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Health

A cautionary tale about Chemsex

Photo by William Randles on Unsplash

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I caught up with author Cameron Yorke to talk about his triptych of books The Chemsex Trilogy.

The Chemsex Trilogy of books documents a fairly turbulent period of your life. When did you decide to chronicle your experiences?

The initial idea came to me one night while I was high. We were sitting around a friend’s kitchen table, discussing my financial situation, and he suggested selling a few drugs for the next few weeks to supplement my short term income discrepancy, and I jokingly quipped — ‘Yeah, sure! I could write a Secret Diary of a Drug Dealer book about the whole experience!’ — not dreaming at that stage for one minute that I would either deal drugs or write the book.

Later, once in prison, and with plenty of time on my hands to reflect, I decided that it might be a good idea to write about my entire experience in the hope that it might help others in similar circumstances. I originally intended on writing the one book, but now I’m on my fourth volume in this series.

In recent years there’s been a number of books, plays, and documentaries exploring the appeal and the impact of the Chemsex scene. What does your trilogy of books add to that narrative?

There have been a few attempts at explaining Chemsex through various art forms, but I don’t think any of them have offered a balanced perspective, looking at it from all angles.

When I first started writing the books, I wanted them to be entertaining as well as factual. I certainly didn’t want to write a ‘poor, poor me’ missive, but instead a humorous yet factual and informative series which highlighted the process of addiction from introduction right through to recovery. I also want the books to serve as a reference to friends, family and loved ones of victims, who, having never been exposed to this culture, might also be searching for answers and understanding.

How hard was it for you, sitting down to write the books, looking back at that period of your life with sober eyes?

Surprisingly, not difficult at all. This is a period in my life of which I’m not proud, but the biggest battle was in wrestling with how much of the story should be told, and in how much detail, and how much should I omit in order to protect my ‘reputation’ and keep my friends.

Once I’d started writing, I actually found the entire process cathartic. It forced me to examine actions and reactions, why I’d made some of the decisions which led me down this path, and what I could have done to stop it. It shocked me — looking back, how emotionally and physically drained, and how vulnerable I’d been at the point where I was introduced to Chemsex. Many of the others around me at that time were in the same boat. At the time, I had no idea my state of mind was so fragile.

Later, after my release, I realised ironically that had I not written the books, no-one would have known about my prison term and deportation in the ‘real world’ as I’d been fortunate in having no press coverage during my trial at all.

It’s taken me nine months to gather the confidence to be able to discuss the full extent of my punishment. People who have read the trilogy have presumed that I was writing about others and not myself, initially it was convenient for me to hide behind this.

I finally came to the conclusion that if my friends were going to reject me because I’d been caught and punished for the drugs — when at the height of my indulgence they were all participating — then I didn’t need them as friends. These battles have been more difficult than the actual writing of the books.

How would you describe the different periods covered by each of the books in the trilogy?

Chasing the Dragon is all about pressure, experimentation, and indulgence. It tells the story of how various factors led me to experiment, and then to become more deeply involved. The biggest problem with this drug is that it makes you feel so good, sex become a euphoric experience, and for a few hours you lose all inhibition, all pain, you feel attractive, desirable, and wanted again. When those factors are missing in your life, the temptation to do it more and more becomes extremely difficult to resist.

Candy Flipping covers indulgence, addiction, and arrest. It demonstrates the failings of the legal system in general, the ambivalence and laziness of the Metropolitan Police, and the incredible impact austerity measures have had on the Crown Prosecution Service and the legal profession. I also discuss addiction — the psychological addiction to Chemsex. The assumption that Crystal Methamphetamine is physically addictive is an absolute myth, propagated by the government, and adopted by users as an excuse for bad behaviour.

Double Bubble covers arrest, sentencing, and incarceration, and is an exposé of the short-comings of the British penal system, and also explains why I’m convinced that the drugs themselves are not addictive.

My new book The Deported deals with incarceration, deportation, and new beginnings, discussing re-entry to society, coming to terms with life in a country in which one hasn’t lived for decades, self examination, lessons learnt, and the best way to rebuild one’s life. This is the one of which I’m most proud. It will be available for purchase on 1 August 2018.

There will be a lot of gay men reading your books who will be familiar with some elements of the Chemsex and PnP scene. Would you describe your books as a cautionary tale?

