25th September 2018,

What is Chemsex?

While chemsex continues to grow in popularity among gay and MSM (men who have sex with men) communities, many are still in the dark not knowing what it is, the dangers that come with it or how to get help when the party’s over.

Also known as Party and Play, chemsex is defined as using drugs to enhance sex. While combining the two is nothing new, the drugs being used today are creating a growing phenomenon that is particularly rampant in the gay and MSM community. Many in these communities have experienced shame, repression or suppression around their sexual desires and find a welcome freedom in the intoxicating effect and reduced inhibitions these new drugs can produce.

The three drugs primarily involved with Chemsex include crystal meth (aka ice), mephedrone and GHB/GBL. These drugs are used on their own or in combination with one another by snorting, swallowing or injecting intravenously, called ‘slamming’. The rush of these drugs can make one feel instantly attractive, sexually engaged and connected to everyone. The high they produce is incredibly stimulating, disinhibiting and supercharges the libido to enhance and amplify sexual encounters at parties or chill-outs that can last for days. Grindr or other social media ‘hook-up’ apps make it easy to connect with partners, parties or with dealers to supply more drugs.

However, as with any drug use, feeling good can quickly turn into a dark and downward spiral that can ultimately destroy a user’s finances, relationships, sense of self and well-being. Resort 12 offers a programme guided by therapists with specific experience in treating chemsex. If you or a loved one is suffering and need understanding and support to break free, please make contact with Resort 12 today.

The Drugs of Chemsex

Each of the three main drugs commonly used in chemsex can produce immediate and dangerous side effects; when used over time, the dangers become magnified.

Crystal meth

is a strong and highly addictive amphetamine that affects the central nervous system. It produces an intense high that lasts for hours. Effects from abuse can include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis

Mephedrone

is a powerful psychoactive stimulant that produces feelings of euphoria, alertness and feelings of affection towards the people around the user. Even occasional use can result in:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cognitive damage
  • Impotence

GHB/GBL

is a depressant that can increase tranquillity and reduce inhibitions. It is particularly dangerous because only a very small amount is needed to produce a high. This greatly increases the likelihood of overdosing, falling into a potentially fatal coma, called a G-sleep, or death. GHB/GBL can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

The Dangers of Chemsex

The practise of chemsex creates a perfect storm for addictive behaviour. The most obvious risk is becoming physically dependent on one or more of the drugs. These drugs are highly-addictive in nature and cause lasting harm to the body and brain. In addition, the compulsive engagement in sexual activity may easily produce a sex addiction while the obsessive checking of one’s phone for hook-ups and responses may further result in a digital dependency or addiction. These are very real and complicated disorders that require treatment and an individual’s commitment to overcome. But perhaps the most devastating danger is one that affects the health of the community as a whole. According to recently published data, gay and bisexual men who engaged in chemsex were:

  • 5 times more likely to be newly diagnosed with HIV
  • 9 times more likely to be diagnosed with hepatitis C
  • 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). (It should be noted that sex for long periods creates penile abrasions, cuts and tears through which infections can more easily enter the body.)

When one is sober it’s much easier to practice safe sex and take care of personal responsibilities such as taking prescri<>bed medications or setting firm boundaries. However, when high, especially over a number of days, these practices are often ignored or forgotten. Medications are missed, condoms are thought to be a nuisance and needles are freely shared. While high, personal boundaries may also be crossed resulting in physical harm, feelings of violation, self-loathing and/or trauma.

How do you know if the party is over for you? If you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms as a result of chemsex, it may be time to seek professional help.

Symptoms of Chemsex Abuse

  • Missed work or other responsibilities
  • Unable to stop or cut down
  • Contracting a sexually transmitted infection
  • Injecting drugs
  • Experiencing an overdose
  • Depression
  • Drug-induced psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts

Resort 12 Offers Effective Chemsex Treatment

Resort 12 staff professionals are LGBT+ people and provide a safe and non-judgmental environment to help you in your recovery. We guarantee a culture of understanding, respect and support. Resort 12 is part of the world-renowned Cabin Addiction Services Group and offers their unique therapeutic Recovery Zones model and proven addiction recovery techniques.

Our tranquil, comfortable and relaxing facility is located in beautiful northern Thailand; known for its strong history of tolerance of people with ‘alternative’ sexualities. We take a progressive, sex-positive approach to recovery. We understand that long periods of abstention from sex are not realistic or helpful for many clients, and our focus is on disentangling the psychological triggers that lead to destructive practices through holistic, individualised treatment methods.

Our experts will empower you or a loved one to reclaim your natural sexualities and physical equilibriums in ways that sustain you and bring genuine, healthful pleasure. Make contact and start healing today.

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