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Chemsex experiences: narratives of pleasure

Chemsex experiences: narratives of pleasure The purpose of this paper is to understand the dynamics of pleasure related to chemsex from the perspective of French gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Recognising that participants in chemsex are social actors, the authors diverge from the prominent “pathology paradigm” used in public health.Design/methodology/approachIn-depth interviews were conducted with gay men and other MSM engaging in chemsex via snowball sampling (n=33). The authors explored the definitions of pleasure and the role of stimulants, sexual activity, smartphones and partners in chemsex pleasures.FindingsChemsex pleasures encompass multiple dimensions that go far beyond bodily pleasures, such as love or romantic relationships, socializing with significant others and sexual discovery through disinhibition. Narratives of pleasure were also, simultaneously, stories of suffering and distress. This dissonance can pose challenges to the participants in chemsex, their entourages and care providers.Practical implicationsGiven that the focus of care for gay men and other MSM is on risk behaviors, the findings of this paper help nurture discussions where pleasure is integrated into a new, value-neutral framework of care that incorporates chemsex pleasures.Originality/valueThis study examined the perspectives of those actually participating in chemsex, allowing gay men and other MSM to relate the entirety of their experiences, in which pleasure is often at the forefront, without restriction. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Drugs and Alcohol Today Emerald Publishing

Chemsex experiences: narratives of pleasure

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1745-9265
DOI
10.1108/dat-09-2018-0043
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to understand the dynamics of pleasure related to chemsex from the perspective of French gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Recognising that participants in chemsex are social actors, the authors diverge from the prominent “pathology paradigm” used in public health.Design/methodology/approachIn-depth interviews were conducted with gay men and other MSM engaging in chemsex via snowball sampling (n=33). The authors explored the definitions of pleasure and the role of stimulants, sexual activity, smartphones and partners in chemsex pleasures.FindingsChemsex pleasures encompass multiple dimensions that go far beyond bodily pleasures, such as love or romantic relationships, socializing with significant others and sexual discovery through disinhibition. Narratives of pleasure were also, simultaneously, stories of suffering and distress. This dissonance can pose challenges to the participants in chemsex, their entourages and care providers.Practical implicationsGiven that the focus of care for gay men and other MSM is on risk behaviors, the findings of this paper help nurture discussions where pleasure is integrated into a new, value-neutral framework of care that incorporates chemsex pleasures.Originality/valueThis study examined the perspectives of those actually participating in chemsex, allowing gay men and other MSM to relate the entirety of their experiences, in which pleasure is often at the forefront, without restriction.

Journal

Drugs and Alcohol TodayEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 21, 2019

Keywords: Pleasure; Dating apps; MSM; Gay men; Chemsex; Party and play; Drug

References