I would hope so — if they stop people from going through what I did then I’ll be happy. I’d also like to think that they’re a reference point for partners, friends, and family of victims in gaining an understanding of the culture so that that they can better offer support and assistance in breaking the cycle.

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My most ardent wish is that the books will raise awareness of the factors involved, so that the government will become better informed in formulating policies, instead of just sticking band-aids without any understanding of a problem which has deep and wide-ranging ramifications.

Not everyone who explores Chemsex and PnP follows the trajectory that you’ve followed. Were there any specific factors that shaped your story, or is Chemsex a slippery slope that could lead anyone down a similar path?

When I really started to examine my ‘path to destruction’ I realised that the only reason I became involved at all was because of issues with confidence, low self-esteem, work stress, depression, and anxiety. Like any drug — whether it be alcohol or something stronger — when you have a healthy, sane, balanced state of mind, you can handle any stimulant in moderation and walk away from it. I was using drugs, and Chemsex as a support mechanism to stop myself from sinking into depression — self-medicating, if you like — and it was then that I started to become more and more embroiled in the whole process. Like many people I met during this process, I was convinced I didn’t have a problem, right up until the end when I found myself in ‘forced detox.’

What do you hope that people feel when reading The Chemsex Trilogy?

I hope that they will identify with the issues discussed, and feel empathy for the people and stories within the narrative. I hope that I will have frightened them enough to discourage them from becoming involved in this epidemic. If they’re victims of it already, I hope they feel inspiration, and gain support in knowing that they’re not alone in this battle, as well as encouraged to use the support channels to find out where to get help. Most of all, I hope that people see the humour, and enjoy reading the books.

Visit Cameron Yorke’s website

The Chemsex Trilogy

Double Bubble

We are serialising Double Bubble on Mainly Male.

Banged Up

“What on earth are you doing in here?”

“I hadn’t had access to a shower in 5 days…”

Cockroaches. Rats. Prison.

It’s not what you know but who you know

10 days drug free

Prison boot-camp

“Finally, things were starting to move…”

“Pentonville was inhumane…”

“I showed her the track marks on my arm.”

“One step above a special needs facility.”

“It looked like I was pleading guilty…”

“A plan was hatched…”

“Another example of monumental waste.”

“I very quickly imagined the worst…”

“I was starting to feel vaguely human…”

“An ignorant, aggressive arsehole!”

“It really was a ‘them and us’ culture…”

“Quite honestly, I was scared for my life!”

“I hadn’t asked for a transfer!”

“Perhaps things weren’t too bad after all…”

“I just wanted to die!”

“I had a strategy to put in place!”

“I felt like I had turned a corner…”

“I wasn’t about to crawl back into the closet…”

“I was now earning £12 per day…”

“I was walking straight into a trap…”

“Raped him with a knife at his throat…”

“There was nothing I could do about it!”

“I felt like I’d been kicked in the teeth…”

“No hope of any escape…”

“He’d been the victim of a fairly severe beating…”

“Do you like chem-sex?”

“I was damned if I was going to make it easy for them…”

“There is no hope of any sort of reform…”

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Health

Improve your sex life with a tantric workshop!

Learn how to unlock a whole new level of pleasure.

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Unlock a new level of pleasure with a gay tantric workshop (image supplied)
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If you’re looking for something a bit different for your vacation options in the year ahead, how about a tantric sex workshop with gay travel specialists Spain Seven Degrees?

This is a five-day workshop held on the Spanish island of Mallorca. You’ll be staying in a gay guesthouse with stunning views out over the Mediterranean.

Attendees are limited to a maximum group of ten men. You’ll be guided by professional instructors through morning yoga, sunset pool Pilates, and a huge variety of workouts. Be ready to improve your sexual health with sex workshops that focus on tantric sex, gay kama sutra, and a few surprises.

The workshop will be held at the gay guesthouse Guapo Finca with available dates in May and October 2019.

Book before 31 January 2019 and receive a discount of €100 if you use the discount code of MAINLYMALE100.

Unlock a new level of pleasure with a gay tantric workshop (image supplied)

The discount code of  MAINLYMALE100 applies to all trips offered by Spain Seven Degrees. Options include:

Use the discount code MAINLYMALE100 for a discount of €100 on any Spain Seven Degrees trips if you book before 31 January 2019.

