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[Perspectives] Chemsex exposed

William Fairman and Max Gogarty’s documentary Chemsex (video) is about the culture of drug-fuelled sex parties on London’s gay scene. Group hookups, or chillouts, have been made very easy through smartphone apps such as Grindr and Scruff. They are a form of social relaxation and provide access to the safety of tribe membership in a homophobic world. The drugs used at these parties are chiefly γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and γ-butyrolactone (GBL), or G, crystallised methamphetamine, and mephedrone. But some participants find themselves drawn increasingly into compulsive sexual and self-medicating behaviours, exposing themselves to health risks that are both physical and mental.