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Sex information: Chemsex

Sex & sexual health | Staying safe

Chemsex is a term used to describe the use of specific drugs for sex by men who have sex with men.

Oct. 25, 2022

If you find someone on a dating site, online forum or social media who wants you to take part, please remember that chemsex parties and meet-ups can be very risky. Lots of drugs are freely available and you may be given something that makes you behave differently to your normal self and do things you wouldn’t otherwise want to do.

There are many other, safer, ways to meet people. Don’t be pressured into taking part in chemsex because an older or more experienced person wants you to.

If you decide you do want to take part in a chemsex meet-up, always make sure you have a friend that you trust with you, a safe space to go to, that you use protection (condoms or dental dams) and that you are aware of the risks.

Definitions and risks

The drugs most commonly associated with chemsex are:

  • Crystal methamphetamine (also known as tina, meth, crystal)
  • Mephedrone (also known as meph, meow meow, M-CAT)
  • GHB/GBL (also known as G, GBH, gina, liquid ecstasy)

All three of these drugs can have very serious effects on your physical and mental health, particularly if you use them frequently. You can find out more about them, and other drugs, on the Frank website.

In addition to these drugs – often referred to as ‘chems’ – others are often involved in chemsex, including Viagra, alcohol, ketamine, cocaine and amyl/akyl nitrates (known as ‘poppers’).

Remember that even if you are very informed about the drugs you might be given at a chemsex party, dosing can vary a lot. You might end up taking a lot more than you mean to, and you might also end up taking something that’s been cut with more dangerous or even poisonous substances.

Not everyone has problems with their use of drugs, but if you or someone you know does then you may need to seek help. You can find advice and treatment information on the Frank website or through Addaction

Let's Talk About It is also useful for support.