‘When people come out on the scene, a lot of people take drugs and have sex.’
Nash Sithole is a poet and author who has long attended 56 Dean Street’s monthly Let’s Talk About Gay Sex and Drugs.
It’s an evening aimed at creating a safe space initially for gay and bi men, but now the whole LGBTI community, to talk about chemsex and ‘high and horny’ behavior.
It’s been running in London for two years, but as our community begins to understand more about chemsex, groups are starting in other cities.
Sithole has just launched a group in Manchester. But a Let’s Talk group has also begun in Berlin this year too.
Gay Star New’s global chemsex survey showed alarming levels anxiety and depression among those who in engage in party and play.
Sithole says to GSN, pain, upset and anger are themes that come up ‘over and over’ at these events.
He has his own story of using drugs for sex which he tells to GSN’s chemsex series:
Sithole says LGBTI venues closing contributes to growing the chemsex scene
Stumbling across chemsex ‘accidentally’ talking about his experiences he says ‘I think it’s just once you were there [the drugs] just made it easier.’
Looking back at his time partying in Soho, Vauxhall and in the rest of gay London’s clubbing scene, he reflects on how much it’s changed too.
Angry with the closure of spaces all over London, he believes this is part of the reason why drugs went behind closed doors.
‘I do think the drugs were changing and it was a pretty quick. Going from things like pills and MDMA and ketamine.’
The change happens when the ‘unholy trinity’ hit the scene: ‘mephedrone and G and then Tina slowly got introduced to the mix and I think the issue is they really pump up the sex’
‘You put people behind closed doors with these narcotics and there’s no one there to regulate anything. You know at least in a club you’ve got to bide your time because if you’re in the toilet all night someone’s going to knock on the door. But [away from the clubs] you can pretty much just sit behind closed doors and do it.
‘That’s the scary bit.
In the last 11 years, nearly 6 in 10 of LGBTI venues have closed in the capital.
‘If you haven’t yet: don’t start’
Let’s Talk’s message is talking about drugs and sex without stigma or shame. It’s that message that inspired the Gay Star News chemsex series.
However, Sithole says despite this, if you haven’t ever used chems for sex ‘don’t start.’
Even so, his prominent message about the group is how it’s about talking, to let go of pain.
‘So many people ask, why did I have to through this? what did I do to deserve this?
‘It’s really heartbreaking to see’
Time and again throughout the interview Sithole comes back to shame. Speaking in particular about how many LGBTI people growing up are told that their identity is wrong or one to be ashamed of; In his view, that’s what drives people to use drugs to escape.
That’s why he hopes people will join him at Let’s Talk in Manchester. Or find another way of getting those thoughts about shame out.
Sithole writes poetry, and says ‘tell someone, and if you can’t tell someone write it down.’
He’d never stigmatize someone who takes drugs, however, he says:
‘But if someone came up to me and said I’ve never done chem’s before and I’m thinking about trying it; I would say don’t do it.’
This article is part of the Gay Star News Chemsex Series. Read more stories, support and see the videos on our chemsex section.