Harm reduction follows from the truth that using drugs is normal, and nothing to be ashamed of. To meet guys who PnP where they’re at, we need to offer supports so that guys who party can use drugs as safely, and with as much support as possible. In the PnP scene, harm reduction is important for having friends’ and loved one’s backs – we all play a role in contributing to a caring and supportive environment at the party, and for ensuring that everyone’s time partying is a good one.
Every guy has their own relationship with partying – it’s important to recognize what this relationship looks like, and to reflect on how PnP fits into our lives. When we reflect on how our partying fits into our lives, we’re able to recognize boundaries, or where setting new boundaries might be useful. For example, if you find that you’re missing work or appointments, or coming up short on rent, this might be a sign that it’s time to make some adjustments and party less frequently or in different ways. Instead, if you find that you’re making new connections, having great sex, and are still showing up for social and work-related duties, this might signal that the boundaries you have in place keep PnP meshing well with the other parts of your life, and to keep it up.
PnP & Consent
Harm reduction extends beyond drugs, and also covers the sex that we’re having when we’re partying. In the PnP scene, we all need to be conscious about consent and boundaries around sex at the party. It’s always useful to have a conversation about what’s allowed versus what’s not allowed when it comes to sex at the party, and to have a chat about consent. To be able to consent, someone needs to be awake, conscious, and in a good headspace. It’s never OK to take advantage of someone who is unconscious, inexperienced, or vulnerable. We all have the responsibility to look out for friends, partners, or loved ones, and to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone at the party.
Developing a Safety Plan
Beyond reflecting on boundaries and consent, it’s important to do some homework, and develop a safety plan in the case that things go wrong. Reflecting on the following points is a good starting point for establishing your safety plan.
- Check in with risk factors
- Have I had any previous issues with addiction? Does addiction run in my family? Have I ever had issues with managing boundaries and cravings?
- Being conscious of the environment
- Is the environment at the party safe and supportive? Do I feel comfortable partying in this space with these people? What are my other options for partying? Who else can I party with?
- Coping mechanisms
- If something goes wrong at the party, what am I prepared to do? Do I have the tools I’ll need to support someone in the case of a bad trip, or an OD?
- Community supports
- What does my PnP community look like? How do I contribute to a positive PnP community? Am I looking out for others when I’m partying?
Managing the Comedown
It’s completely normal to feel a little bit down in the days after the party. When we party, we release most of the feel-good chemicals at the same time, which leads to feelings of gloom, irritation, and emptiness in the days afterwards. The positive is, these feelings are completely temporary, and will start to fade in a couple of days. In the meantime, it’s useful to try and increase those feel-good chemicals by doing things that makes you happy – this might be exercising, checking in with friends, listening to music, or meditating. It’s also normal to feel tired after the party – when we lack sleep, it can be difficult to focus and work through daily tasks. The best way to prevent this sort of crash is to take time to rest after the party instead of jumping straight into work or school. Eating healthy food, drinking lots of water and taking vitamins are also helpful ways to boost energy levels, and recharge after the party.
Watch our video with Gavin Bejaimal, Nick Boyce, and Daniel Pugh, who chat about what harm reduction looks like in the PnP scene, and how to party as safely as possible.