King's College London

Research portal

Critical chemsex studies: Interrogating cultures of sexualized drug use beyond the risk paradigm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Kristian Møller, Jamie Hakim

Original languageEnglish
JournalSEXUALITIES
DOIs
Accepted/In press2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors

Abstract

This article proposes and outlines a critical approach to the study of chemsex. The vast majority of chemsex research takes place within the broad field of health, particularly LGBTQ+ health, which ultimately frames such work using a paradigm of risk. This article follows previous research that calls attention to the limitations of this perspective, and suggests the value in formalising more generative, explorative and critical approaches to the phenomenon. Based on this previous scholarship and the contributions to the special issue, we propose that ‘critical chemsex studies’ operates along three axes: one working within public health that attempts to move beyond the risk paradigm; another which attempts to understand its cultural dimensions as it interrogates the discursive, sociopolitical, technological and economic landscapes in which chemsex has materialised, and finally; a third centering pleasure and its organisation of gay identity, intimacy, and sociability. Finally, we look to the future of critical chemsex studies, calling for more diverse works on national and regional differences in chemsex culture, as well as how the framework can be adapted in order to leverage its capacities for the women, trans and non-binary people who are under-represented in the current literature.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454