By Andrew Goyvaerts
Since my blog clarifying a comment made about chemsex, a friend questioned if my interpretation of the concept is incorrect given I view it as something that should mostly (key word, mostly), be approached from a drug use or addiction perspective. Perhaps it could be, I am not egotistical enough to say my opinion is definitely the right one, some of the worlds leading scientists don’t claim definitive correctness (thank god or that whole the earth is flat thing could have stuck around for a while), so who would I be to do so.
As my understanding goes, which is more personally experienced than most people know(its not just a mainland UK thing), chemsex, is a concept popularised within the gay community and consists of three main factors, the first two are the consumption of a certain group of drugs which lower inhibitions and when combined with a higher sense of sexual pleasure/desire lead to people taking higher sexual risks than one would normally take, mainly engaging in unprotected, group sex. The third factor, which compounds the situation, is the use of telecommunication apps, or dating apps as they are more commonly know, to engage in these actions with ease.
If that interpretation is wrong then my mind is always open to enlightenment and being challenged with alternative thoughts/beliefs, if anything I love the challenge as long as it is done in a non-aggressive, non-degrading manner, society seems to have turned debate into an argument at times, understandable with such a large population but there is really no need, we can all have our opinions, debate them and coexist in peace, as said in the past, it does not need to be a case of one opinion is right and the other wrong, both opinions may have merits.
If it is correct, then one solution could be for the sexual health, addiction and telecommunications services to work together on the matter of chemsex instead of the responsibility being placed on sexual health services, as it currently appears to be. There are ways of opening up dialogue with the telecommunication sector, due to connections in this sector I know for certain some dating apps are working towards addressing the issue of chemsex, which will hopefully lead to improvements in the near future. Addiction services are under severe pressure and this only adds to it, however, if the various sectors work together to highlight a need for extra funding due to this problem there is the possibility of securing funds that will give the potential to make our addiction services stronger, and more advanced, than at any other previous time. As for the sexual health sector, not self glorifying here because as yet, we have had little to do with this matter except monitor from the side-line, sexual health services are doing everything possible to address chemsex with the resources available, which currently are stretched due to local authority cutbacks and the impact of other austerity measures.
What would be useful from my perspective is to see nationwide data showing how many people who engage in taking higher sexual risks when on Meth, G, Meph etc., do so when sober, at the moment it appears the only data available is localised to one area or based on the experience of service users from a sole service provider, collaborative studies showing evidence from several areas of the UK or service providers would perhaps be more conclusive, in my opinion, but once again, I would never be egotistical enough to say my opinion is definitely the right one, especially when about a situation so complex and one of which few professional studies have been conducted.
If anyone feels they have a point that could change my opinion please do feel free to get in touch, I am not an unreasonable person, just don’t tear me apart for having my own opinions in life and daring to air them.