Former British soldier James Wharton believes gay culture is now intrinsically linked to chemsex culture.
Releasing his new book today (29 July), Wharton describes his personal struggle with chemsex and says he’s not alone.
He told Attitude: ‘Chemsex culture is so firmly rooted and embedded in today’s gay culture that I think it is absolutely correct to say chemsex culture is gay culture.
‘You can turn the other way and box chemsex users in their own group and say “they’re not part of us” – it’s absolutely not true.
‘Now chemsex doesn’t have to be inviting ten people over to your living room and having a party where everybody fucks each other, chemsex can be a couple who decide to get high ahead of having sex, and then they have sex while high,’ he said.
Wharton’s new book, Something for the Weekend, documents his struggle with drugs and group sex. It also recounts his split from his husband and move to London.
‘Drugs are a part of gay culture’
He continued: ‘I can click on my Grindr and I can see a number of different groups of people.
‘Drug use has always been part of gay culture; let’s not beat around the bush on that.
‘In the 80s, it was party drugs, it was dancing clubs and nightclubs, and so it was in the 90s.
‘The evolution of these three key drugs that are paramount to chemsex culture, the popularity and the ease in which they can be sourced and the cheapness of them has made them go big time,’ the British ex-soldier said.
Wharton believes efforts from the government to tackle this problem are great, but it should be more community-driven.
He said: ‘I think it’s great that there’s a discussion at government level about things like chemsex. I’m just disappointed that the money that they’ve highlighted and found to tackle this issue seems to be being pushed towards law enforcement and that’s not the answer to tackling drugs, certainly not the answer to tackling chemsex.
‘On the ground initiatives at a community level educate and bring people out of that world,’ he added.