You know… The stuff (one of the many) you saw Bryan doing on Queer as Folk in the clubs and in the baths.
What are poppers?
Poppers is actually the more common, street or slang name for various alkly nitrites; these are chemical compounds of structure R-ONO, for all you chemists out there, and the most popular forms for recreational use are amyl nitrate, butyl nitrate and isobutyl nitrate. (You can see why they’re simply called poppers!) You may be surprised to learn that these chemicals also appear in some over the counter air fresheners and video head cleaners; they were also used in the past, from 1875 and unsuccessfully, to treat angina and as an antidote to cyanide poisoning.
Why do people use them during sex?
Actually it’s not just during sex. They are popular on the dance floor too. People use them because you get an instant burst of dizzy energy for a short time. As Urban 75 says: “The rush kicks in immediately, and for a few moments you’ll feel like the bass drum has got inside your head, the lights have been turned up to a zillion watts and your heart is attempting a solo flight.” It’s a big, quick rush. Imagine an effect like that when your partner is going down on you or when you are taking his hard cock in your hole.
When did they come about?
For medicinal purposes they were first used in the late 19th century. As a recreational drug they first became popular around the early 1970’s, particularly among gay men. Since then their use has become widespread and they are freely available by mail order, in shops and at clubs. They tend to go by the name of ‘room odorizers’ so, if you see a row of small glass bottles in a sex shop calling themselves by this name you’ll know what they are.
Are poppers safe to use?
There are a few answers to this question and opinions vary. In the main they are not considered addictive though there have been stories of some guys not being able to have sex without them. Some people find them disorientating, they don’t like the smell and a regular side effect of sniffing them is a pounding headache immediately after and sometimes during the ‘rush’. As they open up blood vessels and increase heart rate they can be dangerous for anyone with a heart condition, high blood pressure, glaucoma and liver disease.
Therefore proceed with care and never take poppers if you’ve taken a Viagra (or similar).
It was thought, for a while, that poppers might be the cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma, or even AIDS itself, but that is now disproved. However, it does lower your inhibitions and therefore makes you more likely to think ‘what the hell’ and go for a sudden moment of madness, fucking before the condom is on. (It opens blood vessels remember, which will make your ass more susceptible to bleeding and infection.)
There is another danger too: Many years ago I was dancing in a club with a friend who, unbeknown to be, had dipped a cigarette in his bottle of poppers in order to inhale them through the filter. I just assumed he was looking for a light and lit his cigarette for him. Poppers are highly inflammable and the thing went up like a flamethrower. Luckily no one was hurt. But don’t smoke when using them, don’t drink them, don’t get them near your eyes and always put the lid on the bottle as soon as you have taken a sniff.
To answer the question: do poppers make sex better or are they to be avoided? They can make sex more intense, but only in short bursts of time. To use them or avoid them is a decision that only you can make.
I do have a funny story about a friend that had them in his car when he was in traveling. He got pulled over and the police were questioning him what they were. They found it strange he had this small odor-full bottle in his car. He for some reason told them too much information about how we use it for being able to “take it”. I think the officers did not want to hear anymore after that or wished they would not have asked lol.
They are not illegal but it may be illegal to actually inhale them but you are free to purchase them of course under the name of video head cleaner, nail polish removers or Room Deodorizer. If you get pulled over or asked what they are you might be better off saying they are nail polish remover than “poppers”. The more popular names of the products are Jungle Juice, The Dogs Bullocks, Liquid Gold, Bang Aroma, and Pure Gold. If you walk into a head shop to order do not say the word poppers but ask for Rush or Jungle Juice or Video Head Cleaner. Also, make sure if you do happen to sniff it by accident that you are aware you might have a headache from too much of it.
July 16, 2016 Update: Recently in Cleveland a news station reported that “A club drug from the 70s is making a comeback.” They really do not bother with journalism because it never really went away. They also taint the story to scare parents saying that kids and teenagers can get a hold of of them because it’s not illegal to sell.