British “Chemsex” Case Highlights Dangers of Sex Under Influence of Psychoactive Drugs

A case of “chemsex” in the news in Britain highlights the dangers of intentional sex under the influence of psychoactive drugs, mostly among men who have sex with men. The case involves a London lawyer who supplied his boyfriend with a cocktail of drugs, which he overdosed on, according to CNN.

Last year, researchers reported in an editorial in the British Medical Journal that chemsex sessions often last several hours to several days, with multiple sexual partners. Chemsex participants report an average of five sexual partners per session. Unprotected sex is the norm, the researchers wrote.

The researchers say people who engage in chemsex often describe not sleeping or eating for up to 72 hours, which can harm their health. “Users may present [symptoms] too late to be eligible for post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV transmission,” they wrote. “An increased number of sexual partners may also increase the risk of acquiring other sexually transmitted infections.”

The London lawyer gave his boyfriend GHB (commonly known as “G”) and mephedrone (also called “meow-meow”). The couple would take these drugs together during chemsex, the article notes. Crystal meth is another drug associated with chemsex. Participants say using the drugs reduces their inhibitions and increases pleasure.

“On a chemical level, these three drugs (GHB, mephodrone, crystal meth) have this sexually arousing property that cocaine and ecstasy didn’t have,” said Dr Adam Bourne, a lecturer and researcher in chemsex at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “Lots of people, particularly if they’re using crystal meth, will describe quite an insatiable sexual appetite.”

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