The current guidance from the government is to practice physical distancing with people outside of your household to reduce health risks to individuals and the spread of COVID-19. Despite this significant risk, we understand that some continue to have sex with people outside of their household. We are committed to helping everybody stay as safe as possible – it’s better that people have safer sex than unsafe sex. For more information on sex and coronavirus, visit http://lgbt.foundation/sexualhealth/sexduringcovid-19pandemic
If avoiding chemsex at the moment is unrealistic for you, or if you’re triggered by isolation and struggling with addiction, here is some more information on support and ways to reduce your risk (http://lgbt.foundation/chemsex/chemsafe-during-coronavirus)
Chemsex can be linked to, or cause, feelings of guilt or shame, which can make people believe that they have done something wrong or are a bad person. If you are feeling this way about your chemsex, and you want to talk about it, contact LGBT Foundation: email [email protected], substanc[email protected] or call the helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30.
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What is ChemSex?
ChemSex is a term that is used when people are having sex, which involves using one or more of three specific drugs (chems) in any combination. People take part in ChemSex for a number of different reasons, some find it increases sexual stimulation, for other people it can reduce their inhibitions. ChemSex can take place in groups, and it can often last for days or over a weekend.
Engaging in ChemSex increases your risk of getting HIV and other STIs, and it can also have a negative impact on things like your work, your social life and relationships and your mental health and wellbeing.
The three drugs typically involved are Crystal Meth, M-Cat and G, for more information, you can visit http://lgbt.foundation/how-we-can-help-you/drug-and-alcohol-support/drug-types#Chemsex.
Am I having ChemSex?
It may seem like something that should be obvious, but it is easy for people to be taking part in ChemSex without necessarily knowing. Some people first get introduced to ChemSex through their partners, and eventually will begin to take part. Others may go to a party that they found through a hook-up app or social networking, and then discover it is actually a ChemSex party, which is commonly called a chill out.
However it has happened, it is important that you feel safe, and in control of what drugs you take, and the sex you have. If you ever feel as though you are pressured into doing something you don’t want, contact us on 0345 3 30 30 30 and we can support you.
Can I have ChemSex safely?
Chemsex comes with a lot of risk, but this can be managed and reduced with a few simple steps:
A lot of times people may ask you to bareback, and this puts you at high risk of getting HIV and STIs. It may also be something you don’t feel comfortable doing when sober as you know it will make you worry, but when you are on chems, you agree to it because of the influence the drugs are having. It is important to always be assertive in what you want, and what you don’t want to do, and set some ground rules before you start, so that people know what you do and do not want to do.
Make sure you totally understand the dangers around the drugs you will take and the after effects. This will help you plan how to manage them. For more information, you can visit http://lgbt.foundation/how-we-can-help-you/drug-and-alcohol-support/drug-types#Chemsex.
Order Play Packs
We provide Play Packs in partnership with MAC AIDs Fund, and they have condoms, lube and loads of safer sex resources. To order a play pack or just for more information please visit http://lgbt.foundation/playpacks.
Have plenty of needles
Sharing needles puts you at high risk of catching HIV and other STIs that are found in the blood, like hepatitis A, B and C. Pharmacies across Greater Manchester run needle exchanges, to find one near you please visit http://lgbt.foundation/needle-directory.
Many guys are using PrEP to prevent HIV protect themselves from HIV. PrEP protects from HIV, but not from other STIs, so it is important that if you are using PrEP, you get a full screening every 3 months. For more information on PrEP and how to get it, please visit http://lgbt.foundation/prep..
Talk to Someone
Let someone know you where you are going, and what you will be up to. This way, if you feel unsafe, you can reach out to them and they will be able to help. It also means that if you have a bad time, it will be easier to talk to them about it. If you do have a bad experience but don’t feel you can talk to anyone you know, you can also talk to us by emailing [email protected], or by calling 0345 3 30 30 30.
Get Tested Regularly
Get screened for Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV and hepatitis C. Chemsex puts us at higher risk for these infections. If you're HIV negative, and concerned about any HIV risks during a ChemSex episode, you can ask your clinic or any hospital for PEP, a medicine which can help protect you from becoming infected if taken within 3 days of the possible exposure.
I want to change, how do I do it?
Here at LGBT Foundation there are a number of different services we offer, depending on the support that you need.
If you want to talk to someone about how ChemSex has affected your wellbeing and your sexual health, and on ways to make a change, then you can book an appointment in our 1-to-1, confidential service called Let’s Talk About ChemSex. This is available to people who live all across Greater Manchester, and is currently funded for Gay, Bi and other men who have sex with men, whether you identify as a man some or all of the time.
If you feel as though you are addicted to chems or dependant on them, then our Drug and Alcohol Support Programme has a whole range of support around safer use, reducing, detoxing from chems, and other drugs. For more information, please visit http://lgbt.foundation/drugsandalcohol. to see about the services we have on offer.