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Party and play

File:Méthamphétamine pure.jpg
Methamphetamine is the drug most associated with the term "party and play".

Party and play (PNP and PnP) is a phenomenon and subculture of recreational drug users who engage in sexual activities with one another, either one-on-one or in groups.[1] It is also called chemical session, chem session, and partying.

The term is often but not always used by and associated with gay men[1] and other men who have sex with men (MSM). The drug of choice is typically methamphetamine, known as crystal or tina in the gay community.[citation needed] Other "party drugs" such as MDMA and GHB are less associated with this term.[2] It has been called an "epidemic" in the gay community.[1]


Methamphetamine is often used recreationally for its effects as a potent aphrodisiac, euphoriant, and stimulant.[3] According to a National Geographic TV documentary on methamphetamine, "an entire subculture known as party and play is based around methamphetamine use."[3] Gay men belonging to this subculture will typically meet up through internet dating sites and have sex.[3] On such sites, men often include notations such as "chems" or "PNP".[3] Some sites, such as, prohibit members from saying that they want PNP or making other positive references to drug use.[citation needed] Since stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine drastically delay the need for sleep, increase sexual arousal, and tend to inhibit ejaculation, PNP sexual encounters can continue for many hours, as a typical methamphetamine high lasts about eight hours.[3][4] In some cases, these sexual encounters will sometimes occur continuously for several days along with repeated methamphetamine use.[3] The crash following the use of methamphetamine in this manner is very often severe, with marked hypersomnia.[3] has the same policy but it is seldom enforced; users often advertise they are willing to provide favors or party favors[5] to prospective partners. Internet posts by men seeking pNp experiences often resort to slang to identify what drug they are partying with.[6][7]

These drugs tend to inhibit penile erection,[3][4] a phenomenon known by the slang term crystal dick. Consequently, many men who engage in PNP use erectile dysfunction drugs such as sildenafil, vardenafil, and tadalafil.[8]


Besides the inherent risks involved with drug use, health officials have found a strong correlation between drug use and unsafe sex practices.[9]

As such, PNP practices are cited as the cause of rising HIV rates in the gay and bisexual male community and other men who have sex with men.[10] San Francisco's Stop AIDS Project and the Mayor of San Francisco's Crystal Meth Task Force have reduced methamphetamine use from 18% in 2003 to 10% in 2005 of gay and bisexual San Franciscans PNPing. The STOP AIDS Project has been heavily involved due to the common link between methamphetamine use and sex—PNPing.[citation needed]

The same drug-induced loss of inhibitions makes PNP enthusiasts more vulnerable to more immediate threats, such as robbery, date rape, or assault by someone whom they meet for sex.[11]


Men who PNP with methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, and ketamine are twice as likely to have unprotected sex (meaning sex without using a condom), according to British research from 2006. The study also found that up to 20% of gay men from central London gyms had tried methamphetamine, the drug most associated with PNPing.[12]

Club culture

The term party and play - and pay has emerged as a warning that partying and playing leads to bareback sex which increases the chances of contracting HIV and may result in other consequences such as neurological damage[13] and resistance to HIV drugs.[6]

"We're seeing a strong correlation between crystal and HIV infection" -Pride Institute of New York

Methamphetamine can cause sores and abrasions in the mouth which can turn typically low-HIV-risk sex acts such as oral sex into very-high-risk sexual activity.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b c PSA tackles PNP: TV ad warns against crystal meth usage in the gay male community. Danielle Dawkins. Metro Weekly. URL:
  2. ^ While the term PNP almost certainly has its origins in the specific subculture of methamphetamine users, and is without doubt most associated with its use, people have been quick to generalize it to include partying with other drugs thought to intensify sexual experiences, especially ecstasy, GHB, and cocaine. This article in The New York Times describes PNP as simply "shorthand for sex with drugs." This GBLT glossary notes that PNP is a term "denoting that someone wants to combine sex with use of drugs such as methamphetamines,[ sic ] etc." This list of gay slang says PNP is "an interest for casual sex that includes hard drugs such as ecstasy". A glossary of drug-related terms produced by the United States Department of Health and Human Services defines PNP as "Methamphetamine used in combination with MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and Viagra". The San Francisco Department of Public Health defines it as "a way to describe men who like to use crystal methamphetamine during sex." in its FAQ section [1]. Finally, this report from the National HIV Prevention Conference (a collaborative effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a U.S. Government agency, and other governmental and non-government organizations) describes PNP as "sexual behavior under the influence of crystal meth or other 'party' drugs." Many sources mention only methamphetamine; although the origin of the term leans towards only including methamphetamine, this is inaccurately prescriptive since the term has come into use for other drugs or combinations. See also Urban Dictionary for a continually-changing discussion of the term PNP.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h San Francisco Meth Zombies (TV documentary). National Geographic Channel. August 2013. ASIN B00EHAOBAO. 
  4. ^ a b "Desoxyn Prescribing Information" (PDF). United States Food and Drug Administration. December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Frederick, B.J. (2012). Partying with a purpose: Finding meaning in an online "party 'n' play" subculture [Masters thesis]. California State University, Long Beach.
  7. ^ Frederick, B.J. & Perrone, D. (forthcoming). "Party N Play" on the Internet: Subcultural formation, Craigslist, and escaping from stigma. Deviant Behavior 35(11), 859-884.
  8. ^ Race K (2009): Pleasure Consuming Medicine: The queer politics of drugs Durham: Duke University Press.
  9. ^ Honigsbaum, Mark (26 March 2005). "Special report: West Side story: a tale of unprotected sex which could be link to new HIV superbug". The Observer (London). 
  10. ^ Andriote, John-Manuel. "Meth Comes Out of the Closet". Washington Post, November 8, 2005, p. HE01. Accessed 11 October 2008.
  11. ^ Frederick, BJ (11 July 2013). Dangerous Liaisons: The Risks of Using Gay/MSM 'Hookup' Technologies [Conference presentation]. International Congress on Gender Violence, International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Onati, Spain.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Brecht, M.L.; O’brien, A.; Von Mayrhauser, C.; Anglin, M.D. (2004). "Methamphetamine use behaviors and gender differences". Addict Behav 29 (1): 89–106. PMID 14667423. doi:10.1016/S0306-4603(03)00082-0. Retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  14. ^,qmoore,65112,24.html


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