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Journal articles

Taking Chances for Love? Reflections on Love, Risk, and Harm Reduction in a Gay Slamming Subculture

Abstract : With the recent legalization of gay marriage in France, the couple has become the most valued social unit in the gay community. The emergence of the “chemsex” and “slamming” subculture—which involves injecting drugs during sexual encounters—on the fringes of the gay online dating scene has thus aroused new fears and anxieties. While slamming is often portrayed as a risky, extreme, and deviant practice divorced from the sentimental norms of stable relationships, this article Aims:to provide a more nuanced understanding of how practices of injecting drug use—and significantly, attendant practices of managing risks and harms—are entangled with the search for love and willingness to build lasting emotional bonds among young gay men. Drawing on ethnographic immersion on two gay dating sites and 25 life story interviews with gay men who inject drugs in Paris and Lyon, I argue that the link between romantic relationships and injecting drug use is anything but straightforward. The suffering and loneliness that follow romantic breakups can trigger uncontrolled drug use while feelings of “love fusion” between “slammers” can encourage further risk-taking. But romantic relationships can also provide crucial symbolic and material support to place limits on drug use in ways that reduce harm.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 3:14:59 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 3:57:28 AM



Romain Amaro. Taking Chances for Love? Reflections on Love, Risk, and Harm Reduction in a Gay Slamming Subculture. Contemporary Drug Problems, Federal Legal Publishing, 2016, 43 (3), pp.216-227. ⟨10.1177/0091450916658295⟩. ⟨hal-03479978⟩



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