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Digital Subscriptions > DNA Magazine > # 194 - Pop Art and Travel > “THIS WORLD SPIRALS QUICKLY”


The descent into the Chemsex demimonde is everything you feared it would be – and so much more. Story and interviews by Jesse Archer.

ANYONE CONCERNED that a documentary called Chemsex would be a lurid depiction of drugged-up gay sex will not be disappointed by the opening scene. In it, a young man wearing only underwear injects a needle into his arm. Aroused immediately, he checks his Grindr, grabs his cock and tells the camera that he has to fuck. He is the first of many men seemingly possessed by chemsex – the slang term for sexualised drug use (primarily mephedrone, meth, and GBL) among gay men. Sex on drugs is nothing new, of course, but the drugs have changed, the harm increased, and it’s all been compounded by the advent of mobile apps.

Panicked headlines and righteous moral outrage accompanied Chemsex’s debut last year. In our interview, the filmmakers declined to address the controversy, or the accusations of slut-shaming and lurid sensationalism. Instead their hard-hitting film, or rather those who appear in it, speak for themselves.

Lifting the lid on London’s gay chemsex scene with unprecedented access, it comes as a huge shock to learn that the directors, from Vice Media, are both straight. Asked if that was a hindrance, co-director William Fairman explained, “Surprisingly that didn’t present itself as an obstacle or advantage. The experiences we were inviting men to talk about were so profoundly personal and important that a bond of trust needed to be created beyond the context of sexual identity. Our access was based on creating a safe environment to talk about their experiences.” That safety included giving rolling consent to each participant, meaning they could pull out or cut anything at anytime.

Vice trades in “uncomfortable sociological examination” and Chemsex is nothing if not uncomfortable, confronting, and often hard to watch. It is also a layered examination of a hidden health crisis couched as an exposé. Now scorching the global festival circuit, including Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, audiences are in for a jarring ride. Viewers may find themselves alternately repulsed and turned on, and one wonders if those at-risk will find the film more of a trigger than a cautionary tale.

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About DNA Magazine

With 2016 in full swing, and the Mardi Gras season upon us down under, the March issue of DNA is out and BURSTING with talent, such as our cover model the beautiful Ben who features in a nine page fashion spread. In ‘Loving’ this month we take a look at the brilliant art of of the digital wizard Salem as he portrays the fine physic of masculine men in an alluring romantic setting. Plus a little Hashtag investigation into the term #oilcheck (you’ll want to have that checked or check it out). Find out what the homophobes have been up to in this months ‘Nutter Than A Squirrel Turd’, it’s more giggle worthy than a night at the comedy store. Our editor Andrew takes a look into the highly rumoured closeted gay-sex life of Hollywood actor Will Smith. Losing your hair? Our mate Samuel Leighton-Dore takes an in-depth look at being a bald warrior in a world of hairy heroes. Music this month we feature the talents of Rhianna, Jarryd James and the Bloc Party. For those who are feeling sluggish, in health our resident doctor, Dr. Zac shares 10 surprising food suggestions could have you feeling and looking a whole lot better! ‘Straight Mate’ guru Matthew Myers chats to Aussie TV personality Marc Fennell about that time he kissed another man and why it took eight takes before he was happy with it. Plus we take a look at the recent coming-out gay of Teen Wolf star Charlie Carver via the social media site Instagram. DNA jumps into the political sphere with an exclusive interview of openly gay Greens senator Robert Simms. Jumping on the plane and jet setting around the globe in travel this month takes us to London, Spain and the wild nature of Africa (the jet lag has really set in). Finally in photos we visit the field of dreams with the handsome, hairy and rugged model Valentono Pozzi then we discover the source of sex appeal with a photographic essay from Photographer Ethan James. All that and so much more in this months DNA #194.