This is the text of the talk I gave at the “Let’s talk about gay sex & drugs” hosted by Pat Cash & David Stuart with the 56 Dean St Clinic at Manbar on 13. 05. 14
Basically: Use the hashtags to create a stream that allows for gay men wanting #sobersex & #intimacy to connect.
Grindr has profoundly changed how Gay Men use sex. A sweeping statement, but think about how hooking up with men used to be: Cruising public toilets, parks, clubs etc. it was hard work.
The Grindr press office sent me some stats, and they make for interesting reading.
London is the busiest city in the world on the app, with 264,000 monthly active users, each checking their profiles an average of 9 times per day, spending 1.2 minutes per log in.
Now, with Grindr, not only can you find someone interested in sex within meters from you, you can also create a profile and be found by your looks, interests, and sexual tastes.
Running, and escalating, along with this phenomenal app there has been an exponential rise in the use of Chems for sex.
These chems include G, Tina and meth and sex has become a different experience for many men: vastly elevated highs, endurance beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, excitement intensified by the instant fix, and parties for days on end.
But not everyone is enjoying this reality. The fun can wear off very quickly. Meth is as addictive as Heroin, the high has a terrible come-down, and staying off the temptations, profoundly challenging.
I work as a therapist specialising in psychosexual and relationship issues including “sex addiction” and drug use. I work with gay men who have found themselves in a very dark place once they start on the Chem friendly sex scene. I know this does not happen to everyone, some people can manage how much they use, how often, with very little ill-effect, long-term. I know men who have moved within this scene for many years with no apparent consequences. Others cannot, and the games they play with their moral compass and their deepest fears, can lead to things getting out of hand surprisingly quickly.
I see men who are profoundly unhappy, terrified, filled with deep, dark shame and really puzzled as to how to move forward with their sexuality and sexual expression. Intimacy and the longing for connection can be a huge, painful problem that seems unsolvable, alone.
Once you have had the ChemSex experience, how do you “go back” to “normal sex”? Chem sex takes away all inhibitions, and combined with drugs like viagra, the penis takes on mythical proportions and a life all of it’s own.
The gay scene is a challenging one. The pressure to be beautiful, fit, healthy, and into anything, sexually, is hard to live within. HIV is a constant spectre for some and Hep C will kill you, left undiagnosed.
There is a terrible visual objectification, both from the outside and the inner critic. Looks are everything, it is easy to feel you are not ever seen as a person. Fast wit added into the mix makes for very funny times but cruelty and isolation are never far away. If the man is not feeling robust and very centered then life as a gay man, looking for love and intimacy, can be a cold and dark place.
I take the mike tonight to suggest that we can start to use the many new features added to Grindr recently, to help those trying to find another way to be in the gay sex scenes:
There are many new features added to the app recently, that allow the use of hashtags and ways to define interests, and here I propose a new one that you can activate right now.
Using hashtags, define your interest in #SoberSEX. Create a stream that allows you to connect to other men who are actually interested in #chemFree sex. This way you can enjoy your sobriety, in terms of sexual hook-ups.
If you have entered a 12 Step program, then add that: #CMA, #NA, #AA, etc.
Empower your sexual experience and turn the way the app works on it’s head! Use the app to create a forum for intimacy and sobriety, which will then enable you to connect to others looking for intimate, and sober sex.
If all of you, looking for #sobersex and #recovery, here tonight, start using the hashtags, we will will create change! And that is a really wild change to make!
Ultimately you could bring to life #Intimacy and change everything….. make Grindr support your empowered lifestyle choices.