The Journal of Sexual Medicine has published a study on the link between substance abuse and sex, focusing on the risks involved. Out of 22,000 respondents from the US, Canada, Australia and parts of Europe from all genders and sexual orientations, gay and bisexual men are most likely to engage in drug use during sex:
“Homosexual men were 1.6 times as likely as heterosexual men to have used drugs with the specific intent of enhancing the sexual experience in the last year.”
Drugs most commonly used during sex were reported to be alcohol by 60% of men and women, cannabis by 37% of men and 26% of women and MDMA by 15.5% of men and women.
Gay men were reported to be 60% more likely to use drugs for enhancing sex.
GHB ranked the highest overall for enhancing the sexual experience. Highly addictive and potentially lethal even at low doses, the drug gained attention over the past couple of years for being associated with a number of deaths. It has become increasingly popular among the gay community.
According to research by the HSE, about 100 people have been referred to Ireland’s only GHB-detoxification clinic since 2017 and at least 15 have overdosed in recent years.
It was emphasised however that the focus should not be on the sexual orientation or gender identity of those who use substances during sex rather it should be upon raising awareness of the risks associated with combining drugs and sex in general. Dr Will Dawn, one of the leading figures in the study explains:
“While using drugs in combination with and to specifically enhance the sexual experience tends to be associated with gay and bisexual men, we found that in our sample, men and women of all sexual orientations engaged in this behaviour. However, differences between groups did emerge.
“Harm reduction messages relating to substance-linked sex, in general, should therefore not only be targeted towards gay and bisexual men, as they are relevant to all groups.”
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