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Playing at the edges, navigating sexual boundaries, and narrating sexual distress; Practices and perspectives of sexuality and gender diverse people who use GHB  

Published onAug 10, 2022
Playing at the edges, navigating sexual boundaries, and narrating sexual distress; Practices and perspectives of sexuality and gender diverse people who use GHB  
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Playing at the edges, navigating sexual boundaries, and narrating sexual distress; Practices and perspectives of sexuality and gender diverse people who use GHB
Description

Background Research addressing sexualised use of GHB to date has largely focussed on gay and bisexual men's GHB use in the context of chemsex, this research has highlighted risks and experiences associated with sexual violence. No studies have included people of diverse sexualities and genders and documented reported practices to ensure mutually gratifying and consensual sex in the context of sexualised drug use (SDU). Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 31 people from sexuality and gender diverse communities living in Australia who reported three or more occasions of GHB use in the previous 12 months. Participants were asked about their use of GHB for sex, their experiences of GHB sex and their approaches to negotiating sexual boundaries. Data were analysed thematically. Results Most participants valued the sexual possibilities enabled by disinhibitory components of GHB and were cognisant of respecting other's sexual boundaries in the context of GHB sex. Participants reported strategies to ensure communication prior to and throughout GHB sex. However, several participants narrated experiences of GHB sex that they felt were distressing and, in some circumstances, sexually violent. In most instances participant's resisted terminology of sexual violence or non-consent as descriptors of their experience and none reported accessing sexual violence services. Conclusion Positive strategies to facilitate sexual communication prior to and throughout GHB sex should be reflected in health promotion and service level responses to promote affirmative and continuous consent among people who use GHB for sex. Education initiatives to help people engaged in SDU to recognise and respond to sexual violence if it occurs ought to be prioritised.

 

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