During the event, you will likely be under the influence of chems, making it difficult for you to think clearly and more likely to engage in risky behavior. However, there are some preventative measures you can take while still sober.
Plan your event carefully
To counteract the negative effects of chems as much as possible, you can choose to plan events strategically in your personal schedule. Make sure you feel good physically and mentally and that you are well rested. In general, try to take it easy the days before an event and plan time to recover in the days after. Do you have important plans shortly after the event? Or have you just had a few tiring days? Then it is better to cancel this event and look for an event at a better time.
Nourish your body before you leave
Whatever you are going to eat, a good base is the most important thing. On an empty stomach, the absorption of chems will happen much faster than with a full stomach. A hearty meal full of carbohydrates, fats and proteins will ensure that all substances are absorbed gradually. This meal does not have to be complicated at all. Carbohydrates in particular ensure that chems (and alcohol) are absorbed less quickly. It has another advantage: it provides a protective layer on the stomach lining, which makes you less likely to vomit. Other good prep meals can include potatoes (for enough carbs), oil or nuts (for fats) and a piece of meat (to get enough protein).
Set a time limit/nightly curfew
When you’ve taken chems, you have less of a sense of time. This can cause you to go on for hours or days without fully realizing it. Try to determine in advance what time you prefer to go home. You can set an alarm on your smartphone to alert you. You can also bring a limited amount of chems, as well as a budget, so it’s harder to make extra purchases at the event. In addition, try to avoid scrolling back on dating apps on your way home. This way, you’ll avoid the temptation to go to a new party. You can also enlist a friend to go home with you, or let a person who is not at the event know that you will be coming home at a certain time.
Set personal boundaries
Under the influence of chems and intense feelings of sexual arousal during a chemsex event, personal boundaries can become blurred. Therefore, it can be helpful to clearly name and state your personal boundaries in advance. If these are clearly stated, you are more likely to stick to them. You can ask yourself the following questions:
What chems do I not want to exceed?
What drugs am I definitely not willing to take?
What am I willing to do sexually?
Once you are clear on what is most important to you, you can take the larger step of communicating this to others. Beware of peer pressure during the event. Practice ways to say no politely beforehand. You don’t have to use chems or participate in certain sexual practices just because others do, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to take everything you’re offered.
When taking HIV medications, it is important to take them as close to the same time each day as possible. Missing doses can reduce their usefulness and increase the likelihood of developing resistance, causing certain HIV medications to lose their effectiveness. PrEP is also best taken around the same time each day to be most effective. Chems can affect your perception of time. You can solve this problem by setting an alarm on your smartphone to remind you to take your medications. Another tip is to pack enough medication for the entire event (bring more than you think you will need). This is to avoid having none when you need them. Do you realize you missed a dose? Then take the medication as soon as possible and take the next dose at your usual time.
Bring your own equipment to the event
Bring everything you’ll need during the party so you don’t have to rely on others. Make sure you have easy access to condoms and lube. Bring your own drinking straw, sniffer and needles (if applicable). Don’t use banknotes. They are sharp, can injure the nose and are full of bacteria. Make sure you can easily identify these items as yours. Don’t share them with others. It can also be a good idea to bring your own chems, so you know the quality and won’t have any unpleasant surprises. Also remember to bring a phone charger or power bank. If you use HIV medication or PrEP, make sure you have a supply with you.
‘Leave the booze when you cruise’
Avoid driving under the influence of chems. The following options will ensure that you arrive home safely (consider these in advance):
- Use public transportation: No, it’s not glamorous, but taking the bus, subway or train home is cheaper than a cab and safer than driving yourself.
- Choose a BOB: Designate a bob at the beginning of the party and stick to it. Just make sure that friend hasn’t had too much to drink! Don’t ride with someone who is drunk, even if they say they don’t feel drunk.
- Take a cab: When you are far from home and under the influence of chems, it is advisable to arrange a cab. It may seem expensive, but a safe trip home is well worth it.
- Staying the night: If there are no other options for getting home safely, you can ask to crash in the couch.