“I’m not really a regular on the gay scene in Brighton, certainly not weekly. Possibly once a month and occasionally I meet people [for sex] in person, but it’s usually on the apps, Grindr mostly. The interest in taking drugs during and for sex actually came from meeting people on Grindr, although I don’t remember the first time I had sex with ‘chems’ – it was a few years ago now. I reckon I have sex with people on chems once sometimes twice a month, there are usually a few people involved, on average around five, sometimes people I already know but often online meets. I prefer sex with ‘chems’ than without, I feel that there’s more of a buzz that way. Most of the guys I have sex with are older than me but that’s the age range I’d go for anyway and that’s nothing to do with the drugs. My regular drugs are G and Tina, although M-cat and coke do make an appearance and as a result these parties can last between three and four days, although recently more like one or two. I work shifts across the week and usually find that whatever the day or time there are people around. I’ve slammed (injected) but that’s not a regular thing for me.“I have to say though, since stopping the drugs, my sex life has dropped off the earth – which is actually a bigger struggle than giving up drugs. I’d say that since my chemsex experiences, normalising sex is difficult. I became HIV positive during that time. I passed out at a party after someone put G in my drink, although I was aware that I’d unprotected sex sometimes. I had a f**k buddy I trusted and we were both negative and I felt the sex was better [unprotected] and so when I was partying, I started taking risks. I can think of times when I bare-backed more.
“Back then I was in a job that I hated and for a time my professional life wasn’t making sense to me. The chemsex gave me escape. Then I changed my job, the salary doubled, my responsibilities were different. When my life got better – the drugs went. I’d say that for most people engaging in chemsex, there’s usually something going on causing them to do it. Trying to escape and forget something. When all that gets better, the drugs go away.”