Party & Play
“Do you party?” asked the headless torso over instant message. Ryan knew what he meant. “’Party’ always refers to meth, AKA ‘Crystal’, ‘Tina’ or ‘T’,” he explains.
In the dark days of his past, Ryan Clason expertly navigated St. Louis’ sinister parallel universe – a world for the sleepless, their gaunt faces illuminated by the glow of devices while desperately attempting to quell their insatiable appetites.
“Apps are the perfect medium for drug users,” he begins. “It’s the perfect deceiving medium, because you can claim whatever you want and present whatever image you want. Most of the pics are from years ago, before the drug use, then you show up to some shithole apartment and the guy’s got dark circles around his eyes and looks fifteen years older, and there’s some drug dealer on the phone in the corner. But if they’ve got the right audience, the tricks who show up won’t care about any of that.”
The Soft Reality
Although the drug intensifies the want for sex, it also makes sex more difficult.
“Meth will turn the most brutal top into the most insatiable bottom,” Clason explains. “When you smoke it your dick stops working, so you couldn’t top if you wanted to. But even if you love to bottom, it’s never enough. You’re never satisfied.
“One guy lived in a basement apartment,” he continues. “I walked in and it was pitch black. I couldn’t see anything for nearly sixty seconds while my eyes adjusted. He was there with his ass up and head down saying ‘Yeah yeah yeah, do it.’ We’re having sex and my eyes are closed while I’m trying to get into it, then I hear him talking, open my eyes and find he’s on his phone trying to line up the next trick! That was the first time I’d seen anything like that, but things like that happened a few other times.”
Clason spoke of the erotic picture guys will paint of sex parties, making it sound like you’re going to walk onto the hottest porn set. “You’ll always get these messages about sex parties, someone will say they’ve got four guys there and they want you to come over and fuck all of ‘em. In reality, one bottom was smoking meth and pulled a trick over who then got high, so now you’ve got two bottoms. They pull over a third who gets high, so now you’ve got three bottoms sitting around with limp dicks, and it goes from there.”
“Meth heads are weird”
I asked if it’s like The Walking Dead for the top when he arrives, with everyone swarming around. Clason laughs. “No, no it’s not like that at all. Meth heads are weird. You show up, they’ve all been getting high for the past eighteen hours and one’s absorbed in his tablet, one’s watching television, one’s on the phone and one’s into you.”
I asked what percent of the time condoms were used during these hook ups. “Are you kidding?” Clason asks. “Never! I’ve never had anyone on meth even mention a condom.”
Clason explains that meth makes one fidgety, and guys will often interrupt sex every couple of minutes to look out the window, pick at their skin, etc. Of course, the bizarre behaviors aren’t limited to sexual situations.
“When you are high, you have to occupy the mind — whatever it takes. Sometimes someone will spend hours feeling the floor to see if any meth powder sticks to their fingers. I knew a guy who’d break into storage units just to organize what was in there.”
I ask if the guy stole from the storage units. “Maybe, but that’s not why he’d break in. He needed something to do.” Asked if he’d ever been stolen from personally, Clason responds, “You don’t go into these situations with your wallet! C’mon!”
With all of the unprotected sex, STDs are part of the package, and Clason was open about having had gonorrhea and syphilis. “I don’t care what anyone says: if you’ve been to a 14-man bareback gangbang, you’ve had syphilis.”
“I don’t want this anymore.”
Ryan simply wanted to go to sleep, but there’s no rest in that world. “I just laid there and thought ‘I don’t want this anymore’. The sleeplessness, the awful sex, the STDs. There’s no connection and I missed that. It’s not fulfilling.”
He managed to quit on his own, although he has maintained his sobriety with support from Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.
“It’s hard, but it has to be something you want to do,” Clason says. “There’s an ambivalent phase where you kind of want to stop and kind of don’t, but once you get to the point you’re ready to quit, the struggle’s really over. Sure there’s days when it sucks, but it doesn’t suck as much as using.”
See You on the Other Side
Ryan often sees people he’d partied with at the NA and AA meetings. “It’s always great to see friends on the other side because they look totally different, they act totally different…It feels like I didn’t know them at all while they were using.”
His bad boy street cred still intact, Clason continues to lead an adventurous life, only now he can actually enjoy it. For Ryan Clason the “party” is over, but the fun is just beginning. V