Chemsex: the name given to the rising phenomenon which refers to the use of drugs in a sexual context. Often referring to group sex that can last for days, the allure of chemsex has led to many young men being trapped in a vicious circle of sex, addiction and dependence.
This powerful and potent film tells the stories of gay men whose lives have been affected by the crisis; from self-confessed 'slammers' to sexual health workers, from those who deny there's a problem to those who 'got out alive'. Offering unprecedented access, Chemsex is a brave and unflinching journey into the dark underworld of modern, urban gay life.
A statement from the directors:
Chemsex is a confessional show-and-tell about a community's search for intimacy and belonging, in what are all too often the wrong places. This search creates a parallel reality, a secret world where people hide their addiction in plain sight, living in a cycle of extreme pleasure and pain, validation and isolation.
What started as a look into a 'healthcare emergency', soon evolved into a complex revelation. It wasn't the sex or the drugs that shocked. Neither was it the danger or the consequences. It was the realisation that, for the majority of people, it was intimacy and not lust nor hedonism that was the driving force behind their behavior.
The decision to turn a camera on this subject came from seeing first-hand how this community were starting to respond to this crisis. From anonymous voices on social networks to an NHS sexual health clinic creating the first ever position for a drugs worker on premises, it became clear to us that 'chemsex' was pushing people's physical and mental health to breaking point, not to mention the resources of those on the frontline trying to stem this epidemic.
The film, we hope, touches upon wholly universal notions of internalised shame, cycles of self-destruction and eventual redemption through this very modern and little known health emergency.
- William Fairman & Max Gogarty
Chemsex will be released by Peccadillo Pictures in cinemas from December 4th