Meth and sex
Methamphetamine is an amphetamine and stimulant (a drug that speeds up your body) that is commonly used during party and play (PnP).
It's also known as Crystal Meth, P, Tina, and Meth.
The purpose of this article is to provide information on how meth can impact sex and how to keep yourself and partners safe when taking meth in a PnP setting.
If you are looking for support changing your relationship with meth, then check out ReWired, a non-judgemental programme for people using methamphetamine that want to change their relationship with it.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a safe level of drug use but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and stay safer.
Meth can make you feel hyperactive, paranoid, euphoric, and aggressive. The effects can be unpredictable, especially when mixed with alcohol and other drugs.
It can also make you feel very sexual - but coupled with other effects such as dryness and increased muscle tension, sex can be rougher and more painful. It can also increase the time it takes you to reach orgasm.
The main effects last up to 8 hours with after-effects up to three days later. Using larger doses over longer periods can result in agitation, mood swings, paranoia, hallucinations, or seizures.
Knowing your HIV and STI status, and knowing what’s in the drugs you’re taking, are the first steps you should take to stay safer when using meth while having sex.
Test your gear
Make sure that you know what you’re using is what you think it is. Meth can be tested at a drug checking clinic with a spectrometer. You may also request to test your meth for fentanyl with a testing strip.
Drug testing is a free, legal, and confidential service. Head over to The Level to find a drug checking clinic near you.
You can also test meth yourself with reagent tests.
You can see your options for an in-person HIV and STI test or order an at-home test here.
Make sure you are getting the following tests whenever you have a sexual health screen:
- Urine sample plus throat and rectal swabs for chlamydia, gonorrhoea;
- Blood tests for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis C (especially important if you have been injecting drugs);
- It's also a good idea to check you have up-to-date hepatitis A & B vaccinations as well as HPV.
Consider swallowing and waiting an hour before redosing.
Swallowing meth or mixing it into a drink can help avoid the damage other methods, like injecting, can have on your body. This method delivers the drug to your body more slowly, so wait for 1 hour before re-dosing even if you don’t feel the effects straight away. Re-dosing too quickly can increase your chance of overdose.
Use a glass shatterproof pipe if you are smoking meth.
These pipes will prevent you from getting cuts or burns when using. If you have a pipe that has a broken edge it is best to avoid using it. If you can, use a mouthpiece so you don't burn your lips on the pipe. Avoid sharing pipes with others as this can spread disease and infection.
Smoking and swallowing meth are the safer ways to use when it comes to risk of HIV transmission.
If you are injecting meth, use clean equipment every time.
Use clean and new needles, filters and butterflies and sterile water every time you inject meth. You can get these from needle exchanges across New Zealand. This helps to reduce skin infections and the transmission of HIV and hepatitis that you can get from sharing needles.
If you are HIV-negative, using PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) will significantly reduce the risk of acquiring HIV (up to 99%). Though PrEP is very effective at preventing HIV transmission through sex, we don’t have enough reliable data around its effectiveness with needle transmissions.
Some people shaft or boof meth, which means inserting it into the anus. Shafting meth is not recommended as it can increase the risk of acquiring HIV because it can damage the lining of the anus, creating a potential entry point for HIV. To stay safer, avoid this method if you can.
Know your dosages
Common doses for meth can be very different depending on how you are taking them (orally, injecting, smoking). Visit tripsit for more information on dosing meth to ensure you are doing it appropriately.
You won't get in trouble if you tell them you've used drugs.
Overdoses on meth are not uncommon in New Zealand, especially if you use it often or in large amounts.
If you are using meth during sex, it is important to know what overdose or bad trips can look like for you and your partner(s).
You might feel anxious, paranoid, irritable, nauseous or jittery. You might feel hot-and-cold or feel like there’s something crawling on your skin.
- Take a break from having sex until you feel better.
- Move to somewhere quiet – try to sit or lie down and do something relaxing.
- Focus on breathing – try taking slow, deep breaths.
- If you are able, call and talk to somebody you trust and ask them to help keep you calm.
- Do not take more meth, caffeine, alcohol or other drugs, as these can make you feel worse.
- Drink water to stay hydrated.
If you have more severe symptoms, like worsening mental health, hallucinations, bladder problems, diarrhoea, vomiting or feeling very hot or sweaty, call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116) . You won't get in trouble if you tell them you've used drugs.
Psychosis, trouble breathing, seizures, numbness on one side of your body, high fevers and losing consciousness are a medical emergency. Call 111.
The effects after using meth or other drugs are called a comedown.
If you're coming down from meth, you may: feel tired, have trouble concentrating or thinking, get cravings, have aches and pains, experience mood swings or feel anxious or irritable, have memory problems or have difficulty sleeping.
You can try…
- Get plenty of rest and sleep.
- Remember to eat and drink plenty of water.
- Get moving to release feel-good brain chemicals.
- Reach out and talk with friends and whānau for support.
- Relax and do things that you enjoy to take your mind off not feeling well.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other drugs.
- Practise mindfulness and deep breathing and try writing down your thoughts and feelings.
If any of these symptoms intensify or don't go away, then call a doctor or Healthline 0800 611 116. They can talk you through the next steps.
If the symptoms worsen and/or you or your partner(s) experience:
- Trouble breathing
- Severe chest pain
- Violent behaviours
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of consciousness
...Call 111. These are signs that something more serious is going on. You or the people around you should act quickly.
Our friends from The Level/ NZ Drug Foundation have shared some tips here on how to stay safer if you are using methamphetamine during sex.
If you’re a guy (cis or trans) who has sex with other guys and wants support to review, reduce or stop your meth-use, then ReWired is for you.