Chemsex, also called Party n’ Play (PnP) is a known practice among gay and bi men, but its frequency and impact is often exaggerated by mainstream media. To explore the realities of drug-enabled intimacy, Squirt.org conducted a survey of its user base to determine just how often MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) were incorporating illicit drugs into their sex routines.
The study surveyed 22,248 Squirt.org members. Of these respondents, only 39% expressed interest in chemsex, while 61% completely rejected the idea. This survey provides results that run alongside previous findings.
In late 2015, harm-reduction expert Dr Adam Bourne emphasized that statistics regarding chemsex were sensationalized in the news. In his official statement in an interview with Gay News Network (GNN), he emphasized that “Chemsex is something we have to remain vigilant about, but we also have to be wary of drawing simple conclusions without considering the right evidence. Only a small minority of gay men use drugs on a regular basis, and only a minority of those do so in a sexual context.”
“We wanted to provide our members very important information about chemsex within the gay and bisexual community,” said Attila Szatmari, Digital Business Director for Pink Triangle Press, Squirt.org’s parent company. “We now have statistics from real people showing infrequent participation in chemsex, not this hyper-usage that seems to be reported in mainstream media.”
Szatmari also highlighted the role that the gay hookup site plays in the practices of gay and bi men. “Our goal in providing this data to our members was to show that above all, we care about them and want them to be properly informed. Our website also acts as a knowledge hub for resources on PrEP, protection and unprotected sex. We encourage our users to get as much information as possible and decide based on their comfort level how far they are willing to go,” Szatmari said.
Dr Bourne’s work in harm-reduction in drug users pointed him towards unique needs for the LGBTI community. “The reality is mainstream AOD services will continue to provide most of the treatment for LGBTI people, and those services do need greater awareness of LGBTI issues. But a lot of people don’t feel comfortable accessing a mainstream service—we also need better funded LGBTI-specific services,” he commented.
The results of Squirt.org’s survey appear in the following video:
What do you make of these findings? Leave a comment down below.