What is Chemsex?

Chemsex means using recreational drugs as part of your sex life. 

It’s most common among men who have sex with men, but it is becoming increasingly normalised across all sexualities.



Everyone has their reasons, but recreational drugs are known for lowering inhibitions and shame.

Whilst some drugs can enhance pleasure or physical touch, others may relax the muscles or calm nerves.

However, drugs can have repercussions so it’s good to know exactly what you are taking and what effect it will have. 


What are some of the dangers of chemsex

Harm: drugs can be harmful to your body and brain and lead to anxiety and depression. 

Addiction: Most of the drugs used in chemsex can lead to strong physical addiction. 

Death: some drugs like GHB/GBL can kill if you overdose. Be very careful of the amount you take.

Consent: in any situation where drugs or alcohol are present, it is easy for people to lose the capacity to give consent. If someone is asleep, unconscious or too “out of it”, they cannot consent.

STDs: Do not forget to take care of your sexual health, whatever that might look like for you, from condoms to prep. Drugs may lower your inhibitions but your safety should always come first. 

What can help?

Keep tabs on how it is impacting your daily life and how you feel. 

Think about your sexual health, get tested regularly, know what precautions to take and what are your boundaries. 

Learn about the drugs you are taking, research them online, learn about dosage and danger.

There is no shame. Try to speak about it with friends and keep an open mind when someone shares their own experiences with you.


If you feel like your use of drugs is hurting your life, feels unsafe or out of control, please get in touch with some of the organisations below.

MEN R US MENRUS has very comprehensive advice on chemsex.

56 Dean St A friendly, convenient, free NHS sexual health and HIV clinic in London.

London Friend Health and wellbeing for LGBTQ+ people as well as Antidote, a specific LGBTQ+ drug and alcohol project.

The Northern A sexual health and HIV service in Manchester.

Brighton Sexual Health A sexual health and HIV service in Brighton.

Birmingham LGBA sexual health and wellbeing service in Birmingham, with specific advice on chemsex.