The current guidance from the government is to practice physical distancing as this is the most effective way to slow the spread of coronavirus. For those who find this unrealistic, are triggered by isolation and loneliness or are struggling with an addiction, below are some alternatives to chemsex you can consider and tips on how you can reduce the risks involved.

5 Alternatives to Chemsex

1. Get intimate with yourself

This is a great time to explore what gets you going sexually when on your own and sober. Sex toy sales are up, so why not invest in a new toy to satisfy your sexual urges? Understanding your body and your turn ons will make your sex life even better when you are able to be more active with others.

2. Connect with others

It’s a good time to contact old friends that you miss, so why not try to reconnect with friends outside of the chemsex scene? There's loads of ways for you to link up with people online using apps like FaceTime or Zoom. Keeping yourself distracted by keeping in touch with friends can really help keep your mind off the chemsex scene.

3. Get support with recovery

If you're looking for support with recovery, why not join an online mutual aid group? Many such as SMART Recovery or our Here and Now group do not require that you are giving up chems forever, but will be able to offer support on cutting down and harm reduction.

4. Try out virtual sex

Hooking up doesn't always have to be physical, there's loads of ways for you to enjoy sex with others without meeting up in person. Sexting and cam sex are becoming more and more popular, just be aware that images may be being stored. You might want to consider hiding your face or any identifying features such as tattoos. If call else fails, there's always good old fashioned phone sex!

5. If all else fails, workout!

Getting physical exercise and tiring yourself out is a great way to managing some of cravings you might be having. You get the bonus of feeling good about yourself.

7 Ways to Reduce the Risk

1. Party with one person

If you can find one person to party with who is practicing physical distancing, you could make an agreement to only party together until after lockdown.

2. The less people, the better

The less people present the better. Try to meet with people you know are also practicing physical distancing, have that conversation with people. “Have you been getting out much? How are you finding the lockdown?”

3. Don't share equipment or paraphernalia

Coronavirus can be passed on surfaces we share with others and through respiratory droplets (so avoid sharing vapes, cigarettes).

4. Avoid kissing

The virus can be spread through saliva, so that means it can be spread during kissing.

5. Addicted to GHB/GBL?

If feel you want to use the lockdown to stop, please do not do this alone. You should seek medical support as sudden withdrawal itself can be lethal.

6. Be aware of overdose risk

If you're using alone does someone know when you are using? Are they able check in on you at an agreed time? There may be a delay in getting help from emergency services due to the increased demand on the NHS. Do not hesitate in getting help if you need it. Deaths not related to coronavirus are up, and this is possibly down to people thinking that the NHS is not there to help them when they need to access medical care - this is not true.

7. Know your limits

If you decide to take a break from drugs or are unable to access them, don’t forget that at the next party your tolerance for drugs will be a lot lower. If you decide to use again start small and slow.

If you want to talk more about this, or anything else related to substance use, contact substancemisuse@lgbt.foundation. You can also call our helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30. For more information about our support groups and events, visit www.lgbt.foundation/events