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The psychological roots of chemsex and how understanding the full picture can help us create meaningful support

Katie Evans (Katie Evans Counselling, London, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 25 January 2019

Issue publication date: 21 February 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the larger picture of chemsex in a hope to understand how to best work with clients therapeutically. The paper’s aim is to acknowledge not just the risk and “negative” aspects but also what might be gained by men engaging in chems use. How can the chemsex space act as a container for emotions and experiences?

Design/methodology/approach

This is a paper based upon cases from within the author’s private practice plus anonymous interviews with men. It comes from a sex positive therapy approach and explores ideas formed within the author's work as a practitioner.

Findings

The findings within this paper showed just how complex an issue chemsex is with many layers to it. The author also found that the most important aspect to bear in mind is that this is a very human issue, with aspects many can relate to such as intimacy, self-esteem, desire for connection and dealing with difficult emotions. By seeing what part it plays in the life of men involved then it is possible to can understand how seductive it could be.

Originality/value

This paper takes a more in-depth look at the psychological roots of chemsex and how these play a part. As this field is explored more, this paper aims to look at chemsex from the idea of pleasure, community and connection so that it is possible to provide the support that is best suited.

Keywords

Citation

Evans, K. (2019), "The psychological roots of chemsex and how understanding the full picture can help us create meaningful support", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 36-41. https://doi.org/10.1108/DAT-10-2018-0062

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited