In EECA countries, chemsex is a rather new concept gaining popularity. According to research findings, up to 8% of MSM in Ukraine and Russia practice this kind of sex. Many MSM find chemsex attractive, even though it may lead to the increased risks of injuries as well as HIV and other STIs.

In EECA countries, chemsex appeared not so long ago, though it is possible that up to 7-8% of MSM in Ukraine and Russia practice this type of sex on a more or less regular basis. Chemsex is the use of chemical substances, which alter the state of mind and other physiological mechanisms of the body to increase pleasure during sex. According to the Western European research studies, many MSM find chemsex attractive, even though it may often lead to the increased risks of injuries as well as HIV and other STIs.

Ukrainian LGBT organization ALLIANCE.GLOBAL in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and with support of AFEW-Ukraine and the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM), conducted research to study the specifics of chemsex among MSM residing in Kyiv (Ukraine).

Findings of the study, which involved 100 MSM over 18 years of age, who used any narcotic drugs to increase pleasure during sex in the recent 6 month, 79% said that the main reason, which made them start using drugs for sex was their “interest”, while 49% said that it was the “effect of environment.”  However, the reasons to continue this practice were somewhat different. Most respondents continue practicing chemsex because it allows them to make sex more interesting (48%), reduce stress (46%), increase pleasure during sex (40%) and enhance their sexual potential (31%).

As for the negative consequences of chemsex, the respondents pointed out various mental health disorders (apathy, depression, etc.) (58%), aggressive outbursts (31%), memory lapses (15%) and sexual violence (7%).

Most often, the respondents practice chemsex at their own home or at a partner’s place. About half of the respondents said that they use drugs (marijuana, stimulants, and hallucinogens) in recreational facilities (disco clubs, nightclubs, and saunas).

The study participants reported using over a dozen of psychoactive substances for chemsex, with a dominating use of marijuana (99%), amphetamine (85%) and ecstasy (76%). As for the substances altering other physical reactions (erection, sphincter function), most widespread are poppers and erection stimulants (Viagra and similar substances).

Most often, mobile apps are used to find sexual partners (89%), while about half of the respondents reported that they also find partners in clubs and at parties.

Apart from one-on-one sex, 30% of respondents said that they also practice group sex. About 10% reported that they provide sex services for remuneration.

The respondents stated that they would like to get information about the risks of simultaneous use of different substances, about the maximum allowed doses of narcotic and other substances and about other risks of chemsex.

The data received demonstrate the growth in the number of MSM who have chemsex in Ukraine as well as the fact that there are no organizations or projects specifically aimed at working with MSM who practice chemsex in the country.