Director: William Fairman, Max Gogarty
By Kitty Turpin
Chemsex is a harrowing, yet important, documentary that shines light on the drug problem sweeping London’s gay scene. It’s a modern horror story that explores how prevalent the problem of the deep connection between sex and drugs is for these men.
Chemsex was filmed for Vice, who are known for pushing the boundaries in alternative media. This documentary is no exception.
“Chemsex” refers to the use of sexually disinhibited drugs, for example meth, GHB, GBL, mephedrone and ketamine, taken generally over the course of a weekend at parties to help sexual performance.
Making up the majority of the documentary are drug fueled gay sex scenes that leave nothing to the imagination and numerous shots of men “slamming” (the common term in London for injecting drugs). This imagery accompanies interviews from men in the scene. Not once does the power of these images lose their shock value.
We hear from a variety of people involved in “chemsex” – those who enjoy the feeling of sex on drugs, those who cannot have sex without drugs, those who have been taking drugs for so long they have become nothing short of an anxious paranoid mess. They strategically go through each type of person from the best to the worst, so that the audience is left with the image of a paranoid drug addict when leaving the cinema.
Chemsex is not easy to sit through, but is significant in informing us about the epidemic that has been identified as a British health priority. If you’ve got a strong stomach, I highly recommend seeing it.