COVID-19 & Chemsex

COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) is a new virus. We don’t know a lot about what it means for chemsex yet, but we do know a couple of things. Here’s what you need to keep in mind about COVID-19 and chemsex:

1. Don’t hook up

That’s the most important thing you can do right now. By not hooking up, you’re protecting yourself, other guys you might hook up with and of course, everyone else (including the NHS). Chemsex can affect our immune system and can lead to us getting more infections like colds when we use them a lot. This means by not hooking up, you’re reducing your chance of being exposed to COVID-19.

2. Stopping will not be easy

We know lots of guys are now going through physical and mental withdrawals from using chems and having sex. If you’re experiencing withdrawals from chems, it’s caused by your body getting used to not having substances. When it comes to sex, you might be missing something you enjoy too. Moving to a world of no chemsex without being ready can be daunting. But keep in mind that it is normal to not feel yourself and miss the sex you were having.

3. Withdrawals will pass

The feelings of withdrawal may last a few days to a few weeks. You might feel a bit confused, anxious, depressed or all over the place. You might have intense cravings for both the chems and the sex you were having. It’s normal to feel how you’re feeling. Physical withdrawal from chems might mean you feel unwell and experience symptoms that are flu-like such as headaches, aches and pains. In extreme cases, some people may face more severe issues like seizures. Remember, in an emergency dial 999. Stopping some drugs (particularly GHB/GBL or benzos) by going cold turkey can be dangerous so speak with your GP or local drug support service to help you get through it safely. 

4. It’s okay to not be okay

Life without chemsex can have a big impact on your mental health. If you need support, we’re here to help – get in touch. You can also find specific information about mental health and COVID-19 here. However, you might feel a sense of loss when you stop having chemsex, so remember to reach out for support if you need it.

5. Connect, connect, connect!

Try to stay connected with people online, talk with friends, chat with other guys and even get connected sexually online! If you have existing mental health problems, it might feel worse when you are not having chemsex. But again, it’s normal to feel this way. If you think you are at risk of suicide or, might harm yourself then call 999 to speak with someone now. Breathing Space and the Samaritans can also help. It is okay to feel anxious, depressed and worried during this time, but try to allow yourself some time to focus on other things to learn ways to manage your worries safely

6. Learn to love yourself

Let’s be honest, we’re going to be spending a lot of time thinking and worrying about the uncertainty – and a lot of time spent with yourselves as company! However, during times like this, it’s important to spend time getting to know yourself a bit better, like what helps you take care of yourself and feel good – especially when coming off chems! Here’s some tips to get you started:

  • Get plenty of rest:- You’ll be tired during the first few days coming off chems, have plenty of rest and head to bed early if you need it.
  • Eat healthy and well:- Allow yourself to eat a balanced diet, but sometimes have a nice treat because you deserve it!
  • Exercise:- Even though we can’t get out and about as much as we would like exercise, can help reduce your stress.
  • Masturbation:- We might not be hooking up with guys at the moment physically, but spending some time with yourself, getting to know your body, finding out what gives you pleasure and feeling comfortable with your own touch is a great way to start loving yourself again. Don’t forget you can still chat online, have cam sex and get off with others remotely and sometimes it allows you to be more engaged in your own fantasies. Just make sure you are keeping aware of the risks and the laws around sex and online.
  • Connect Online:- Right now we may feel alone, try and connect with friends and family online or on the phone.
  • Take up a new hobby:- Do something you have always wanted to do but not had the time. There are lots of free classes online, spend some time googling and try something new!

What if you’re struggling?

If you’re struggling with chemsex, reach out – it's okay to not be okay. We are here to support you through it. You can also catch us online by using our dedicated live chat service, drop us a message on social media or on our contact page.

We have become aware of some changes in the chems available and the quality of them. If you access chems during this time, they may be different to what you are used to getting, including being cut differently. Our colleagues at Crew have useful information on this and implications of the COVID 19 on drugs here