staying safer when engaging in chemsex

If you’re taking part in chemsex, take precautions


When engaging in chemsex, take steps to keep yourself and others as safe as possible.

chemsex safety:

‘Chemsex’ is the term used to describe sexual activity, which often involves a group of people under the influence of one or more specific types of drug.

These drugs are called Methamphetamine, Mephedrone, and GHB/GBL. The effects of these drugs can make people feel very happy, relaxed, connected to others, and can lower inhibitions. For these reasons, some people take them to have more intense sex. However, there are always risks associated with any substance use so we have put together some tips to help you stay safer if you choose to engage in Chemsex.

taking care of yourself and others during a chemsex session:

If you are going to take part in Chemsex it is important to prepare by taking steps to keep you and others as safe as possible. The advice below contains a number of ways to look after your wellbeing and reduce any associated risks.

before the session starts:
  • go with someone you trust – Do you know someone else who will be there? Make plans to travel to and from with them. If not, let someone know where you plan to be and update them if the plan changes.
  • set boundaries – While sober, have a conversation with everyone to exchange sexual boundaries and your personal substance limits. This might also include mention of physical limits/injuries, allergies or prescribed medication. All these things will help ensure you are safe and respected.
  • remember prescribed medication – if you take any prescribed medication, take it with you. If they need to be taken at specific times, set reminders on your phone so you don’t forget.
during the session:
  • administer drugs safely – See more details further down or visit our page on reducing harm and drug use.
  • take care of your body – The effects of some drugs you take may mean you forget or don’t feel like eating, drinking or resting. Maybe set reminders so you don’t forget.
  • drink water regularly to stay hydrated

    take small sips regularly and do not exceed more than one pint per hour

  • even if you’re not hungry, try to eat small amounts regularly

    drugs can stop you feeling hunger

  • take breaks outside the sex setting

    find somewhere dark and quiet to relax or sleep if you can

  • take care of each other – Looking out for each other will keep you safer too. Stick to the boundaries you agreed on together while you were sober. If you need help call for help. Don’t worry about getting in trouble, your safety is more important.
  • always use barrier protection during sex

    condoms, femidoms or other barrier protection

  • having sex with someone without their consent is a criminal offence

    if you can’t be sure about someone’s ability to consent, stop immediately

  • call 999 if someone gets ill

    if they become incoherent or unconscious, or someone has overdosed

after the session:
  • get home safely – Travel with someone if you can, message each other when you get home and check in on your friends later.
  • get tested – Chemsex can make you more likely to engage in risk-taking sexual behaviours so you should routinely get tested to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STI test kits can be ordered online and delivered discreetly to your home in unmarked packages. Or book an appointment if you’re experiencing symptoms.


Your GP or local sexual health clinic should be able to help you get tested and treated for most STIs, but if you’re nervous about discussing your gender or sexual identity, specialist services exist.

drug safety:

Quick tips for drug safety. (For a complete guide on harm reduction and drug use, click here.)

always administer your own drugs:

You should not let anyone prepare your dose as we all have different tolerances (how much our bodies can handle before negative or unwanted effects take over) and only you can judge yours.

avoid mixing drugs if you can:

Be wary that you may not know exactly what you are getting, and the purity and potency of drugs can vary. Mixing drugs can make it more difficult to know your limits and stay in control, which can increase risk and make it harder for you to stay safe. If you take prescribed medication, factor this in your plans.

use clean administering equipment – don’t share!:

Syringes and items used for snorting drugs should never be shared (straws/notes).

If you’re using a syringe to take drugs via the anus, dilute the solution with fresh, clean water and use a clean syringe without a needle.

reducing effects:

If you want to reduce the strength of the drugs you are taking, there are a couple of things you can do.

  1. Dissolve drugs in water or wrap them in paper before swallowing.
  2. Try to avoid injecting drugs as this can dramatically increase the intensity of effect.
  3. Wait 2 hours between doses (especially GHB/GBL) to see how it is affecting you.


If you feel like your drug use is an issue and want to do something about it, there are lots of services and resources you can access as an LGBTQ+ person.