The Crystal, Pleasures and Sex between Men project was funded by the NHMRC and WA Health and began in 2017.

Crystal methamphetamine (aka ice, crystal, tina, meth) has had a particular impact on the gay community, where it's often used in sexual contexts such as dance parties, sex parties, sex-on-premises venues and saunas, and in private groups. In this study, we took a social practice approach to examine gay men’s crystal use. We drew on the concept of sex-based sociality – a unique pattern of social relations within the gay community whereby sex and drug taking can be part of building belonging and connectedness. We drew on this concept to develop more nuanced and relevant understandings about the ways crystal is used, the pleasures and risks associated with its use, and the everyday strategies men may employ to reduce these risks.

The specific aims of the study were:

  • to examine gay men’s patterns of crystal use and sex practices
  • to document how men protect themselves in situations of drug use and sex
  • to investigate how drug use and sex contribute to social relationships and identities for gay men.

Data was collected in four Australian capital cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, including 88 interviews with gay and bisexual men and 35 key informants working in the health policy, sexual health, harm reduction and blood borne virus prevention fields. The final year of the project included an innovative knowledge translation phase.

For more information, see this detailed project description