How meth steals gay men’s sex lives, and their road to recovery

Let’s not beat around the bush. Meth is killing gay men, and the dirty little secret epidemic whispered between gay men is far from over. The good news is that while gay Atlanta is not immune by any stretch, parts of it are involved in finding solutions, including the 2015 book Lust, Men & Meth: A Gay Man’s Guide to Sex and Recovery.

You know the story. It’s all Party N Play until somebody’s life is ended or gets ruined. And it’s happening on a daily basis among gay men in Atlanta and across the world.

Few doctors or gay advocates have been as brave and unapologetic about the topic as author David Fawcett, PhD, an addiction therapist. In the book, he unmasks the way meth attaches itself to the libido, elevates sexual experiences, then doesn’t let go even after gay men stop using. Former gay Atlantan and AIDS activist Mark S. King writes the book foreword.

“I contributed the foreword because this issue – separating my past meth use from my sex life – has been the single biggest challenge to my ongoing recovery from addiction,” says King, who chronicles his 30-year HIV status, addiction recovery and their surrounding issues on his blog, “My Fabulous Disease.” 

“This book goes there, directly and with great compassion and insight,” King says. “As someone who can be triggered by various things, I can only say that Fawcett remains just clinically detached enough to make the patient stories relevant but never indulgent or exploitative. There is a healthy sex life on the other side of addiction, and this book maps the way.”

So there’s hope. The book’s authentic approach that comes from years of working with gay men suffering at the hands of meth could save lives, even as so many of us struggle to avoid the topic in polite company while just as many have struggled in silence with the effects of the addiction and recovery.

Lust, Men, and Meth provides the first practical resource for meth recovery and the restoration of healthy sex and intimacy. Fawcett outlines the seductive appeal meth use, its impact on high-risk behaviors and desire, and a resulting fusion of meth and sex in the brain. 

It may not be fun or fancy, but devastating addiction and sexual dysfunction are worth compromising our Southern mores and maxims to talk about it. Any gay man who experiences it, as well as anyone who loves one who does, can get something out of this book.

The book outlines dozens of cases that slowly begin to outline a path toward healing, describing phases of physical, emotional, and sexual recovery with tools for men who are off meth but now just want their sex lives back.

It wraps with valuable information, relapse-prevention skills, and guidance for the therapeutic work necessary for healthy intimacy.

The book is divided into three parts, and they mirror the problem as gay me experience it. “The Perfect Storm” examines how entices guys through brain chemistry to take risks, as well as gay cultural phenomenon like feeling unattractive and unworthy of adult intimacy. 

Secondly, “Exploring the Sexual Universe” investigates desire and eroticism in the brain and how meth penetrates and distorts it. It unearths new discoveries about the brain’s ability to change and adapt to compulsive behaviors. 

Finally, “Restoring Your Life” explores the process of recovery in detail, with chapters on specific skills, managing feelings, and rethinking perspectives on sex. With increased distance from the drug, such powerful emotions as vulnerability, anxiety, or shame, which so many gay men bury with meth use, can actually now promote emotional transformations that ultimately enrich a guy’s sexual and emotional life that’s joyful and expressive. 

In the end, Lust, Men and Meth takes all that work and uses it to create a path for a gay guy in recovery to rebuild relationships with himself, his loved ones, and even the gay community at large.

Lust, Men and Meth is available via Amazon in paperback and for digital readers. Also check out facebook.com/lustmenmeth.

IceBreakers is a gay and gay-friendly Crystal Meth Anonymous group in Atlanta. They meet several times a week alonside several other addiction 12-step meetings at Galano Club in Midtown. Visit galano.org.

This article originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the latest issue online here:

Pick up each new edition of Q magazine at LGBTQ and queer-friendly venues around Atlanta.