Chemsex is a specific type of sexualised drug use. The term is mainly used to refer to the combination of sex and drug use within the queer community. Within the swinger scene, sexualised drug use is also on the rise.
what is chemsex?
Chemsex involves using certain drugs, such as crystal meth, GHB/GBL and stimulant synthetic cathinones like 3-MMC, to enhance sexual experiences. These drugs are known as “chems”, but often involve other substances, such as erectile dysfunction drugs and alcohol.
People engage in chemsex for different reasons. Some engage in chemsex to feel less inhibited and to increase pleasure. Other reasons for engaging in chemsex relate to feelings of stigma, discrimination, internalised homophobia, low self-esteem and the impact of the AIDS epidemic on sex pleasure.
Online dating apps and websites play an important role in chemsex. These communication tools make it easy to indicate preferences (“chemsfriendly”) and connect with like-minded people.
There are risks associated with chemsex, but the impact of chemsex varies from person to person. Many people experience added value from chemsex without developing complaints. But a growing group of people experience social, physical, sexual and mental problems due to chemsex.
mainline and chemsex
Mainline is close to the chemsex scene and has been researching chemsex for almost a decade. Based on this, Mainline has developed educational materials, training courses and harm reduction interventions. Mainline supports organisations worldwide with the development and implementation of harm reduction programmes focused on (problematic) chemsex.
what we do:
Mainline has developed several publications on chemsex with information on (quitting) chemsex, including harm reduction tips. Click here for all information material on chemsex.
At Mainline’s Amsterdam office, bi-weekly group discussions are organised for people who have (temporarily) quit chemsex. We also offer individual coaching for people seeking self-control. Click here for more information about the support Mainline offers to people who are engaging in chemsex.
The website chemsex.nl, developed by Mainline, offers neutral information for anyone who is involved in chemsex, their loved ones and counsellors. Unique to this website is the overview of the care available for chemsex throughout the Netherlands.
- Slamming in the Netherlands
In October 2021, Mainline published a study on the rise of slamming in the Netherlands. The publication provides insight into the motives, perceptions, popular substances, complaints and help needs of people who inject drugs during sex.
- Tina and slamming in the Netherlands
n 2015, Mainline investigated the use of crystal meth and slam in sexual settings among men who have sex with men. It was the first time that this was researched in the Netherlands.