e-prevention and risk reduction in festive environments
Know more, risk less
You can see them more and more often on guys’ profiles, on online dating apps, meaning that they want to use drugs during a casual hookup. You cannot resist the temptation, and from there, you discover a whole new universe of excitement, and a craving for sex. Over a day or a whole weekend, it’s all about: snort, fuck, repeat. Who has never been tempted to play with the limits, with interdictions, just to try once?! Except that it won’t be “just once.” It’s running through your head and you’ll soon be looking for a new chemsex party, just for one more taste. Of course, you will find a new hookup with chems, and – there’s no need to say – you will love it anyway.
Then very quickly you turn to the sites selling the products, you order some – just a little because still, they are drugs… But with parties and weekends high on sex and drugs flying by, you order more and more.
With chems, you’re easily tempted to fuck without a condom. Whether you are HIV-negative or -positive, you’re taking risks that you feel are under control because you like to fool around without a condom, or just because you’re high.
The more drugs you use, the more difficult it is to have a boner, which can be frustrating! The more you consume, the more you forget about your game partners, always chasing guys off apps to invite them to join you.
Then there can come a time when a guy says he wants to “slam,” that is, to inject the drugs into his veins. You can be frightened and turn away, or on the contrary be tempted by the experience. And if you’re willing to take the plunge, you will rediscover the product in a completely new way, and you will plunge a little deeper into addiction.
Eventually one day, without even realising it, you may end up thinking, after a hard day’s work or when feeling blue, that you could do a line or a syringe to get back on your feet. Whether you do it or not, you think your consumption is “under your control,” this is just about pleasure and not addiction…
Indeed, the desired effects are enjoyable, but let’s not forget the other, less enviable side effects of these products… They include: dilated pupils, sweating, tremors, accelerated heart rate, anxiety, bad trip (panic, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations…), risk of overdose and death, just to name a few… And in the long term: fatigue, liver and kidney damage, isolation, lies, sick leave, difficulties at work, desocialisation, irritability, depression… You are aware of what is going on, you learn to live with it, or on the contrary you let yourself go…
In the end, do you really know where you stand with your drug consumption? Is it still a “pleasure,” or is it rather a “need,” or even an “automatism”? Have you noticed a change in your social, friendly and professional relationships? Has your mood dropped, or your health? Maybe it’s time to take stock!
For a start, you can discuss it with a volunteer or a professional in a sexual health facility or an association. These people are trained to listen, and they can help you think about your actual consumption or reduce the risks taken during chemsex parties. All this anonymously, with or without an appointment. How familiar are you with risk reduction practices? Like using a personal straw, or a single-use, personal syringe… The exchange of non-sterile material can lead to the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases or to avoidable infection. It is always helpful to seek advice about how to do drugs at a lower risk, as well as to talk about your consumption.
Allowing you to take stock makes it possible to acknowledge whether you feel trapped in your drug consumption. If it’s still a pleasure, think about the best way to keep it up, and reason to keep it under control. On the other hand, if it has become a burden, if comedowns have become a source of anxiety or depression… it is time to act.
It is also important to acknowledge intimately that you have a drug problem. No longer lie to yourself, be lucid and realise that perhaps your consumption hides a certain unhappiness underneath. Make a list of the “positive” and “negative” sides of your consumption and see on which side the balance tilts. If the “negative” (depression, budget…) or missed opportunities (family, friends…) exceed the “positive” (sexual heat…), then it is certainly necessary to rethink everything all over again.
Volunteers, discussion groups, health professionals, addiction doctors, sex therapists, psychologists… Everyone can find the right person to listen and help, depending on their own stage of addiction and “suffering.” Exchanging and weighing experiences with other consumers can also help. Talking really is the bulk of what you should do.
Whether you consume every weekend, or more or less frequently, the question necessarily arises of “controlling” your consumption. If it’s too much, maybe it’s time to set limits. Order fewer products, set quantity or time limits during parties, note all your intakes to be aware of your consumption, or no longer do it at home… Through reasoning, discipline, this is how you will manage to cut down.
Finally – and this is certainly the hardest part, but also the best part is to talk to your family and friends about it. Revealing your drug problem means exposing yourself to accusations and judgements from family and friends – which no one is really prepared for. But after the shock and the misunderstandings, there will grow a desire to help and support you in this ordeal. Not everyone is capable of it or will feel the need, but it is a huge relief.
Chemsex is certainly about pleasure, but you can end up losing yourself. Take stock regularly, talk, acknowledge that you are not alone… That is how you won’t become enslaved to drugs and you will become master of yourself, of your sexuality, and of your life again.