What Is Chemsex? Risks Of This Dangerous Sexual Practice


The search for pleasure or fun can lead someone to make decisions that, in the long run, may have not so positive consequences. One of them is chemsex, a sexual practice that involves the use of psychoactive substances to intensify the sensory experience during the sexual act.

Throughout this article, we will explore some of the risks associated with chemsex, including the harmful effects that both the substances used and the sexual practices themselves can have on the physical and mental health of those who carry them out.

What is chemsex?

Chemsex is a term that combines the words “chemicals” and “sex” and refers to the sexual practice that involves the use of psychoactive drugs in order to intensify sensations, lose inhibitions and prolong pleasure during sexual relations, which can last hours or even days.

Although it is not a new practice, chemsex has seen a huge increase in recent years, especially among the community of men who have sex with other men. This practice is mainly linked to the use of stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and bath salts, although other substances such as GHB, ketamine and poppers can also be used.

The reasons that lead someone to try chemsex are varied. Some seek to overcome shyness, intensify excitement and sexual desire, or explore new sensations. Some people perceive it as a way to escape from monotony, stress or personal difficulties. However, it is important to note that the repercussions of chemsex can have serious consequences in the short, medium or long term.

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Chemsex in Spain: some figures

Reviewing the statistics is a way to understand the situation in a much more objective way. For example, the HomoSalud202 study carried out in Spain reflected a series of data on men who have practiced chemsex to better understand the phenomenon. Very interesting results were found there.

The main motivations associated with substance use included: increase sexual desire (88.3%), free oneself from inhibitions in the sexual sphere (85.7%), improve the feeling of pleasure (54.3%) and increase the intensity of sensations (52.5%). Among them, 27.5% of the men surveyed, who have sex with other men, assumed they used drugs in the last 12 months at the time of having sex, and 9.4% of them did so in the context of chemsex.

In the 12 months prior to the study, approximately 68.6% of individuals who practiced chemsex did so at least once a month. For their part, 22.3% reported having spent a considerable or excessive amount in the acquisition of drugs.

This is probably the most impressive statistic in terms of physical and mental health: 90.9% of participants who practiced this activity reported that they experienced changes in their physical state after one session. Fatigue (50%), lack of energy and strength (30.9%) and drowsiness (19.9%). Regarding the psychological aspect, the most common sensations reported by the participants were sadness (29.1%), increased sensitivity (21.1%), apathy or lack of motivation (33.6%), irritability (18.9% ) and decreased sexual desire (15.51%).

Furthermore, 16.5% of chemsex users in the aforementioned period admitted to having experienced an overdose due to drug use, mainly related to the use of GHB or GBL. It is becoming a little clear, then, that after the fun there are sometimes consequences that are not so fun or so kind to the body and mind of those who practice chemsex, especially on a recurring basis.

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Disadvantages of chemsex

Chemsex, far from being a harmless practice, hides a series of dangers that can put people’s physical and mental health at risk. Among the main risks we find:

Physical Risks of Chemsex

On a physical level, these practices can generate:


Psychological risks of chemsex

On a psychological level, these practices can generate:


In conclusion, it is also important to take into account that there is still a lot to research about chemsex. The report on chemsex in Spain carried out in 2019 by the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare revealed that in recent years the research has focused mainly on the group of men who have sexual relations with other men, without being able to exclude the possibility of that the practice and its effects are also present in other groups.

In this sense, an interdisciplinary approach for the creation of novel strategies aimed at prevention, risk mitigation and damage minimization would be most appropriate. However, at the end of the day, much of the responsibility for our well-being lies in our own hands. Remember that sexual pleasure should not be linked to risks for your body and mind. Exploring healthy and consensual alternatives to enjoy intimacy is possible. Make sure your physical and mental health are your priority!