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  • Sex & Drugs & EDM Schierano and Potter 2016

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Sex & drugs & EDM: the use and distribution of drugs within a London chemsex scene

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date1/12/2016
Host publicationEvidence in European social drug research and drug policy
EditorsAileen O'Gorman, Gary Potter, Jane Fountain
Place of PublicationLengerich
PublisherPABST Science Publishers
Number of pages17
ISBN (print)9783958532632
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Chemsex – a subcultural phenomenon where men who have sex with men consume drugs to facilitate sex sessions, usually accompanied by electronic dance music (EDM) – has received a lot of media attention recently. Both the media and the limited existing research have tended to focus on chemsex as a public health concern, with both drug use and risky sexual behaviour implicated in physical and mental harm. But chemsex is also an arena of illegal drug use and drug supply, and this chapter explores the nature of drug distribution within this subcultural scene. Drawing on observational research and interviews with 17 drug dealers, we found that retail-level dealers tend to emerge from within the scene rather than coming from outside, and that they reflect and maintain the ethos and norms of the subculture. Benefits of drug dealing (both financial and interpersonal) encourage existing chemsex participants to take on the role of dealer, while challenges of maintaining the lifestyle (the physical and emotional demands of ongoing participation in drug and sex sessions) mean that their drug dealing careers are often short-lived. We argue that here that, as in other drug-using scenes, retail level dealing is a product of the subculture – and the patterns of use and social supply within it – rather than parasitical to it.