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ID: HR23-322
Presenting author: Awombda Codd

Presenting author biography:

Awombda is a gestalt psychotherapist and is an AOD counsellor at Thorne Harbour Health working with the LGBTIQ community. She has worked in the community sector for over twenty years and has designed and developed training and therapeutic groups. Her passion is facilitating change through therapeutic interventions and social justice.

Sex positive, pleasure, and play

Julia Packard, Awombda Codd
In Australia, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Intersex and Queer populations experience rates of illicit drug use far greater than the general population. Methamphetamine use is particularly high among men who have sex with other men (MSM); up to 35% higher than in the heterosexual population. There are many reasons for this but a common one is the use of meth to enhance mutual sexual pleasure and enable positive exploration of sexual boundaries in a practice known in the community as Chemsex or Party n Play (PnP). However, there can also be a tension experienced by some men between pleasure and risk – with meth use potentially negatively affecting their ability to confidently negotiate safe sexual practices and experience intimacy.

In this presentation, we will explore the intersection of drugs and pleasure and how to work therapeutically through a harm-reduction and queer affirmative framework. We will address how best to support our queer LGBTI+ communities to find agency in seeking pleasure and intimacy with or without substances, whilst also reducing risk of harm to self and others. We will explore how our own sexual bias and judgements can impact the therapeutic alliance. Finally, we will present the emerging trends when working with the LGBTI+ community in an Alcohol and Other Drug counselling context.

We will be drawing on the principles of sexual health and sex positive practises. The format of this clinical presentation combines evidence-based practise, anecdotal stories and therapeutic interventions. By attending this presentation participants will get a deeper understanding of how to work effectively with this population.