Why Gay Men Love Meth

Leon Fox
8 min readOct 19, 2022
Why Gay Men Love Meth | New Adam Project

The Gay community has borne the tragedy of two great epidemics: the first was HIV/AIDS, which robbed us of a generation of leaders and mentors. The second was meth, which will deny us future leaders, mentors, and youth for years to come unless we can understand its power over our community.

Hi. My name is Leon Fox, Co-Editor for The New Adam Project.

Over the past 12 years, I’ve struggled with bouts of meth use that repeatedly threatened to devastate my life.

Never did I think my twice-yearly recreational use would snowball into a bi-weekly habit that, by year seven, would become my go-to ritual for numbing pains and celebrating pleasures. This period of my life culminated in a harrowing six months where I was either using or coming down and constantly consumed by sadness, anger, self-loathing, and self-pity.

My benders lasted 4–5 consecutive days — during which I barely ate, drank, or slept — until I would inevitably pass out from exhaustion. The spaces between were always brutal, leaving me physically and motivationally destitute for a week or even longer. A hundred times, I promised myself I’d never pick up the pipe again, and a hundred times, I broke that promise.

With every broken promise, my self-trust fractured, my self-confidence weakened, and my self-worth plummeted. In response, I summoned hurricanes of shame and regret upon myself to atone for my sins and steel my spirit in the face of future temptations.

At least, that’s what I thought shame would do: because once it became intolerable, I packed my feelings into the paper shredder of emotions called “meth,” turned them into conceited confetti, and threw myself a dopamine parade!

And then, once the parade ended, I was depleted, vulnerable to another hurricane, followed by another parade. This blinding, self-perpetuating cycle clouded my mind, and I was unable to assess the dire toll it was taking on me: the repeated ruination of the city of my soul, its streets littered with broken promises, cherished dreams tattered and blowing in the wind, and the infrastructure of my support system teetering on full-on collapse.

This wretched state of being put me in no position to take stock of the damage to my morale, organize the clean-up of vital relationships, and build myself back up again.

I came to understand the true nature of stagnation: stagnation isn’t stasis (standing still): it’s performing a series of actions that all lead back to the same point, where the beginning and end meet, ultimately locking one in a time loop that forestalls the steps necessary to take on one’s journey toward personal growth, evolution, and dreams.

We need our dreams to spur us forward and to give our lives meaning. And I could feel mine drift further and further away into the horizon, along with my cherished destiny.

When coming down from meth, your vitality is spent. Therefore, any energy you would typically have had on hand to chase your dreams is gone, and instead, the lion’s share of meager energy you awake with each day must go to get out of bed. It could take days — or even weeks — until you’ve accumulated enough power to dream, let alone to pursue them, once again.

Now here’s the messed up part: every time I would regain the drive to dream, I would selfishly exhaust it on meth, the very act that halted the pursuit of my dreams in the first place. High on my ego, I would arrogantly bargain with myself about how this time — when I used — it would be different, and that somehow, this time, it would be good for me, that using meth would inspire me, that the rampant sex in which I would partake would be just the elixir I needed to slake my deep thirst for companionship. But deep down, I knew I was fooling myself into making decisions I would come to regret.

It wasn’t until a chance conversation with a friend about how he successfully stopped smoking cigarettes that I saw the fundamental influences underpinning my relationship with meth and what I could do to impact it.

He said that once he understood why he loved smoking cigarettes, he was able to give them up.

So I asked myself, “why do I, and so many men within our community, love meth?”

Reason One: Meth creates emphatic sexual connections

From an early age, we, as Gay men, are forced to conceal our attractions under threat of persecution from our social environments. So to survive, we mimic the mannerisms of our hetero-counterparts and pretend to be as much like them (and as little like ourselves) as possible. Subsequently, our relationships become established on pretense, and authentic connections are rendered impossible.

That is until we begin having sex with other men.

The experience of being naked with another man becomes synonymous with feeling seen. It’s influential and formative, no doubt why so many of us compartmentalize our identities in the sole pursuit of sexual intimacy.

Now imagine adding meth into the equation — a drug that enhances bodily sensations and extends sexual activity from minutes to hours or even days — and the potential dangers of addiction become self-evident.

While there’s nothing wrong with Gay men savoring physical intimacy, relying on meth to magnify sexual relations will ultimately obscure the value of other crucial connections — that of our friends, family, and personal pursuits — essential to living fully realized lives.

As Gay Adults, pretense is neither necessary to preserve our safety nor is meth required to enhance our sex. We’re free to spark relationships of any kind in the light of our true selves, whenever we want, and with whomever we want.

Reason Two: Meth loosens trauma’s grip.

