Friday, 10 July 2015

Dazed: Chemsex

“I’ve been politely asked to quieten down and get on with it – which I can fully appreciate – since I was probably sharing my thoughts on animal cruelty while simultaneously attempting to give someone a blowjob” explains James, a 23 year old actor from London. He is describing his experience of chillouts, an emerging subculture featuring drugs and group sex amongst urban gay and bisexual men, principally in London but, increasingly, across other cities in the UK.

Gay chillouts are often an event in and of themselves (rather than an after-party) and they aren’t for smoking weed and comedowns: the purpose is to get high. As James’ anecdote encapsulates, it’s a strange confusion of the social and sexual – where drugs can allow groups of strangers to be both gregarious and gratified without some of the awkwardness such anonymity might produce. The other slang term used for this, now adopted by clinicians and health workers is "chemsex"...


From a thoughtful, non-hysterical and largely non-judgmental article on Dazed online by Sean Faye, which looks at the chemsex scene as much a social as a sexual activity. A rare break form the usual 'They're fucking themselves to death!' narrative on this. Though he appears to conclude we should be starting knitting circles or something.

PS This study by Sigma Research has just been published by the BMJ. The Dazed article only mentions some rather partisan 'staistics'.

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