Drugs are frequently associated with reduced sexual inhibition, both when used voluntarily in social circumstances, and involuntarily, as in the case of some date rape drugs. Because the use of drugs, including alcohol, is commonly presented as an excuse for risky or socially unacceptable behaviour, it is necessary to treat the idea of a direct causal relation between drug use and unsafe sex with caution. Drugs may provide a socially acceptable excuse for engaging in sexual behaviours in which people may want to engage but perhaps feel that they should not.
Some forms of sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction can be treated with drugs. Because of their effects, erectile dysfunction drugs are sometimes used for recreational purposes. Many drugs, both legal and illegal, some sold online, have side effects that affect the user's sexual function. Many drugs can cause loss of libido as a side effect.
Since the partial cause of the refractory period is the inhibition of dopamine by an orgasm-induced secretion of prolactin, such potent dopamine receptor agonists as cabergoline may help achieve multiple orgasms as well as the retention of sexual arousal for longer periods of time.
Party and play or "chemsex" is the consumption of drugs to facilitate sexual activity. Sociologically, both terms refer to a subculture of recreational drug users who engage in high-risk sexual activities under the influence of drugs within groups. The term PnP is commonly used by gay men[failed verification] and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in North America, while chemsex is more associated with the gay scene in Europe. The drug of choice is typically methamphetamine, known as tina or T, but other drugs are also used, such as mephedrone, GHB, GBL and alkyl nitrites (known as poppers).
A date rape drug is any drug that is an incapacitating agent which—when administered to another person—incapacitates the person and renders them vulnerable to a drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA), including rape. One of the most common types of DFSA are those in which a victim consumes a recreational drug such as alcohol that was administered surreptitiously. The other most common form of DFSA involves the non-surreptitiously-administered consumption of alcohol. Here, the victims in these cases are drinking voluntarily which then makes them unable to make informed decisions and/or give consent.
Drug-based contraception has been available since the development of the contraceptive pill. As well as their contraceptive effects, contraceptive drugs can also have adverse sexual and reproductive side-effects. Prior to the availability of effective contraceptives, some substances were also used as abortifacients to terminate pregnancy; medical abortion exists as a modern medical practice.