I recently corresponded with writer/reporter Kate Lloyd re chemsex — recreational sex on drugs and all us ladies.

Kate used insights from our conversation in the interesting essay “Why More Women Are Having Sex on Drugs” for VICE News’ lady-centric site, Broadly.

Here’s some of what I had to say re lady chemsex and sex on drugs in general:

Chauntelle Tibbals, PhD, is a sociologist and author of Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex Society and Adult Entertainment. She explains that as drug consumption becomes seen as a social norm, the conversations around drugs as sex -enhancers become mainstream, too. “Cannabis, for example, is in the midst of a significant mainstream shift,” she says. “And the plant’s erotic-enhancing capabilities are part of that conversation. In other respects, communities that have long touted the sex-enhancing capabilities of certain drugs are becoming more mainstream. So, for example, as EDM culture mainstreams, a lot of the community norms mainstream as well—this may include certain types of drug use and sex.”

The way we pursue sex has also changed a lot recently. If you wanted to have sex on coke in the past, you’d have to hope someone in your immediate social circle was into narcotics, or hit a club. Now, we can go on Tinder on a Tuesday morning and hook-up by noon. “For people who are looking for casual drug-enhanced sex, the ease of access has certainly increased due to technology,” Tibbals says. “As such, the occurrence has probably also gone up. And generally, with occurrence increasing, you get spillover—others adopting a behavior they didn’t necessarily engage in before or simply didn’t know was possible.”

You can read Kate’s full essay here, as well as our full correspondence below – what do you think?

Kate Loyd: Do you think it’s likely that more people are having sex on drugs now? Why is that? 

DrCT: Drug use and sex have been paired since ancient times, but various contemporary social and cultural factors certainly have set the stage for the possibility of more people having sex on drugs now, sure.

Herbal enhancers of various forms have been used historically and continue to be popular today, and the use of sex-related pharmaceuticals is one obvious dimension that continues to rise. And though the coupling of recreational drug use and sex has certainly also always been around, given what many describe as a technology-based increase in recreational sex, it stands to reason that recreational drug use with sex is rising too.

KL: How do you think attitudes towards sex and drugs have changed recently? 

DrCT: In some aspects, our culture seems to be shifting regarding specific drugs themselves. Cannabis, for example, is in the midst of a significant mainstream shift, and the plant’s erotic-enhancing capabilities are part of that conversation. In other respects, communities that have long touted the sex-enhancing capabilities of certain drugs are becoming more mainstream. So, for example, as EDM culture mainstreams, a lot of the community norms mainstream as well – this may include certain types of drug use and sex.

KL: Also do you think the ease at which we can get hold of drugs and find sexual partners has increased? 

DrCT: I am not sure if access to recreational drugs has gotten any easier (aside from places where recreational drug use has become legal) – that’s a question for a person more versed in law enforcement, I’d think. But though there’s obviously some variability from person to person, the ease with which people have access to finding sexual partners has certainly, obviously, totally increased.

KL: I feel like there’s a particular trend for people to have casual sex relationships where they meet up to get high and have sex. Would love to know your thoughts on whether you agree with that? 

DrCT: I suppose that, for people who are looking for casual drug-enhanced sex, the ease of access has certainly increased due to technology. As such, the occurrence has probably also gone up. And generally, with occurrence increasing, you get spillover – others adopting a behavior they didn’t necessarily engage in before or simply didn’t know was possible.

KL: What can the positives of sex on drugs be? Why do people enjoy it and return to it?

DrCT: Depending on the person and depending on the drug, there can be lots of positive aspects to sex on drugs – enhanced physical sensations, lowered inhibitions, mind and mood alterations, etc. Given all factors headed in a positive direction (where consent is also established), there are certainly various aspects connected to recreational drugs that may help foster a positive sexual experience in willing participants.

KL: What can the negatives of sex on drugs be?

DrCT: The same factors that can cause an experience to skew positive can also be the same reasons why it may skew negative. Sex on drugs is no different. People react differently to different drugs, even varying from time to time – just because sex on weed is great once doesn’t mean it always will be. The lower inhibitions and mind or mood alterations that may help facilitate mind-blowing sex on one hand, may also contribute to miscommunication and/or less rigorous safer sex practices.

sex on drugs

(pictured: sex on drugs, image via Broadly/VICE)

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Got a sociology question? Need some social justice informed life advice? Contact Dr. Chauntelle right here.

Get Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment on Amazon and CT.com

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