Methamphetamine use in the gay community has reached epidemic proportions, taking a terrible toll on users. Most gay and bi men know of the drug’s power to intensify sexual experience, but few realize its devastating impact on sex and intimacy. Here are three crucial things to know.
1. Meth increases sexual dysfunction Sure, meth reduces inhibitions, but it increases a false sense of confidence, and sends sexual compulsion into overdrive. Users spend sleep-deprived days immersed in the pursuit of — and then the painful recovery from — high-risk sexual encounters. But while meth stokes the brain’s ravenous hunger for sex, it ironically also causes erectile dysfunction, and the constant barrage of sexual thoughts and images eventually dulls one’s ability to actually achieve sexual arousal.
2. Meth escalates high-risk sexual behavior Meth destroys the brain’s dopamine receptors, the so-called pleasure centers. The first exhilarating high is therefore not obtainable again. Consequently, meth users turn to darker, rougher, and generally unprotected sexual behavior — placing them at risk — in an attempt to recapture the initial intoxication.
3. Meth creates sexual and intimacy problems Meth and sex quickly “fuse” in the minds and bodies of users. They simply can’t have one without the other. This results in persistent sexual dysfunction. Disconnecting meth from sexuality is crucial for recovery, and requires time, patience, and therapeutic support — but it is wholly possible.
A nationally-recognized advocate in treating meth addiction, psychotherapist Dr. David Fawcett is the author of Lust, Men, and Meth: A Gay Man’s Guide to Recovery. Through years of research and client sessions, Fawcett has compiled a set of healing skills that provide a roadmap to recovery for the meth user in the book. Learn more at David-Fawcett.com.