According to Vice sex workers are putting themselves on the frontline in the battle against chemsex.
Chemsex is the practice of people using drugs during sex to amplify the intensity of the experience. More often than not, two of the key elements to chemsex, are crystal meth and GHB.
Chemsex has also been linked to increased STI and HIV transmission among gay men in particular. Incidences of unintentional overdoses, date rape, and death have often accompanied encounters where the victim is often drugged without their knowledge.
LA based “serial predator” Ed Buck has been allegedly accused of intentionally injecting meth into his victims. Micheal Rice the director of parTy boi, a documentary that explores the meth epidemic in the Black gay community, and which prominently features Gemmal Moore — who was found dead of a meth overdose in Buck’s apartment in 2017 — says Buck is a sadist.
Rice told Towleroad, “Many clients/victims of Buck reported the constant use of the N-word during their visit, removal of their own clothes to wear items Buck lays out for them [ white long johns] and lastly to financially reward his guest by having victims or himself shoot large amounts of meth into their bodies to see the amount their bodies could withstand before passing out or overdosing.”
Vice says that, “sober sex is one of the most literal manifestations of sex work as therapy, and one that’s particularly needed by LGBTQ communities.”
A new study from the University of Michigan underscores this point saying that gay and lesbian individuals are twice as likely to have substance abuse problems.
Addiction rates being higher among LGBT people can be for any of the number of reasons that anyone is; and Vice is quick to point out that straight people have plenty of drug fueled sex too — and addiction affects everyone — but it’s become a component for a deadly vortex for many that includes dating apps. In 2016 Mic reported “getting meth is as easy as logging into an app on your smartphone.”
One of the sex workers in the story explains that he helps retrain people to enjoy “sober sex” by keeping them in the moment. He says, “People often use alcohol or drugs to make the journey from meeting a stranger to having sex with them easier, so I show clients that sexual tension, awkwardness and anxiety are all normal factors. In fact, they’re factors that heighten the experience of intimacy with another person. It’s almost ironic that the cure to fear of sober sex is chemistry, really – it’s about stepping together into that awkwardness of being genuine with one another, and showing them that it’s a challenge they can win.”
And meth use is on the rise — amphetamine-related hospitalizations jumped by about 245 percent from 2008 to 2015, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In California, KHN said, the number of amphetamine-related overdose deaths rose by 127 percent from 456 in 2008 to 1,036 in 2013.
The resurgence in meth use has led to a rush to seek a treatment. Doctors say that, “unlike the opioid epidemic — for which medications exist to help combat addiction — medical providers have few such tools to help methamphetamine users survive and recover.”
And with the Drug Enforcement Administration reporting “that the price of meth is the lowest the agency has seen in years. And [that] the meth on the streets is now more than 90 percent pure,” the problem doesn’t appear to be abating soon.