Sex, drugs, and staying safer
Originally published by The Level NZ.
Knowing what your experience will be like if you choose to combine drugs with sex can be difficult, because so much comes down to how much you take, your individual body, your mindset at the time, and who you are with. With that in mind, there are some common effects you may experience while having sex on certain drugs. Check some of these out below - plus tips on how to be safer.
Alcohol can make you feel less inhibited and more relaxed. Because of this, you may be more likely to do things you wouldn’t when sober. Alcohol can also make sex feel less stimulating, and because of this, can affect a person’s ability to get an erection and make it more difficult for you to orgasm.
Cannabis reduces your inhibitions and can make you feel more relaxed. You may be more likely to initiate sex. If you smoke for longer periods of time however, you may feel less like having sex. Cannabis can also cause dryness – meaning penetration can be more painful (use lube!).
Alcohol can make you feel less inhibited and more relaxed. Because of this, you may be more likely to do things you wouldn’t when sober.
MDMA is known as the “love drug” for a reason. When you take MDMA, you may have a strong sense of warmth towards others and feel that everyone around you is loving. It’s good to keep this chemical effect in mind - you may not be as discerning with potential partners as you would normally be. Having an orgasm on MDMA can also be more difficult, and you may experience muscle tension and dryness. Also be aware that MDMA raises your body temperature, and can cause you to overheat.
G (or GHB/GBL)
G can make you feel really sexual. It also has anesthetic properties and numbs the nervous system. It is one of the common drugs used in chemsex. If you take G, you may not be as aware of what is happening, which can reduce your ability to consent. Too much G can cause unconsciousness.
Cocaine can give you more confidence and enhance your libido. However, it can also cause you to be self-centered and pay less attention to your partner, so knowing boundaries from the outset and checking in with them regularly during sex is important.
Cocaine increases your energy levels, which means you could be more likely to have rougher/harder sex. Because cocaine can also cause numbness, this can make you more likely to sustain injury. If you use a lot of cocaine, getting an erection or having an orgasm can be more difficult. Using cocaine over a long period of time can cause sober sex to become less enjoyable or pleasurable.
Knowing boundaries from the outset and checking in with them regularly during sex is important.
Poppers (amyl nitrates)
Poppers are commonly used for anal sex, as they relax the sphincter muscles which makes it easier to have penetrative sex. Poppers cause people to feel more sexual quickly. They can also cause nausea and palpitations. Poppers have been known to cause a loss of erection, and because of this, some people have taken Viagra at the same time to counteract this effect. This is dangerous – combining Poppers and Viagra can cause a serious drop in blood pressure that can be fatal.
Ketamine can make you feel really sexual. One thing to be aware of is that ketamine causes a loss of sensation, which makes you less aware of pain. This means you aren’t aware if the sex is painful, which can result in injury. Ketamine can also cause dryness.
If you use too much ketamine, you may end up in a “k-hole” – a dissociative/unconscious state. Falling into a k-hole can happen suddenly, so establishing boundaries with your partner from the outset is important.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant which means it speeds up bodily functions. It is one of the common drugs used in chemsex. It can make some people feel very sexual. It causes dryness and increases muscle tension, which makes gentle and careful movements more difficult – meaning sex can be rougher and more painful. It can also take longer to reach orgasm.
LSD is a hallucinogen, so it changes your perception of people and things around you. You may become so distracted by what’s going on in your head, you may not be able to stay sexually aroused. You may have completely different thoughts or feelings than you do when you’re sober. The effects of LSD also vary hugely for each person, so while having sex, your experience may be completely different from your partner’s. As a result, you may feel more disconnected from them.
For me, it's important I still enjoy sex sober too. So I make combining sex and drugs the exception, not the rule.
If you choose to combine drugs with sex, keep it fun and stay safe by:
- Setting ground rules when you’re sober around what you do/don’t want.
- Knowing the ground rules of your partner(s). Make an agreement beforehand (when you’re sober) about your boundaries.
- Checking in with your partner(s) during sex. Don’t assume that consent is implied.
- Using condoms and lube. You may be more likely to forget to use a condom when under the influence, so have one handy in your pocket or somewhere you won’t miss it.
- Avoiding mixing drugs with any other drugs (including alcohol).