Sigma Research

Chemsex: exploring sex and drugs among gay men in south London

Duration: August 2013 - March 2014

South London Chemsex study

This small qualitative study explored drug use in sexual contexts among gay men who lived in South London. It concentrated on men who had used any of the three main chemsex drugs - crystal methamphetamine, GHB/GBL and mephedrone either immediately before, or during sex with other men. We explored perceived norms about drug use in the gay scene; mens’ experiences of using drugs during sex (both good and bad); if or how they think about HIV or STIs when they are having sex on drugs; and whether they have ever sought help to manage their drug use or sexual behaviour. From October 2013 to January 2014 we conducted 30 in-depth interviews and two focus groups with gay and bisexual men who lived in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham, areas of high HIV prevalence with a large gay social scenes. We also interviewed a range of key informants who provided services to gay men involved with chemsex.

The research was commissioned by Lambeth Council, on behalf of the London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham.

Key contact: Adam Bourne