Important information about ChemSex


What is ChemSex?

Some gay and bisexual men are using drugs with sex ('ChemSex') to enhance sexual intensity and boost confidence during sex. Commonly used drugs include: GBL/GHB Mephedrone Crystal meth Cocaine and Ketamine.

Some men attending sexual health clinics are increasingly reporting problems resulting from ChemSex and this leaflet highlights potential harmful effects.

Drug related harmful effects



  • Overdose is common - can cause coma and death
  • Physical dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms include twitching, anxiety and seizures

MEPHEDRONE 'M-CAT', 'Meow meow'

  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Overstimulation of your heart and brain
  • Seizures
  • Psychological dependence - needing to be high to feel good


  • Paranoia, anxiety and aggression
  • Sexual disinhibition
  • Psychosis (believing things that aren’t true to be real)
  • Damage to heart & brain
  • Psychological dependence

Risk Taking and pushing boundaries

You may find using drugs makes you more confident but this can lead to taking risks:

  • Rough sex or fisting causing  internal abrasions/tearing
  • Sex with more people than you planned
  • Unprotected anal sex
  • Other risk taking behaviours e.g. driving under the influence of drugs

Getting infections from sex

Sexually transmitted infections (STIS) are spread more easily from:

  • Anal sex without condoms
  • Frequent partner change
  • Longer sex sessions

Chems can prolong sex sessions, giving greater opportunity for infections to be passed on. There is also a risk of trauma - abrasions to your penis/anus from repeated friction -causing STIS including HIV and Hepatitis C to be passed more easily.

Some people are 'slamming' (injecting) drugs and getting infections either through sharing equipment or from increased risk taking. Slamming' also increases the risk of overdose and other drug-related harmful effects.

Trouble at work

Time spent on ChemSex can leave you exhausted. Consequences include:

  • Poor or erratic work performance
  • Taking time off work
  • Work related stress
  • A reputation of being unreliable
  • Exhaustion or drowsiness at work
  • Disciplinary proceedings
  • Losing your job

Trouble at home and finance

ChemSex can become your priority and take over your life resulting in:

  • Cancelling important plans with partners, friends and family.
  • Becoming disconnected from the important people in your life
  • Isolation and the breakdown of relationships

Financial worries: The amount of money you spend on drugs can become a problem, leading to: Debt, poor credit ratings, stealing, exchanging sex for drugs, eviction or selling sex.

Physical Harm

Physical consequences include:

  • Poor diet/weight loss
  • Premature ageing
  • Stomach upsets
  • Muscle wasting and nutritional deficiencies
  • Not maintaining your exercise routine
  • Missing medication for HIV and other illnesses
  • Being vulnerable to rape and sexual assault.

Psychological impact


Psychological impact includes:

  • Unable to enjoy sex without drugs
  • Difficulty controlling amount of drug use
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Isolation and feeling disconnected
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Paranoia or psychosis requiring hospitalization
  • Self-harm or harming others

‘I become a totally different person, I just go wild but afterwards I feel so ashamed about what I have done’


If you feel that some of these issues affect you, you can ask for help when you attend a sexual health clinic. Alternatively you can contact:

Turning Point – Croydon Recovery Network

Lantern Hall 190 Church Road Croydon CRO 1 SE

Tel.: 0300 123 9288