Understanding the world of 'chemsex' among gay men

Sexologist Dr Eve joins Redi Tlhabi to discuss the phenomenon dubbed 'chemsex'. A new documentary by that name has been released internationally, and focuses on the interplay of drugs and sex prevalent among gay men.

Listen to a clip from the documentary below. Men interviewed say the gay scene can be an alienating place and drugs give them confidence.

Men talk about using the cellphone app Grinder to connect with other gay men in cities that still often feel homophobic, hostile and very lonely.

In a world where it seems being gay has become far more socially acceptable, these men say it is still very difficult to live openly as a gay man.

Originally, says one man, sex and drugs were two separate things, but now they are completely intertwined.

Dr Eve says, in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings at the gay club Pulse, it is important to look at what it is like to be a gay man in today's society. She says it seems homophobia is not a thing of the past.

Chemsex is the combined use of three psychoactive drugs, crystal methamphetamine, GHB and mephedrone, which are used in sexual situations to enhance the experience.

She argues that the use of this drug combination, is a response to feeling lonely in alienating cities. Apps like Grinder make it very easy to 'hook up' for what she says are random 'intimate' experiences with strangers.

The activities progress from 'chems', to injecting, to what is called 'slamming' - where you practice the 'intimate' act of injecting strangers with drugs to have these sexual experiences.

Dr Eve says there are psychological effects as well as heightened health risks such as HIV. But she says these men do not seek professional help because they are afraid of being judged.

Callers phoned in to share their experiences and perception of life for gay men in South Africa.

Listen to the conversation below:


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