Chemsex: a dangerous shortcut to intimacy

“I love smoking a spliff while my boyfriend goes down on me. It makes the experience, you know…tingly,” 30-year-old Helen* and I have been friends for more than ten years. She’s a wildly successful sales exec working for one of the UK’s biggest tech companies. She’s also a stoner (“and proud,” she laughs). Though we’ve been friends for a long time, this conversation is uncharted territory. “We smoke most days, but sometimes make a point of doing it for sex purposes,” she tells me matter-of-factly. “It definitely lowers inhibitions, you really relax into it. And I think it makes me feel more connected to my boyfriend – partly because it makes me more sensitive.”

Last week a new report from academics at University College London alongside researchers at the Global Drug Survey sent ripples through the media with the announcement that we

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