What is Chemsex?
Chemsex is the use of substances before or during sexual intercourse to enhance or facilitate the experience. Enhancement occurs through increased pleasure perception, libido elevation, and increased stamina and longevity. Facilitation through anxiolysis, disinhibition, and reduced pain perception.
Chemsex exists across all gender identities and sexual orientations but is more prevalent in men who have sex with men. Research in gender diverse populations is lacking, but it is likely there is also high prevalence in trans-feminine people.
Chemsex within queer culture has a language of its own allowing for discrete communication and partner finding. Gay-oriented apps like Grindr and Scruff have facilitated increasing Chemsex prevelance in the modern age.
Substances most commonly identified with Chemsex include amyl nitrates (poppers), inhaled amphetamines, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB/GBL), ketamine, sildenafil (Viagra) and less commonly mephedrone and cocaine.
What is Harm Reduction or Safety Optimization?
Harm reduction is a compassionate approach to providing care that is respectful of bodily autonomy and the rights of people who use substances. It is about meeting the person where they are, and working on their personal wellness goals rather than abiding by a rigid and standardized concept of health. Harm reduction is commonly thought of in reference to treatment of opioid use disorder, but can be interpreted broadly as a way to approach any type of clinical care or community health advocacy.
Harm reduction is a research proven, pragmatic approach that grounds decisions in real world effectiveness versus clinical scenario efficacy. At ChemsexHarmReduction.org we discuss harm reduction as it applies to substance use, but it can just as easily be applied to people with multiple comorbidities who are "non-compliant" with therapies due to treatment fatigue. Harm reduction is about empowering the person with all the information so they can make informed decisions about their health, and what medical therapies and services health care providers might be able to offer them.
What is ChemsexHarmReduction.org?
We are a free information resource for health care providers and people who participate in Chemsex to learn effective strategies to make substance use safer and prevent associated long term social and health consequences.
We believe in the rights and autonomy of all people who use substances, especially the right to make informed decisions knowing all the options. We recognize that no two people are alike, and that abstinence-only minded approaches to care are not right for everyone.
Our mission is to empower people of all identities who participate in Chemsex, as well as the health care providers who care for them, with the resources and information needed to achieve their goals whether that be to practice Chemsex safer, cut down on substance use, or achieve total abstinence.
Our educational information for health care providers includes substance-specific harm reduction recommendations, resources, tool kits, and background information. For people who participate in Chemsex we offer substance-specific safer use guides, and a Chemsex First Aid guide.