Up For the Weekend: A Conversation with a Chem Sex Regular

imagesChem sex has been in the headlines recently, but how many of us know what really goes on? Artist and writer Sally Wyatt talks to an ex-chem sex regular. 

“Gay and bi men are being killed by seduction, and sex sites are letting this happen” he said, taking a sip of his skinny latte.

I look at Paul, a social worker in his 30s, who looks like a model from the autumn/winter Gap catalogue. I wonder if I have heard him correctly.

“How do you mean? “  I say.

“Sites like Grindr. People on there. They practically advertise chem sessions.”

“Sorry what’s a chem session?” I ask.

Paul gives me an astonished look.

“You know, where everyone comes, gets high on meth and has lots of sex.”

At this point, I have to confess I’m out of my depth, as I am a complete failure when it comes to taking drugs. Cannabis made me paranoid, speed and cocaine made other people want to punch me in the face as I explained every episode of Blake Seven in excruciating detail. I once took half a tab of acid and ended up in hospital for hypomania, after for some reason I tried (and failed) to buy a gun.  

“Ok. Meth. What exactly does that do?” I ask.

“Basically, it helps you stay up all weekend so you can have sex It is also an appetite suppressant and when I took it, I lost lots of weight which made me feel better about myself. While you are on it, you can’t feel pain and you feel a sort of spiritual connection to everyone.”

As someone who has many episodes of hypomania and mania it sounds weird that anyone would want to pay money to feel these things.

I ask Paul if he’s been going to these ‘chem sessions’. Why? When did it start?

“It was just curiosity I suppose,” he says. “That and I love sex. Next to sleeping it’s my favourite thing. At first I didn’t touch any of the drugs, but as I got more into the scene I was offered a line of meth and that was it.

“The feeling was amazing, it made me feel close to whoever I was having sex with and a sense of connection I had not felt before. I was no longer the boy who was bullied at school or belittled by my Dad, it felt like everyone at these parties were part of a family, time gets completely and utterly lost.

“That sounds quite scary, how do you cope back in the real world?” I asked.

“Honestly, I didn’t. I would be in at work bright and breezy on Monday then Tues I would be in late or have to make an excuse. It was one of the side effects of not eating or sleeping for 48 hours at a time. I always felt so guilty, which might be my Catholic upbringing but by Thursday I was feeling better and would start the weekend over again.”

“ What about safer sex? I‘m guessing there must be some temptation for bare backing.”

“Temptation is the understatement. Your high and horny safer sex is the last thing on your mind. I barebacked a lot, most men did, including some who were only there for the drugs. Some were really young about 18 and some really old men. It didn’t matter who you were fucking when you are that horny.”

But you can’t consent when you’re high.

“You can’t, also once again I found these drugs affected my ability to have an erection and any guy who could top, well whatever they wanted they got.”

“Paul!” I say, incredulous at how blase he is, “that’s sexual assault!”

“Yeah. People are really vulnerable; many men were robbed or raped at these parties and of course they aren’t going to go to the police. There’s also a lot of potential for blackmail, one guy I met at this party said that he had been sleeping with a celebrity and had taped them for money. I don’t know how true that is but it made me very aware that I needed to be careful. Though the voice in my head telling me to be careful was not the same as the one that told me to party and have sex. I was getting into huge debt, I thought that because I had once stopped smoking weed I could stop this too and it would be easy. It was much harder.”

So how did he do it?

“I met someone, at one of these parties oddly enough. We had a whole weekend together, but unlike the other guys he actually listened. Together we decided to make a go and start dating. We did it together.”

He plays with his now cold coffee.

“We took STI tests. The results weren’t good.”

I ask why Paul thinks chem sex is so popular.

“You see you think that the LGBT Community have everything now but the truth is nobody really is making any true connections with people; they have to use drugs to feel it.  We write messages to hook up for sex but we don’t really read each other’s body language or listen to what we say when we are sober.  Ultimately I was taking these drugs because I felt lonely and empty. The only good thing is that I met someone.

It’s just sad it was at the cost of our health.”

If you’d like help with any issues surrounding chem sex visit, Chem Sex Support.


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Sally Wyatt

I am a writer, artist and performer who believes that creativity is the only pathway to sanity. Several years and a lot of jobs in the social care field later, I started writing and performing stand up comedy, to try to get out some of the deepest which turned over the years turned into writing and performing sketches and plays for stage. My latest play is a dark comedy called The Last Cabaret, which will be performed on 10th, and 11th March. I am also in the process of writing a graphic novel called Touch, both are set in a dystopian future where all forms of touch outside hetro-sexual marriage is forbidden. I live in South London and am available …very.

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