How To Play Safer On Drugs

Above: Photography by fashion and beauty photographer Jamie Nelson.

On the dance floor, the guy you’ve been pawing presses his thumb to your ear to muffle the music and shouts, “DO YOU WANT A MOLLY?” You nod affirmatively.

The night ahead may be frightening or mind-blowing, depending on the roll. Some guys like uppers, some like downers, some like losing control, others prefer to retain it. Despite our long history of drug use, some gay men never touch mind-altering substances — but most of us, in my experience, will.

I mentioned drugs briefly in my slideshow “17 Tips for Happier, Healthier Bottoming,” which ran in The Advocate last week for my column Sexy Beast. Here’s an excerpt:

Sex drugs are invariably part of our world, so it would be a disservice for me to say “Don’t do drugs” and let that be the end of it. I am not sweepingly anti-drug, although I believe certain substances — heroin, meth — should be avoided. Drugs come with a plethora of risks all on their own. They can lower your ability to fight infection, may diminish the efficacy of your antiretroviral medication, and can obviously cause severe addictions along with a slew of harmful side effects.

If you want more tips on better bottoming, check out the full article. Here, I will expound more on sex drugs, because after the slideshow ran last week, I received a few messages online from people asking for more info.

Rule number one: Extreme sex acts like fisting, kinky play, and BDSM should be done sober, at least when you’re a beginner. Kink and BDSM are about pushing your mental and physical limits and playing with the wide range of sensations, both pleasurable and painful, that the body can feel. Drugs can limit your ability to perceive pain, meaning you might push yourself too far and get badly hurt. Never play with a Dominant, Sir or Master who is drunk or high, because his ability to read your body language and your breathing will be impaired, and he can hurt you.


Fisting is one of the most intense and erotic experiences you can have with someone else. It’s my favorite sex act and close to my heart. Going a little slower and being sober will not diminish the indescribable sensation once he finally gets his hand in your butt. The excellent book Fist Me! The Complete Guide To Fisting, written by Stephan Niederwieser, is one I recommend for anyone with fisting aspirations.

If you take drugs at a dance club or circuit party, as most everyone present will be doing, have someone there who you can check in with regularly. As with alcohol, never get in a car with a high driver behind the wheel. Uber and Lyft are the must-have apps on your phone. As far as specific drugs go, you should steer clear of injecting anything into your body — injection drugs invite Hep C infection, which can result in lifelong, chronic liver disease.

Since the big gay drug of the moment is crystal meth, I have to talk about it more in-depth. The long-term effects of Tina (crystal meth) are worse than the short-term effects. I say all this as a recovering crystal meth addict. Over time, the drug will permanently rewire the ways your brain experiences sexual pleasure and can quickly create a dependency — a need to be high on meth in order to have any kind of sex. Long-term addicts usually go a step further and find that they struggle to do any daily tasks without using meth.

Tina makes perfect sense as a sex drug. It makes the fantasy of having rough, marathon sex for days an achievable reality. While I agree that these fantasies are very hot (I have them too), your body has natural limits which are easy to overstep or ignore on meth. If you must use Tina, avoid injecting, and set reminders on your phone telling you to drink water frequently — a good rule of thumb with most drugs. Also, brush your teeth often while using and use mouthwash, since meth’s most common side effect is severe dry mouth, which can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay (not to mention really bad breath).


The other popular drug is G, or GHB. Never combine GHB with alcohol — the results can be fatal. This is a well-known fact that astoundingly many guys seem to still not know. In general, it is unwise to combine drugs. Some guys swear that certain drugs aid and enhance each other — GHB and Molly (MDMA, Ecstasy) is a common pairing, G and Tina, Molly and ketamine, Tina and ketamine — but the fact remains that you never know how drugs will interact with each other, so there is always some risk in combining them.

The drug I have the most experience with is Ecstasy/MDMA. Many people today call it “Molly” and claim that the little pills they are popping are a purer form of MDMA without the cut — without other, speedier substances mixed in. I have a lot of skepticism about the claim that there is any real difference between E and Molly, mainly because it is a synthetic drug, so you really have no idea what you’re taking.

MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly, E, XTC, X) is an empathogenic stimulant that releases the brain’s natural stores of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters that regulate empathy and arousal. The result? Unbridled horniness, intense feelings of empathy (which can lead to some very beautiful conversations), and typically some hallucinogenic effects — brighter colors, richer sounds, and a heightened sense of touch.

As I wrote in my slideshow, E/Molly will act as an accelerant (as will most stimulants), meaning that unless you have done a thorough cleaning and have fasted beforehand, the drug will probably make you poop, and require you to douche again before sex.

Ecstasy pills

Harm reduction saves lives. Since people are going to do things that are unsafe, including very powerful drugs, we have to stop pretending that “saying no” as a message works. It doesn’t, and people are dying as a result. We must teach harm reduction methods that keep everyone safer.

Harm reduction — not the War On Drugs — is how you keep your friends safe. They are doing drugs, and you probably are too, so if you see someone spun out on the dance floor, it takes very little time and effort to go up to them and at least ask if they’re OK.  Regardless of how you feel about mind-altering substances, shaming the ones who enjoy them saves no one. Getting them home safely does.


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