Presenting author: Yannick Gaudette
Presenting author biography:
Yannick Gaudette is a doctoral student in social work at the Université du Québec à Montréal. His doctoral dissertation aims to better understand the affects associated with methamphetamine use in the context of chemsex among men who have sex with men.
Individual and community harm reduction strategies for those who practice chemsex in Quebec
Background: Chemsex is defined as the use of certain psychoactive substances by sexually diverse men, particularly methamphetamine, GHB, ketamine and mephedrone, to prolong sexual relations, heighten pleasure, and explore sexual subjectivity. The scientific literature has mainly focused on the possible physical, psychological, social, and sexual repercussions of chemsex. However, few studies have documented individual and community strategies to reduce these potential impacts. The purpose of this presentation is to identify individual and community strategies that people use to minimize the risks associated with chemsex, keeping themselves and their partners safe.
Methodology: 64 semi-structured interviews were conducted with sexually diverse men and non-binary individuals who had used or were using methamphetamine in a sexual context. Participants were asked about strategies employed in managing their use, and the strategies in mitigating safety risks for themselves and their partners. A thematic analysis was then conducted.
Results: Participants identified many individual strategies for minimizing the risks of chemsex: Learning about the substances associated with chemsex, avoiding combining substances, using sterile drug paraphernalia, in addition to using in safe spaces. Strategies for keeping their partners safe included discussing substances and sexual practices in which they were partaking to ensure consent and providing direct assistance to those in need.
Conclusion: The results support the need of continued implementation of harm reduction initiatives for people who practice chemsex by building on their existing individual and community strategies. In addition, the results also support the need to develop support services that address sexuality within the context of chemsex to promote discussions about sexual practices and consent within this community.