners, all high on a cocktail of Crystal Meth, GBL and GHB otherwise known as Chemsex drugs.

For some, it can begin by meeting a guy on a dating application and one man portrayed his experience as ‘dreamlike’, that an attractive person he met on a dating site welcomed him over to his place for sex. Drugs are immediately handed out and invited as a relaxation tool, when the dopamine begins to hit, first timers are quickly intoxicated with the high that follows. Chemsex drugs are known to provide up to 100 times more dopamine than normal sex.

Things being what they are, what drives young gay men to search for this sort of satisfaction instead of a meaningful relationship?

Amid the beginning of homosexuality, perplexity is normal and numerous men are not by any means 100% beyond doubt over their sexuality or may not have ‘come out’ to colleagues or family. This can lead them to search for ‘mystery meet ups’ with other gay men and live a practically double life far from those closest to them.

What is Chemsex addiction and why is it a problem?

Chemsex addiction isn’t just taking recreational drugs to increase confidence on a date, although it can start this way. It isn’t even still being high after a one night stand and looking for more stimulation.

It is deliberate hard core drug use to facilitate multiple sex sessions with other males over multiple days with either no or very little sleep.

What may start as just a way of increasing confidence to meet other men can quickly become out of control.

These sex parties are usually not just between two people wanting a ‘one night stand’ they are mostly group ‘orgies’ which last for whole weekends or multiple days and often involve huge amounts of alcohol and other recreational drugs.

Chemsex is not just for the naive and uninformed, during 2018 a former police officer was interviewed about the death of his partner after overdosing at a Chemsex party. He has called for a government funded publicity program to raise awareness about the dangers of Chemsex.

You may ask how can well educated individuals such as police officers and lawyers find themselves mixed up in the Chemsex community? It’s about fun, thrill seeking and pleasure, no one ever starts out with the intention of getting addicted. Many Chemsex participants won’t get addicted or ‘party and play’ so much that it affects their daily life, however the risk is still very real.

When addiction does set in, the more influential this person is in society, the less chance there is of them willingly seeking assistance with their issues.

Is Chemsex addiction driven by loneliness?

When Chemsex was first discovered by Sexual Health Services in the UK in 2011 there was widespread concern about links to the increase in HIV cases. Some experts even claimed that Chemsex parties could lead to a public health crisis.

There has been heavy media coverage especially surrounding celebrity involvement in the colloquially named pastime of ‘party and play’.

It has also been suggested that Chemsex could be encouraged by loneliness, however trends have seen a shift from gay men taking drugs on the London club scene of Lambeth, Vauxhall and other similar locatites to parties held at private homes. Chemsex may have been around much longer than we know and has just changed location and increased in intensity.

Other experts have played down the seriousness of Chemsex and suggest that gay men are indulging in drug induced sex purely because it feels nice. The effect of these club drugs including crystal meth, GBL and GHB is very fast and quickly makes gay men feel very attractive, sexual and engaged and some users describe the connection between them and the other participants as like nothing else they have ever experienced,

Who is at risk of Chemsex addiction?

London is known as the gay capital of the UK and homosexual males from all over the country head there to check out the gay scene and find another guy to hook up with. You only have to check out apps such as Grindr to see an overwhelm of gay guys looking for a chem hook up no matter what time or day of the week.

An overwhelming number of the Chemsex community are HIV positive or have different illnesses, for example, Hepatitis C. These ailments frequently make them reluctant to enter  close relationships and go searching for a way to escape reality.

Young guys who are stressed over the shame of their homosexuality might be attracted to these occasions as they can ‘fly under the radar’ and not be found on the more obvious gay scene.

Younger gay men may likewise be more in danger of becoming dependent on Chemsex as more established Party and Players will be quick to want sex with them and may even bait them back with free drugs if funds turn out to be to be an issue on the younger guys part.

Chemsex drugs can deliver up to 100 times the amount of dopamine levels that normal sex can, so it is little wonder that men can become addicted quickly and then sex without drugs becomes impossible.

Not everyone suffers negative effects immediately and those who start to struggle more quickly may feel a double sense of failure. They feel that they have already let down their family just by being homosexual and now they are not able to enjoy the social life that so many of the gay community appear to be enjoying without issues.

Drug fuelled sex naturally prompts unprotected sex expanding the danger of STD’s. Again the disgrace of Chemsex implies that men who are influenced are less inclined to look for help and bound to pass on these infections to others again and again.

One British addict claims to have had tens of thousands of sexual partners before coming to terms with his addiction and seeking help at a rehab centre. “The reality of accepting your behaviour when you are not on the drugs is enough to send you straight back out for another hit just to escape from the thoughts of what you have done”, he explained.

How long does it take for Chemsex addiction to develop?

The short answer is ‘not long’, once men become used to having sex in this way it becomes very difficult to form any kind of normal relationship and a long relationship with the Chemsex community itself is created.

Once a user starts to attend parties on a regular basis and puts his family, social or corporate life on hold to attend Chemsex parties then he is officially on the slippery slope to addiction.

Not long after starting regular use of Chemsex drugs, the user will find himself suffering physical withdrawal symptoms and needing to use more and more to combat these symptoms. This is when the body is starting to become physically dependant on the drug.

Addicts often find that they lose interest in sex and maybe even their physical performance is affected after rehab. Some even confess to only being able to have platonic relationships as the effects of the Chemsex are so deeply ingrained in their system.

Understanding the signs of Chemsex addiction

If you have a gay male friend or family member who you suspect may be participating in Chemsex or Party and Play, be sure to watch out for these signs

  • Staying away from home for 2 – 3 days frequently without explanation
  • Distant and anxious with frequent mood changes
  • Lack of apparent social life and personal relationships but often away from home
  • Unexplained financial problems

Chemsex and rape – the shocking truth

The issue of consent is an often unspoken problem on the Chemsex scene, how can anyone really claim to have denied consent at a drug fuelled orgy?

Of course, this is different than the all too common problem of spiked drinks at a club or even the assumption of consent when you didn’t really say no?

What is ‘fair game’ and what is not within the Chemsex community can often be unclear and there appears to be an unwritten rule that attending a party and play event means that you are readily available for sex with any of the other participants.

No matter what the situation is, you always retain the right to say “no” and not to be taken advantage of. Many victims of Chemsex rape report going home with one guy only for him to invite all of his friends to join in the party after enough drugs had been taken. Others claim to have been convinced not to go to police after a drug rape with comments like “you’re off your face, the police won’t believe you, you can stay high for days after taking this drug”.

What help is available in the UK for Chemsex addiction?

There are a number of recovery options for Chemsex addicts in the UK. Number one is the Samaritans, although not a drug rehab itself it is an anonymous service allowing sufferers to speak with a counsellor in confidence and talk about their problems.

There is also After Party Outreach Service which helps individuals to come to terms with the effects of Chemsex addiction and seek the help they need.

Other government supported and private rehabs can also offer treatment, however the best way to address the issues facing LGBTQ addicts is to use LGBTQ counsellors in a dedicated non judgemental environment.

This is the reason why many British Chemsex addicts are choosing Resort 12 in Thailand for residential rehab to recover from their addiction.

As the only specialist LGBTQ rehab outside the USA, Resort 12 offers a reassuring welcome to those looking to escape the curse of Chemsex addiction and a tranquil, calm environment away from their triggers with a team of qualified professionals who understand exactly what they are going through.

For more information regarding treatment for Chemsex addiction please contact our team for an informal assessment.

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