Chemsex: What is it and why is it so dangerous?


Chemsex has its origins in the UK and its primary purpose is to increase desire and help people last longer during sex. Synthetic drugs such as crystal meth are often involved here. However, hard drugs aren’t vital, cannabis and CBD can also help to create a particularly intense sexual experience. Join us as we take a closer look at the phenomenon of chemsex.

What is chemsex?

From the UK to the rest of the world: chemsex has become a global trend. Essentially, it involves having sex under the influence of synthetic drugs – a phenomenon that was originally rooted in London’s gay scene. Today, things are different. Today, heterosexual couples are also trying to have a more intense sexual experience with the help of certain substances. Commonly used substances include GHB, ketamine, crystal meth and bath salts. GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and its precursor GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) knock people out and are also known as date rape drugs. In low doses they have a disinhibitory effect, while larger quantities can lead to unconsciousness and respiratory paralysis.

While the use of synthetic drugs undoubtedly carries risks, cannabis or CBD oil is now more often used to get a very unique sexual high. According to studies, cannabis increases libido and provides relaxation at the same time.

No matter what substance ultimately comes into play during chemsex, the primary goal is to experience sex in a more uninhibited and intense way.

Who is into chemsex?

Studies suggest that chemsex is not primarily practiced by typical drug users. It is often men, but more and more often women between 40 and 60 years of age, who have a good level of education tend to seek out the risk. Studies have also shown that many of those who practise chemsex struggle with a lack of self-confidence – especially with regard to their sexuality. The drugs help them to feel good and act more confident.

What are the risks of chemsex?

The fact that chemsex can be dangerous is undisputed. In fact, there are several ways – as many health experts never tire of pointing out. First of all, drug use – in whatever context – is risky and hazardous to health. Crystal and bath salts, for example, are highly addictive, while GHB and GBL are often addictive. The abuse of drugs can also have physical and psychological consequences. Extreme sleep deprivation, often associated with chemsex, is also dangerous. At chemsex parties, it is not uncommon for people to party for days on end without paying attention to physical needs. Last but not least, chemsex carries the risk of sexually transmitted infections, as many have unprotected sex with different partners. If the drugs are injected, the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C increases.

Sex and cannabis – the less risky version of chemsex

As mentioned above, hard drugs do not necessarily have to come into play during chemsex. Many cannabis users report particularly positive sex experiences. In India, for example, cannabis was already used as an aphrodisiac 3000 years ago. It is said that cannabis can make sex better by relaxing and making the experience more intense.

Marijuana can increase libido and thus cause particularly intense pleasure after consumption. Dr. Michael Eisenberg from Stanford University investigated the connection between sex problems and the use of cannabis and concluded that the herb can certainly improve sex life – as long as it is consumed in moderation. Prof. Michael Sommer, President of the German Society for Men’s Health, also considers the link to be conclusive, pointing out that moderate cannabis use generally makes you more relaxed.

However, it should be considered that people react completely differently to the use of cannabis. So the positive effects just mentioned do not necessarily occur in every person.

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A few years ago, Julia Heyne moved to Berlin. Not because of love, but to deal with love on a daily basis. She headed the erotic department at for seven years and because that wasn't enough love, lust and passion, she wrote a book about online dating in 2016. Today she has renounced online dating, but continues to write for O*Diaries about the most beautiful minor matter in the world. In her spare time, she also enjoys unromantic things like mountaineering, reading and ghostwriting for various book projects.