Many Gay men come from traumatic backgrounds. The allure of using meth is that it creates a dopamine sanctuary in our brains, granting us the freedom to explore past traumas without reliving the pain. This can be very liberating for Gay men: manifesting our woes into reality while having others bear witness or even re-enacting those traumas from a place of ostensible security.

This dopamine sanctuary, however, creates only an illusion of safety, which can cloud our judgment and put us into dangerous situations we might likely avoid with a more sober mind. New traumas could then occur, thus perpetuating the cycles of suffering we initially tried to escape.

On our own, revisiting personal trauma takes courage and resilience while holding space for tragedy and hope. Asking others to accompany us in that process takes vulnerability and trust. But by numbing our pain and muddling our thinking, meth makes these virtues inaccessible. Courage, resilience, vulnerability, and trust are all muscles you must build to truly loosen trauma’s grip so that you may revisit past pains with the ease of nostalgic joys.

Reason Three: Meth liberates sexual inhibitions.

Society teaches us from an early age that Gay sex is pathological, that our lust for other men is shameful, and by proxy, so are we. Even after finding the Gay community, we can continue to struggle with discarding shame internalized from our past, which over time can mutate into generalized feelings of sexual inadequacy and demotivate us from ever exploring how fantastically capable we could be in the bedroom.

Meth, on the other hand, banishes feelings of inadequacy, so we don’t have to examine — much less confront — those feelings head-on. While It’s true that the absence of inadequacy liberates us from our inhibitions, any newly discovered ways of titillating ourselves may only be enticing when we’re high. This means we’d need meth both to surpass our inhibitions and enjoy our newfound kinks. In reality, meth seems to constrain more than it does to unbind us from the broader spectrum of sexual expression.

If you desire to be a more satisfying lover and crave more confidence in charting new sexual horizons, let excitement for the unknown propel you forward and respect for the company you share to be your guide.

Reason Four: Meth devastates pretension in a room.

From the moment we’re born till the day we die, everyone in our society will live in the shadow of a ubiquitous hierarchy — one that puts the prettiest and wealthiest at the top while compelling the rest of us to hoard money we don’t need and conform to beauty standards we never agreed to. Even the most enlightened and self-aware of us wrestle with the temptation to judge our self-worth for what we materially lack rather than what we immaterially possess.

Mainstream Gay culture isn’t any less beholden to this hierarchy than the rest of Western civilization. It’s a common misconception held by heterosexuals that the Gay community is this abundantly supportive, non-judgemental flex space where our shared traumas from homophobia have bonded us in compassion and gratitude.

Gay men are just as susceptible to (and far more aware of) destructive forms of competition that fuel self-doubt and sow distrust in and outside the bedroom.

But when you’re smoking meth with your Gay brothers — the most stigmatized act a Gay man can perform — it levels the social pecking order, rendering no one better than anyone else. Suddenly, you’re in a world free of hierarchy, unbound by the conventions of social status, where you can get fucked up and have sex without people judging you. (Personally, this is the reason I love meth the most.)

And therein lies its greatest danger: the allure of abandoning a broken world for a chemically fueled neverland.

I have witnessed meth’s promised neverland, and it’s sadder, emptier, and more broken than the one you left behind.

The world meth propagates is inhabited primarily by dead shamans and witches — brilliant, charismatic, and sensitive Gay men who’ve abandoned their dreams in the Day World and burned all their magic on a pyre of sex. Now they are but wizened husks of the people they once were, without a shred of semblance left to their lives before they nose-dived headfirst into a full-blown addiction.

Yes, the world is broken. Society is broken. People are broken. But voluntarily breaking your spirit to justify giving up is manifestly self-victimizing and ignores a fundamental truth about humanity: while our spirit is fragile, it is ultimately indestructible. So I would argue that the cost of self-destruction is greater than the cost of self-empowerment.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

While writing this article, I’ve had more discussions about meth with people than I’ve had over the past 12 years, and my desire to use it has never been lower. Getting in touch with the reasons surrounding my use allowed me to reckon with the hurricanes of shame that have been raging inside me for as long as I can remember and make space for the daybreak of a happy future I finally feel capable of reaching. But it won’t happen overnight. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. And I’m aware that if I don’t want to fall back on self-destructive rituals in my moments of weakness, I must replace them with new ones — rituals that will ultimately remind us of our profound importance to those who love us and the vital role we all play in shaping the destiny of our world.

Authors’ Bio

The writer, Leon Fox, is an intimacy coach and professional companion. He wants you to feel safe, beautiful and loved.

The editor, Brenden “Tiger” Shucart, is a writer and political organizer. He’s just trying to be a little bit better than he was the day before.

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