A big difference between how gay men use drugs compared to straight people is that we’re much more likely to use them during sex.
Drugs, including alcohol, can make us feel more sexually confident or sexier in general -- using steroids to build an impressive body is an example. They can improve our sexual performance and give us added stamina for longer sex sessions, where you don't need to stop for food or sleep as much. Some have an aphrodisiac quality (they make us horny), others can become so linked in our minds with sex that we feel more ‘up for it’ just by taking them.
Lots of chems lower our inhibitions. We might make a move on someone we wouldn’t feel able to if we were sober, or be more sexually adventurous than we’d otherwise be. Some drugs can heighten our body’s sensitivity, making sex more ‘touchy feely’. How we feel when we come can be enhanced, with it feeling like an ‘all over’ or ‘total body’ orgasm, instead of being just centred on the dick. Some drugs are used because they help with certain sex acts. Poppers relax the arse sphincter when fucking or fisting. Ketamine relaxes arse muscles too, and is used for fisting. Some drugs such as ketamine, speed, and crystal act as pain killers, especially when put directly on the arse hole. This lets men have rougher sex – and for longer.
But rougher and longer sex means there is more chance your skin will get sore or cut either inside the body or on the skin of cock and arse. This makes it easier for HIV to get out of one body and into another. Rougher, longer fucking also puts added stress on condoms. Rubbers are more likely to break after around 30 minutes, so a fresh one will be needed or at least check regularly that it’s still in one piece. Drugs and booze can also be a way of blotting out things that are bothering us, maybe deep seated issues about how we feel about ourselves, our sexuality and how we relate to others.
How drugs loosen our control has its downsides. We may decide to do things we wouldn’t do if sober, including high risk acts like unprotected fucking. Although some of us might blame drink and drugs for ‘making’ us have unsafe sex, it’s often a case that they make it easier for us do what we wanted to all along. But plenty of men manage to keep to their safer sex limits despite being off their faces. If we need to take HIV medications, being ‘out of it’ can mean we forget to take our pills or not take them how and when we should, which risks our treatment failing.
You can find out more about reducing those risks when mixing drugs and sex here.
This article was last reviewed on: 28/10/11
Date due for next review: 28/10/13