Did we know what we were getting ourselves into when we took that first haul on a meth pipe or bumped a little toot of Tina up our noses?
Oh sure, there was the high potential for addiction (for those who cared to do the research). But in a society, especially the queer culture, with addictions to work, carbs, awful people, booze, cigarettes, sleeping pills, sex, fun and classier white powders like coke, what, really, was one more?
The spectre of HIV also loomed large — ’tis the rare man high on crystal meth who wants to or even thinks of wearing a rubber, no matter what anyone tells you — but it was all so delicious and dangerous and satisfying, and it fuelled the raw sex trend that will not seem to end.
But did we have even a tiny shred of foresight beyond that? Could we have imagined that once the pipe was tossed, the syringes trashed, the online profiles seeking PNP deleted, the dealer’s number banished from our mobiles, the fuck buddies dismissed (however sadly), that once we steered our lives in the direction we desired, our sexual selves would never be the same again?
Did we know that our treasured sexual identities would need to be rediscovered, if not reinvented, after Tina left the party?
I’ve been chatting for several weeks with guys good enough to share with me the stories of their sexual journeys. Now that they are meth-free, one thing seems true. It’s an idea I heard first a few years back at a meth conference in — of all places — Salt Lake City, Utah, when I sat on Toronto’s crystal meth task force: Someone who gives up meth sex, the most ferocious, base, animalistic and, dare I say, wonderful sex, must be prepared to mourn as if mourning a death and then move on to discover life without it. And like the death of a loved one and the aftermath, it’s easier said than done.
“I am not sure there is anything good about non-PNP sex,” D told me in an interview. D quit his rampant meth use last year and as of our interview hadn’t had one sexual encounter since, save with his hand, jerking off to bareback porn while sniffing poppers and fantasizing about — you guessed it — meth sex.
More sifting through my files, and there’s B, another interview.
“I’m not having sex,” he told me. “I do jerk off now more than I did, and I find myself straying onto the internet more often and fantasizing about hookups. It is far less compulsive, however, and I notice that if I jerk off, the intense craving passes. Now I’m working on dating, which is opening a whole new set of fears: How do I have sober sex? How do I have sex with someone I know and care about?”
J, another meth-free gent, tells me he is lucky to already have a boyfriend who cares, and who isn’t at all interested in PNP. He describes his sex life now as vanilla, where formerly “I was into a lot more nasty kink sex.”
“I used to identify myself as a whore, and quite proudly,” he said. “I will always associate myself with promiscuity, but I am also learning that my sexuality is not necessarily as big a part of me as it once was.”
J says he at least appreciates that his sex life now “doesn’t take any preparations and can be much more spontaneous. It’s nice not to crash after partying. But I still feel the urge.”
Of course it must be said that there are guys who have managed to rebuild satisfying sex lives, though they’re utterly different from their hyper-meth days. M, for example, told me that after gruelling rehab, herculean patience and will, endless days of choosing not to slam, the time for satisfying and sober sex finally came.
The feel of a hand on his skin, M told me, produced a rush, a tingle, the first in so long. For M, it was a winning moment of joy, an empowering sign that he could really have it all back. Or at least close to what he had, before that first haul on a glass pipe so many years ago.
Still. Did we know? Did we have any clue back in that first red-hot moment of contact with meth that for some, even addiction or contracting HIV would be molehills compared to the “Who am I now, sexually?” mindfuck that lay waiting when the party ended?
As I continue to listen to recordings of conversations and sift notes and emails, the answer is no.
We had absolutely no idea.
Shaun Proulx blogs daily at