The film explores an increasingly prevalent phenomenon in which drug use and sex become conflated so that one rarely comes without the other. On the chemsex scene, mephedrone, GHB, and crystal meth are regularly used intravenously as libido enhancers and delaying techniques.
Chemsex combines candid talking head interviews with intimate footage of clubs, orgies and drug-fuelled sexual encounters, in an honest and non-judgemental portrait of the men at the heart of the chemsex scene.
The film shows the attraction of seemingly harmless hedonism that slowly reveals itself to be something much darker: a dependence on drugs to enhance sexual experience coupled with dangerous levels of isolation within London's anonymous sex scene.
Chemsex doesn't shy away from laying open the intimate activities within the hook-up app scene: free love and free sex are enjoyed by young professionals and liberated partygoers: previously repressed gay men are free to express their identities in a climate of acceptance and a sense of community. But this freedom is soon revealed to be undercut by a more troubling picture of addiction and exploitation.
The film sheds heartbreaking light on situations where abuse is painfully prevalent. Some of Chemsex' most shocking testimonies expose the deliberate spreading of HIV, rape, forced injection of drugs, or the vulnerability of young boys coming to London to explore their sexuality free of judgement from their families and friends at home.
The film poses a number of questions about chemsex culture: how it has developed, and the possible reasons behind such extreme dependence on drugs to enhance sexual experiences. One interviewee strikingly says: "if I have to spend the rest of my life sober you might as well send me to the euthanasia clinic."
Ultimately Chemsex points its finger not at those trapped in the underworld of dangerous drug-fuelled sex, but at a wider society that has for so long failed to identify the problem. Drug addiction, shame and a sense of isolation tie together in Max Gogarty and Will Fairman's deeply empathetic and shocking look at a community in crisis.
UK release date 4 December.
|What||Chemsex film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
04 Dec 15 – 29 Feb 16, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to go to the Vice website|