Pharmacosexuality: the past, present and future of sex on drugs


  • Dr Alex Dymock

    Royal Holloway, University of London

Project summary

We will look at the relationship between the pharmaceuticalisation of sexuality, health promotion, and recreational drug use in sexual contexts, and how this relationship might change current paradigms of sexual health. The use of illicit drugs in sexual contexts and its implications for public health is receiving closer attention than ever before. Current research remains focused on men who have sex with men involved in 'chemsex', viewed predominantly in terms of risk and harm reduction, with little attention paid to the experimental and pleasurable dimensions of sex on drugs, its interaction with the growth of phamaceutical interventions for sex, or its broader history in cultural and clinical contexts.

We will use archival and empirical scoping to develop a socially, historically and culturally informed approach to drugs and sex, termed 'pharmacosexuality'. We will identify key themes and research questions, which will underpin major grant applications. We will also bring together scholars and practitioners for a new interdisciplinary network in pharmacosexuality and produce two peer-reviewed publications, which will contextualise pharmacosexuality historically, exploring how synthetic aphrodisiacs are used in contemporary sexual contexts.