Let’s talk about the ‘drug’-aspects of “chemsex” problems?
Not so much the “what and how” -that is food for other posts- but more the “why?”
If your sexuality is different from that so-called ‘normal’, then there are often extra points of attention regarding… substance use. Be welcome (because yes, I’m kink-aware).
What goes wrong in Chemsex treatments?
In the first part of this trilogy we talked more about he ‘porn’-, the ‘friction’-side and the ‘top’ aspects of chemsex and in the second we’ve talked about the ‘bottom’ and intimate aspects of chems..
Chems as ‘entry’
Along the way before this, it may have become clear that in my view it should not so much be about putting “stopping” at the forefront of an approach to substance use. It is much more about examining the reasons under substance use.
It is not the “Why Not” question that is important if you want to learn to regulate substance use, but the “Why-Do” question. Because exactly that is what triggers the next usage.
Of course it is useful to emphasize that the realistic assessment of both the risks of sex and the risks of drug use quite reduces due to drug use. But it has now become very clear that the ”just say no” approach to substance use is an unfortunate example of the ‘War on drugs’ which actually means that drug use has continued smoothly in our society for 50 years.
Precisely attention to “alternatives & acceptance”, attention to coping strategies of the difficult, often emotional aspects of life that probably help better for these customers. Especially in a period of their lives when many of our customers mainly have in mind the quick-fix ‘manufacturability’ of life.
Especially the abstinence pitfall that people often fall into (“I used one, I’m not abstinent anymore anyway, then I might as well continue”) is a pitfall that we can circumvent if we teach our customers to look more realistically at drug use.
Namely: “on the way to better regulation of your own resource use, you probably will slip a few times. Then it is important not to lie down, but to scramble up as soon as possible with as little shame as possible. Then it is important to continue on your way to your own balance! It’s not about adapting to the practitioners’ idea, it’s about questioning and making the own idea more realistic.
Of course, every slipup comes with risks. But in my view it is precisely the denying of the large chance of slippage… (and therefore the great importance of learning to scramble up) much more risk for the people who regularly use drugs to spice up their sex.
If we stop from pursuing just “abstinence” but instead start looking for “self-regulation”, people are more likely to admit their ‘slips-ups’ and start to learn so that the frequency decreases and the intensity decreases. Of course, that’s an approach that doesn’t “sell” so sexy to our clients’ anxious parents and partners. Not nearly as ‘soothing’ as appealing to the fantasy that it “could be over in one go” (cynically often supplemented with words like “with my treatment” ). Then we will look at the actual figures of practitioners who say that they “prevent 80% relapse”. But it is a much more realistic long-term approach, precisely because people are prepared to learn form their own experience. Furthermore, there is a chance that people will overshoot in their use precisely because the idea of abstinence “is already obsolete anyway”.
This opens the way for you to look at “reducing frequency” instead of “stopping”. This allows you to look at “reducing the amount” instead of “nothing at once”. This allows you to watch to ways of ingestion (“swallow instead of sniff”, “sniff instead of slaming/injecting”) that are less risky, so you can look at other drugs – with different risks – as a way to treat the more heavily addictive drugs rather than having to “go back to coffee and nicotine” all at once. I’d have rather someone cannabis to beter their sexlife than slamming TINA.
Knowledge of substances, and therefore also knowledge of the designer drugs that have been on the market for a short time is important. A realistic assessment of substance use in the ‘scene’ is important (and not <Rant=”on”> those nonsense thoughts such as the comment that ”Crystal Meth is just a ‘gay drug’ in Europe” which I have come across at scientific conferences about addiction care… Nota Bene: that’s what they said about HIV in the 80’s. </end Rant>)
Of course, the path of graduality carries the risk that serious accidents can happen along the way – during slips-ups, that is true. On the other hand, I think we have to recognize that the lack of response to slippages of the abstinence approach means that people “relapse” more often (and more violently!).
the chemsex party culture
You often see that people also get a more realistic look at the party culture of the chemsex parties they go to. We don’t mean much to the people who thrive on anonymous parties where various drugs are used, that’s a kick, that’s their wish.
“Quick fix” is in the way of “slow healing”
You see in a number of cases that people have become more careful, and especially pickier, in the choice of sex parties due to a more open-minded treatment. They tend to prefer parties where there is closer attention to each other when it comes to the risk of certain drugs or overdose (“no, a ‘G-nap’ is not innocent” -unconsciousness due to excessive GHB-) as well as parties where there is more friendship, brotherhood, intimacy without drug use.
I see that people are actually looking for friendships in which sexual skills can be practised, that seems like an important step for “horny bastards”. So let’s not judge that under the ‘healthy people’ are simply people with more and with less horny impulses than you as a therapist.
When we envision a more realistic chemsex approach, I think we as practitioners need to become more open-minded, both about sex and about chems. Because when we start preaching messages that make our customers chuckle, we’ve missed the boat.
In the first part of this trilogy we talked more about he ‘porn’-, the ‘friction’-side and the ‘top’ aspects of chemsex and in the second we’ve talked about the ‘bottom’ and intimate aspects of chems…
So, let’s talk (online?) 🙂
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