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Tina and sex
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Tina and sex

Studies of gay and bisexual men have produced some pretty strong proof that guys use crystal to connect to other guys socially and sexually. Many guys using crystal say they use condoms less, explore more edgy or ‘hardcore’ sex (like fisting or BDSM), have more anonymous sex with guys, or groups of guys whose HIV status they don’t know (and sometimes don’t care to know).

The best studies out there on gay and bi men's sexual behavior have found that Tina use has a significant link to unprotected sex.* That doesn't mean Tina causes unprotected sex. Some of us want to have that kind of sex in the first place and may use drugs to make it easier. The fact remains: anal sex without a condom is the main way we get or pass on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Many of us find it happens more often when we’re high.

In addition to thinking about what Tina may do to our bodies, we encourage giving some serious thought to what we want someone else to do or not do to us. That's hard enough for most of us when we're sober, and it gets harder when we're under the influence, so try to think safer sex through before using.

If you are going to use Tina in conjunction with sex then the following tips may minimize some of the risks:

What goes up must come down.

Before doing Tina, it’s worth really thinking about how we're going to feel afterwards, as well as when we're high. Both are part of the experience.

Know your own mind.

What works for others may not work for us. If you're prone to paranoia (like someone's out to get you), Tina will likely play into your fears. If you suffer from anxiety, Tina may make that worse. If you feel depressed now, you'll feel even worse coming down.

Take a body check.

A careful inspection of your dicks, ass, hands, and mouth before using and having sex can simplify your life later. Applying rubbing alcohol on your hands can help you find tiny cuts or abrasions you can’t see. The sharp stinging sensation identifies these potential entry points for infection. Plan on gloving it if you’re fisting regardless.

TIP: Being able to peel off a greasy glove gives you a dry hand whenever you might need it.

Any cuts or sores that could let in HIV, other STIs, or just plain old bacteria, will be harder to notice or feel once you’re high

Avoid mixing.

Mixing drugs (recreational and prescription) can be dangerous, with lots of complicated cross-reactions and unknowns.

TIP: You can get some basic information interactions with HIV meds here and on recreational drugs here.

When on prescription medications, the best advice is to check with a doctor before using Tina. You have every right to receive this information in a non-judgmental and frank manner. If your doctor is not forthcoming, ask around for one who is.

Drugs and Sex

Think twice before the second round.

Have you really waited long enough to know how high you're going to feel from the first hit or bump? Waiting additional time before the next hit is recommended. For more information please click here. You can also avoid making damage from a potential ‘bad batch’ worse.

Avoid or limit injecting.

Different methods have different risks. In general, swallowing is the safest way to take Tina and injecting it in your veins (slamming) is the riskiest.

When using needles, use a clean sterile one each time and don't share. For more on safer slamming tips please click here.

Lube, lube and lube.

Use more lube then you think you need when it comes to Tina sex. We’re talking sloppy! The combination of ‘superhuman’ endurance, reduced ability to perceive surface tissue damage (ever jerked your dick until it was raw?), and the depletion of anal mucous all increase the need for lube. Too much lube is almost enough. The dryer the action, the greater the risk for abrasion and potential for infection.

It’s tough to recommend a type of lube though water-based is often recommended. They all have pros and cons.

Use condoms

It’s possible to play safer and use condoms even when we are high. Some guys actually fetishize them. Black rubber for latex enthusiasts. Red for demon worshippers. Hey, whatever works! Try and use condoms on ass toys as well. It makes clean-up easier and reduces risk if you are sharing. Place a rubber on all your ass toys before you get high. To reduce risks further, make your toys ass-clusive. Insist that only your toys go in your ass and no one elses. Why? STIs get passed with shared ass toys. They’re hard to clean. Even bleach won’t kill the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Change all condoms regularly. At the very least, check frequently to make sure they haven’t broken or come off. Try the internal/female (because it is placed in the ass) condom for bottoming. Insert it before getting high. Tops can fuck without a condom and protection is still in place for both partners. Experiment. Protection now can make your life a lot less complicated later.

Take care of ourselves and others.

When we are high together we have an additional responsibility to care for one another. Think about how we act toward others or how we let others treat us when we're high. Do we know? Check in with a friend or lover who might be able to give you some clear and honest feedback.

Consider another way.

How do you hope to feel on the drug? Are there any other times or ways you can get that feeling without getting high?

Stay flexible.

Leave yourself the option of staying home, or doing the party without Tina if it doesn't feel right. Real friends will understand.

Missing something?

If you're on HIV meds, especially protease inhibitors or others that require that they be taken with food, you're not likely to stay on schedule if you're tripping for 8 hours or more. Missing doses can allow the virus a window of time to begin replicating. Try having solid food like a meal replacement bar available and a timer to remind you. For more tips on safer use for HIV+ men, please click here.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

This online resource is here to help. Get questions answered about combining Tina with other drugs and sex. The information you receive and act upon now can make you feel grateful in the future.

TIP: Explore the site. Try the search feature on this page. If you don’t find what you are looking for, then consider sending a question to our panel.

See the Resource Guide to get connected in person. By talking about the sex we are having, what it means to us, and what it may cost us, it is possible to make partying — and sex — safer.

For more tips and information on safer using, please click here.

*A scientific literature review of mostly U.S. studies presented at the Toronto 2005 Forum on ‘Crystal Meth Use, Gay Men and HIV Risk’ showed that crystal meth users tend to engage in riskier sexual sexual behaviors in general, have unprotected anal sex with guys of different serostatus and have greater numbers of sexual partners overall. This has been the clinical experience in Toronto as well but local research in this area has been lacking to date. To help us collect the data we need to engage in advocacy and make improvements in service delivery, please consider completing our survey.

Adapted from ‘Drugs in Partyland,’ Gay Men’s Health Crisis, NYC, 2003 with permission.

 
   
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