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The Normalization of Leisure Sex and Recreational Drugs: Exploring Associations Between Polydrug Use and Sexual Practices by English Festival-Goers.

McCormack, M., Measham, F. and Wignall, L., 2021. The Normalization of Leisure Sex and Recreational Drugs: Exploring Associations Between Polydrug Use and Sexual Practices by English Festival-Goers. Contemporary Drug Problems, 48 (2), 185-200.

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DOI: 10.1177/00914509211009901

Abstract

The relationship between drug use and sexual practice is complex. Significant focus has been placed on risky practices, yet the broader associations between drug use and sexual activities remain elusive outside such contexts. This is despite similar trends of liberalizing attitudes and practices being identified in each area, theorized as the normalization of recreational drug use and the liberalization of consensual sexual practice. In this article, we draw on convenience sample surveys of 966 festival-goers at an English music festival in 2016 and 2019 to assess prevalence of polydrug use and to examine whether people who consume illicit drugs are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors considered more liberal than the traditional norm. We show that people who reported polydrug use in the last 12 months were significantly more likely to engage in non-traditional sexual behaviors, including sex with a friend and anal sex, in that same time period. In combining and comparing two usually distinct discourses, this exploratory study suggests that the normalization of drugs and the liberalization of consensual sexual practices are related and can be conceptualized as part of a broader societal acceptance and cultural accommodation of illicit drug use and particular sexual practices as leisure activities, despite markedly different policy and legal contexts for each activity. We conclude that the concept of “normalization” may be more appropriate to understanding changes in sexuality than “liberalization” in the context of “leisure sex” and call for further cross-disciplinary research on drugs and sex using this approach.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0091-4509
Uncontrolled Keywords:drugs, festival, liberalization, normalization, polydrug use, sex, sexual practices
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:35470
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:11 May 2021 09:08
Last Modified:07 Jul 2021 12:11

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