Home > Chemsex: a case study of drug-userphobia

International Network of People who Use Drugs. (2019) Chemsex: a case study of drug-userphobia. London: INPUD.

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Chemsex: an emerging term that refers to the use of certain drugs in the context of sex. It is a term associated with a number of communities of gay and bisexual men, the clubbing and club drug scenes, and the fetish and BDSM scenes though, of course, other communities can and do engage in chemsex. Specifically, it refers to sex that is accompanied, enhanced, and/or facilitated by drugs. As with all people who use drugs, people who engage in chemsex are diverse and heterogeneous.

Stigma, criminalisation, and social exclusion have resulted in poor understanding of chemsex, and of people who engage in chemsex. The media, government, or health systems rarely, if ever, engage with chemsex from the perspective of drug users’ rights. Instead, these institutions frequently position drug use and chemsex as problematic, as activities which are dangerous, harmful, and destructive in-and-of-themselves. In the context of chemsex, drug use is framed as threat to the community – whether the community at large or to LGBTQ communities – as this document demonstrates.

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