Abuse of Meth and Sex – The use of drugs to party or feel elated, at first glance, can be very seductive. Unfortunately, the abuse of certain substances can rapidly lead to risky behavior, adverse consequences, and, ultimately, addiction.
When a person has developed an addiction, the short-term potential for a healthy life essentially stops, and chaos ensues. A person may find oneself doing things he or she never thought they would ever do in an attempt to obtain and use drugs. This is known as compulsive drug-seeking behavior, and a person engaging in this will continue to do so despite the problems it is causing.
The abuse of numerous substances can lead to impulsive, risky, and unsafe sexual encounters. Methamphetamine is among the most notorious of these drugs, and it has often been intentionally used to enhance sexual pleasure.
What Is Meth?
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant with a high potential for addiction. It has a lengthy half-life and is highly toxic, and it dramatically affects levels of dopamine in the central nervous system. People who abuse meth experience increased energy and wakefulness in addition to a variety of side effects.
Many governments around the world have cracked down on the sale of over-the-counter medications that contain pseudoephedrine, which is the main ingredient in meth. Since then, the production and distribution of the drug have largely been taken over by Mexican drug cartels. However, many people still make meth in clandestine home labs using a variety of toxic ingredients—many of which are highly flammable.
Research has shown that chronic meth abuse alters brain structure and function, and induces emotional, cognitive, and physical impairments. Deficits that occur are often related to motor skills, memory, and learning.
Symptoms of heavy and long-term meth use may include the following:
- Violent behavior
- Meth mouth
- Skin sores
Meth Use and Risky Sexual Behavior
Research has demonstrated that meth abuse and addiction is associated with high-risk sexual conduct among men who engage in sex with other men. Risky sexual behavior is also more prevalent among HIV-infected meth users than non-users.
Moreover, there has been a significant increase in unprotected intercourse and the number of sexual partners among men diagnosed with HIV. The data regarding heterosexual men is not as clear.
In a report by the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, about 33% of meth users admitted to having sex with a person infected with HIV. Half of the subjects studied also reported engaging in unprotected sex.
Researchers noted that meth is an inexpensive street drug that reduces inhibitions and reportedly enhances sexual response. They also cautioned that any drug, not just meth, has the potential to increase the likelihood of risky sexual behavior.
Women, Meth, and Sex
Most research conducted with regard to meth users and their sexual behaviors has focused on men. In 2004, however, the University of San Diego examined the increasing number of women who are addicted to meth. Women subjects in the study ranged in age from adolescence to the mid-fifties. A diversity of races were included with 96% of participants having obtained less than a college-level degree.
The study revealed that a majority of meth users in the San Diego area were women who began their addiction early in their teenage years. Researchers also discovered that female meth users reported experiencing intensified sexual responses under the influence of meth.
The motives behind why women were abusing meth differed. For example, the number of women who used meth as a means to increase sexual pleasure was only 18%. Most female meth addicts used the drug for the following reasons:
- Get high (56%)
- Have more energy (37%)
- Cope with moods (34%)
- Lose weight (29%)
- To party (28%)
- To escape (27%)
The rate of women in the study who reported having anonymous sex was much lower than that of meth-using men. Researchers also included a survey of heterosexual men and found that women and men did not differ in the type and number of risky sexual behaviors or sexual partners.
Meth Users Defy Categorization
It is important to realize that there is no “typical” meth user. The common factor among users is that meth has a high potential for abuse and addiction. It can destroy a person’s health, shatter families, encourage risky behaviors, and increase the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases.
Many falsely believe that meth addiction cannot be treated in a drug rehab center. However, there is a large number of people who seek drug addiction treatment for meth abuse, even on its own. Friends and family members of meth users are urged to assist their loved ones in finding professional help.
Recovery in Tune offers integrated, comprehensive outpatient programs for the treatment of meth and other substance use disorders. In a rehab program, a person’s underlying mental health conditions, physical issues, and addictive behaviors can be addressed simultaneously. Our center employs evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, aftercare planning, and more.
Contact us today if you or someone you love is struggling with meth abuse. We are committed to helping people break free from the vicious cycle of addiction for life!