Party and play (abbreviated as PnP, also called chem-sex or wired play) is the term used to describe taking drugs in the hope of enhancing sexual activity and is typically carried out by men who have sex with men.
A 2014 study (Bourne A, Reid D, Hickson F, Torres Rueda S, Weatherburn P) found that one of the key reasons for taking drugs before and during sex was to boost sexual confidence and reduce feelings of self-doubt, regarding feelings of “internalised homophobia” from society, concerns about an HIV diagnosis, or “guilt related to having or desiring gay sex”. A key self-confidence issue for study participants was body image, a concern that was heightened by the focus on social networking apps on appearance. Men were also anxious about their sexual performance, and as such, taking drugs can reduce these anxieties and enable them to enjoy sex more.
Also, when people know their sexual partner and they have a good understanding of each other’s boundaries/limitation and trust exists that they will respect is present, the use of drugs and chemicals when having sex can be a euphoric experience. Whilst risks are always present when using drugs and chemicals, many people still engage in using because they believe the benefits outweigh the risks, or their past experiences have enabled them to feel that they can appropriately manage the risks.
Dave Wells believes it is important from a harm-minimisation perspective to develop an understanding of the positive feelings or effects that motivate people to use drugs (whether in a sexual or general nature), as well as the negative consequences. People will always seek out substances to enhance their being and whether we like it or not, people will always engage in drug taking activities. By being aware of the positive motivations for such activity, a non-judgmental approach can be taken when dealing with clients and helping them make better educated decisions and ensure preventative initiatives are in place to lessen or negate risk associated with the activity.
There are typically three specific ‘chems’ (drugs) involved: Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth), Mephedrone (Meth), GHB and GBL (G).
Methamphetamine is often used recreationally for its effects as a potent aphrodisiac, euphoriant, and stimulant. Other common names for methamphetamine include blue, crystal, ice, meth, and speed.
Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is a synthetic cathinone which is closely related chemically to amphetamines and is stimulant. Slang names include bath salts, drone, M-CAT, White Magic and meow meow.
GHB (Gamma hydroxybutyrate) and GBL (Gamma butyrolactone) are anaesthetic with primarily sedating rather than painkilling properties. It is often sold as ‘liquid ecstasy’ because of its relaxant and euphoric effects, although it has no relationship to ecstasy.
Other Drugs and Chemicals used for sex:
Amyl/Butyl Nitrate (poppers): These increase pulse rate, cause dizziness and relaxation of involuntary muscles especially the blood vessel walls and the anal sphincter. Amyl should not be used if you have taken an erectile dysfunction medication such as Viagra, etc. This can be a deadly combination cause cardio-vascular problems.
Ketamine belongs to a class of drugs called “dissociative anaesthetics,” which separate perception from sensation. Other drugs in this category include PCP, DXM and nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
Other drugs used include: Marijuana/Hash etc, Coke & Crack, Valium, Xanax.
What are the risks of chem-sex?
The fact is that all drugs have one thing in common; they can impair and reduce the user’s judgement and abilities.
- Consuming drugs and chemicals can lower inhibitions therefore enhancing opportunities for sex. Having sexual engagement when a person’s judgement and abilities are altered can lead to putting themselves at risk of contracting diseases and physical damage.
- Anyone who takes illegal drugs is putting their health at risk. As the substances are unregulated, there is no way to be certain that people are buying them in a safe form.
- Not only do users run the risk of becoming addicted, overdosing on drugs can be fatal.
- The altered mind and physical state of the person/s having sex can lead to users contracting sexual transmitted diseases, including HIV.
- Drugs and Chems make pain bearable. Pain is a message to the person experiencing it to stop the activity because it is causing damage. When we reduce or eliminate pain (outside of a medical setting) we do not receive these messages therefore we continue with the activity without the awareness of the damage that it could be doing.