Unlock a new level of pleasure with a gay tantric workshop (image supplied)

Tantra Workshops included in this retreat

The essence of Tantŕa

  • This workshop is dedicated to knowing and experiencing the essence of Tantŕa. It will begin with a brief introduction of Tantŕa as a path that brings awareness to all areas of our life, the Tantŕa is a way to awaken to our true essence. Awareness. Love. First we will experience individually through bioenergetics with different techniques of breathing and movement of the body to connect with this state and let ourselves fall into this relaxation in the heart.
  • Then we will connect this inner state with the outside through meditations in pairs coordinating the breathing and the power of the look. Learning to connect with others from that authenticity of your present moment, learning to embrace your reality and that of the other creating true intimacy.

Activation of the 4 elements – how sexuality is expressed in each chakra

  • The human being is an energy system as well as physical, mental and emotional. In the energy plan we have “7 chakras” or energy centers. Each of them related to one of the four elements (earth, water, fire, air) and concrete emotions (fear / confidence / sadness / inspiration / enthusiasm / anger). In this workshop we will learn how to make love connecting with each of these energy centers but there will be no explicit sexuality.
  • What does it mean to live my sexuality from each of my chakras? There will be a theoretical part sustained by a practice activating with music and physical exercises the energy of the four elements in us and sharing through dance and a final circle, as we feel in each of them, where our connection and our blockages are, letting us see.
  • We will learn the importance of connecting with all our energy sources, the variety of expressions that this energy brings to our sexual practices and how to fully integrate and live your sexuality, loving and enjoying yourself as you are.

Ritual of devotion and initiation to tantric massage

  • The purpose of this workshop is to learn to look and be seen, touch and be touched to be, from heart to heart, from God to God . We are accustomed to looking at our body and the bodies of others through fixed images cultivated throughout our lives with which we find ourselves imprisoned when experiencing something new, something more enriching, something more divine.
  • Through a ritual of devotion to the body of the other we allow ourselves to expand our vision and sensitivity and finally connect with our essence and that of the other honoring their divinity. The workshop ends with an initiation to tantric massage: We touch and touch others in a hurry, trying to give ourselves and give pleasure quickly and in a structured way without listening to the real need of the present moment.
  • What would happen if we put aside all we have learned giving and receiving and open ourselves to the magic of a journey into the unknown? What would it be like to touch and be touched by the hands of God?
  • With this ritual we experience the magic of touch without intention opening us not only to pleasure but to the mystery of giving and receiving a much larger gift.

Kamasutra massage for single and partnerships

  • Body perception, active and quiet meditations help to let go of everyday life, and joining with oneself and one partner in the group of like-minded men.
  • Sequences of touch and massage brings you in contact and build up an intimate gathering. The whole body will be touched: chest, abdomen, legs, head, hands and feet, including genitals, anus and testicles.
  • Section by section various love positions flow into the massage, to which the Kamasutra – Kama the love and Sutra the teaching – instructs and inspires.
  • Exercises and movement sequences from yoga increase the mobility, flexibility and the ability to love of your body. Silence, meditation, conversations and sharing round off the workshop and provide ideas how the experiences can be cultivated and intensified in the daily routine and allow what is happening to us in the present moment and to express it, to let go of our fears, limiting beliefs and finally to access the truth of our essence
Unlock a new level of pleasure with a gay tantric workshop (image supplied)

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to Guapo Finca

  • 1:00pm Mediterranean cuisine welcome lunch
  • 5:00pm Tantra workshop 1
  • 8:00pm Welcome Dinner

Day 2

  • 7:45am Morning meditation and sun salutation yoga in front of the beach
  • 8:30am Delightful and healthy organic breakfast
  • 11:00am Fitness session 1
  • 5:00pm Tantra workshop 2

Day 3

  • 7:45am Morning meditation and sun salutation yoga in front of the beach
  • 8:30am Delightful and healthy organic breakfast
  • 11:00am Fitness session 2
  • 5:00pm Tantra workshop 3

Day 4

  • 7:45am Morning meditation and sun salutation yoga in front of the beach
  • 8:30am Delightful and healthy organic breakfast
  • 11:00am Fitness session 3
  • 12:00 pm / 1:00 pm / 2:00 pm / 3:00pm Massage
  • 5:00pm Tantra workshop 4
  • 8:00pm Farewell Dinner

Day 5: Return

  • 7:45am Morning meditation and sun salutation yoga in front of the beach
  • 8:30am Delightful and healthy organic breakfast
  • Private transfer to the airport
Unlock a new level of pleasure with a gay tantric workshop (image supplied)

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