Chemsex is gaining ground and growing population. It appears from a study, which was presented on Wednesday at the City Hall in Paris. Behind this portmanteau (“chemicals” for chemical products in English and “sex”) hides a practice which consists of taking psychotropic or synthetic drugs to intensify and prolong intercourse. According to the Sea, Sex and Chems study, it would boom to the point that it becomes a worrying phenomenon for the authorities and the health care system because of the dangers it entails.
If Paris is trying to take the subject in hand, it is because it is “a historic city in Chemsex,” according to Jean-Luc Romero-Michel, assistant to Anne Hidalgo and longtime activist. Originally seen as a practice reserved for men who have sex with men (MSM), it has spread for several years in “all sections of the population, regardless of the sexual orientation or gender of those individuals,” Dorian explains. Cessa, physician and chief coordinator of the study. Incidentally, the phenomenon would have multiplied with the confinements, which broke the usual codes. “And the used products are available with two clicks on the Internet at ridiculous prices,” adds Jean-Luc Romero-Michel. “The distribution of some of its drugs, including 3MMC,” has been “significantly increased since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic,” says Dorian Cessa.
A phenomenon that is difficult to overlook with dramatic consequences
At present, no figures are available on the number of general practitioners, as the phenomenon is so difficult to grasp. To give an idea of the possible extension of Chemsex, Dorian Cessa cites a previous English study which showed that of the 500,000 users of the Grindr application (dating site between men), “between 25 and 30% of the registered” declared s’ indulge in it. An impressive number, especially as the Sea, Sex and Chems survey shows that heterosexuals are still more likely to practice chemsex and that women, mostly also heterosexuals, represent 16.5% of practitioners in the survey. This gives an idea of the extent of the phenomenon.
And he has something to worry about in light of the risks involved. While many cases of coma and death have already been reported, the study shows that Chemsex leads to various addictions, whether it is products or sex. In addition, it alters vigilance against sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
If he specifies that the phenomenon affects all strata of society, “including many CSP +”, Dorian Cessa identifies certain target groups at risk in relation to Chemsex. Fragile populations, such as those who have experienced sex income generation, sexual violence, or HIV infection, are more likely to engage in this practice. Like those who have experienced an early onset of sexuality, sexual dysfunction or a non-binarity is particularly prone to dependence on the products consumed. And behavioral sex addiction especially affects people who are targeted for sexual performance, “very common among MSM and app users,” he comments.
The city of Paris is implementing an information and risk reduction plan
To combat these risks, the city of Paris has announced the establishment of an information and risk reduction plan for Chemsex, which will coordinate the actions of health authorities, associations and the police. “Professionals are surprised by this phenomenon,” explains Anne Souyris, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of health and on the initiative of the plan.
After announcing the creation of a strategic committee “in the coming weeks”, the elected official insisted on the need to communicate with the various parties and on the widest possible dissemination of information on the subject. And Jean-Luc Romero-Michel concludes: “We must absolutely avoid stigmatization and moralizing, they are the worst enemies of prevention. “