Gay Men, Sex(uality) and Crystal Meth Use

Drugs are people substitutes, people are drug substitutes¹

As a counsellor I prefer the term “drug use” rather than “addiction.” For many, addiction implies “bad behaviour” and can foster stigma and disempowerment for drug using individuals. One of the main characteristics of counselling is acceptance without judgment, especially when talking about sex with drugs. People use drugs for a reason, often to meet unfulfilled needs. Crystal meth was the most used illicit drug in the gay community during the 90s and early 2000s. While I am not an addictions specialist, about half of the gay men I see for therapy have current or past history of crystal meth problems. A common reason for gay men to use crystal meth relates to social and sexual inhibition and lack of connection to people.

Aspects of gay male subculture are dominated by sex. Within any medium size community, gay men can find sex within 10 minutes via phone apps. While such “hook-ups” frequently result in sexual release, they often do not meet their emotional needs. Many gay men struggle and cope with feelings of being different, or may have experienced various forms of abuse, and therefore question if they are lovable. Crystal may temporarily help users feel free of judgment, facilitate emotional connection with others and provide great pleasure with sexual partners.Crystal can also partially fulfill one’s sexual needs or fantasies, (i.e. engaging in “pig sex”), that otherwise might never be explored due to internal and/or external inhibitions. With reflection and support, these men often identify their desire for connectedness as the most important aspect of being high. Many report that without crystal, sex is boring because they are inhibited and cannot emotionally connect.

Crystal meth is not the problem but the symptom: the symptom of being unable to be free and spontaneous and therefore cannot connect with others. Thus, the primary goal of therapy is not to stop crystal use, but rather to assist the person in acquiring the skills needed to have uninhibited, drug-free and meaningful sex while feeling more connected with partners. This approach may require the therapist to be sexually open and sensitive to these topics in order to assist gay men to more intimately explore their sexual feelings and needs. As counsellors we need to lay the foundations of a nurturing therapeutic relationship that refrains from labels and judgments that disempower a person.  It seems with gay men and crystal use that, truly “drugs are people substitutes,” and with support, ideally “people can become drug substitutes.”

BillColeman

Author: Bill Coleman, counsellor

Biography: Most of Bill’s career has been working with criminals, primarily sexual criminals. He also works in the area of sexual health. Much of his work here has been with gay men at BC Centre for Disease Control, and many years in private practice.  He has also written for the LGBT newspaper, Xtra, on gay men and health. www.bcoleman.ca

¹  (Blachly, 1970) Seduction: A Conceptual Model in the Drug Dependencies and Other Contagious Ills, Paul H. Blachly, M.D., 1970, Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois.

**Please note that the material presented here does not necessarily imply endorsement or agreement by individuals at the Centre for Addictions Research of BC

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Gay Men, Sex(uality) and Crystal Meth Use

  1. You should check your fact before posting. Cannabis consumptions has always surpass Crystal Meth in the gay community.

    • Tommy, Thanks for your comment. In an effort to reduce the word count in the final editing I removed the name of the person who made this statement. Here is the quote:

      “In the 90s and early 2000s, meth became the most used illicit drug among urban gay and bisexual men,” Sloane said. “Crystal meth is harder to control than other abused drugs because of its pharmacology.”

      By removing the name of Sloane it does appear to be my comment, but there is a hyper link to the article in the paragraph.

      Bill

  2. Pingback: Gay Men, Sex(uality) and Crystal Meth Use « BColeman.ca

  3. “Crystal meth was the most used illicit drug in the gay community during the 90s and early 2000s” Absolute statements are always problematic. Suggest MDMA (clean), alcohol, reefer, and tweeking were all very desirable party drugs in the MSM Baltimore community back in the late 70s to late 80s. Lost 5 friends between 82 and 1990. Please be careful. Gonorrhea is becoming incurable. Mischief

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s