Before or during sex, sometimes we use recreational substances, like alcohol, weed, poppers, meth (also known as crystal meth or Tina), MDMA, cocaine, or GHB. This is for various reasons, like helping us to relax, enhancing our pleasure, etc.
We may use these substances alone, with a partner, and/or in PnP (Party and Play) settings, a subculture where people use drugs while having sex.
Taking substances can affect our ability to negotiate sex, be aware of things (e.g., any tears or bleeding while having sex), and make our best decisions about our sexual health. So, here’s some tips for using in safer ways.
- Start slow. In any session of using, try starting with low amounts and longer breaks between stints of using.
- Take care if mixing drugs. What you’re using might change the actions or side effects of any other drugs you’re taking, like other recreational drugs, T, HIV meds, etc. Check out Substance Use on the Resources page for more information.
- Avoid sharing equipment. For example, pipes, straws, and dollar bills.
- Use with people you trust. Alternatively, you could let someone you trust know that you’re using so that they can check on you if they don’t hear from you.
- Watch your walls. If taken through the front hole or anally, certain drugs like meth can damage these walls (especially if taken anally). This can allow HIV and Hep C to be transmitted more easily.
- Have food and water on hand at all times. This prevents dehydration and/or the substance hitting you harder.
- Watch for signs of an overdose:
- Stay informed: Keep up with the latest trends on the drugs you’re taking.
- The signs include but aren’t limited to slurred speech, unconsciousness, shallow breathing, clammy skin, a weak pulse, and falling into a coma. If you see any of these signs in someone who’s using, it’s best to check in with them to make sure they’re safe.
- Having a naloxone kit on hand can help reverse an opioid overdose long enough to get the person medical attention. Certain provinces or pharmacies provide free naloxone kits and training. Even if you use a naloxone kit, also call 911, since more monitoring and treatment may be needed.
- Use new equipment every time. Reusing or sharing needles can transmit HIV, Hep B, and Hep C, and cause other issues, like bacterial blood infections. To get safer injecting supplies for free, visit your local harm reduction service.
- Prepare before injecting. For example, having clean cookers and spoons, filters, distilled water, and alcohol swabs.
- Not all needles are the same. It’s best to use the right needle size for the substance and the place you’re injecting.