1.3.4 Chemsex

Chemsex #

Chemsex is generally defined as the consumption of drugs to facilitate or enhance sexual activity, and is a lot more prevalent than most people assume. Whilst this aspect is referred to for individual drugs in the following sections of this book, there are a number of general considerations which are worthy of note at the outset.

A selection of erotic drugs, Amsterdam

A selection of erotic drugs, Amsterdam


The actual effects and the experience differ significantly from drug class to drug class. I would summarize these as follows:

Certain stimulants (particularly amphetamines) produce the most primal, prolonged and intensive orgasmic pleasure.

Cannabinoids (cannabis) help you to get lost in the moment and flow with it.

At low doses many psychedelics can take you to a different place, and enhance physical sensitivity.

Empathogens, such as MDMA, tend to take a similar path, with a more muted headspace, but hardly surprisingly enhanced empathy.

I am aware that some people cite alcohol and GHB in this field, but I view these primarily as relaxants, and not as active sexual enhancers. I would not pitch them in the same ballpark as any of the above in this respect.


If this sounds like an invitation to dive in and to engage, it isn’t. As with most joys in life there is a flip side: in this case exposure to significant danger. Drug use carries risk, and drug use for sexual gratification is no different.

Stating the obvious immediately, the usual harm reduction procedures and practices continue to apply. This includes the 10 Commandments of Safer Drug Use as specified earlier.

I would add to these a number of other considerations which relate specifically to chemsex:

  • In some cases, most significantly with stimulants/amphetamines, a high watermark can be reached which is not attainable without the drug. This is a poisoned chalice. It can cause a number of subsequent problems, making normal sexual activity relatively unfulfilling, with obvious and very real implications for relationships.

    Don’t trivialise or dismiss this aspect: it is not as uncommon as you might imagine.

  • Often related to this is an ongoing craving for the sexual payload of the drug in question. Added to its existing hooks, this potent additional inducement can accelerate the path to addiction.

    Be constantly aware of this and take full account of it.

  • It is important to bear in mind that under the influence restraint and judgement are often impaired, and that events can develop quickly and potentially without due deliberation. It is probably not the best idea for a single party to heavily engage whilst the other(s) doesn’t.

    Equally, parameters and boundaries should be agreed by all parties beforehand.

  • Finally, the compound stress of both sex and drugs on the body should be carefully contemplated, particularly by those with any pre-existing medical conditions.


It is a statement of fact that some drugs can increase sexual appetite and enhance the experience itself. However, my last word on this would be that, if indulging, the real world still exists and so do its risks. Don’t suspend logic and always practise harm reduction.

Or alternatively, steer well clear.