Chemsex is a term used to describe sex between men that occurs under the influence of drugs taken immediately before and / or during sexual contact and mainly refers to GHB/GBL, mephedrone, crystal meth, cocaine and ketamine. These drugs are increasingly used amongst gay men and crystal meth and GHB / GBL in particular have a common side-effect of increasing sexual arousal. They are often taken in combination and used as part of “party and play”.

The risk of chemsex drugs can be:

  • You may end up having sex with more people than you planned to
  • Within the gay community there is an increased risk of unprotected anal and rough sex
  • Chemsex can prolong sex sessions giving an increased opportunity for infections to be passed on so you may be at risk of getting an STI (sexually transmitted disease)
  • Sharing of needles to inject with can spread diseases and injecting may increase your risk of overdosing
  • Shigella is a bacterium which has been linked to gay men who use chemsex drugs. It causes serous diarrhoea and is passed on by infected faeces. This occurs more easily during group and oral sex after having unprotected anal sex.