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Wednesday 08 October 2008


The pleasure and pain of 'Aromas'

Posted in: Features, Living Well
By Scottie D - 21st November 2007

poppers.jpg
After a painfully embarrassing week due to sporting a rather pronounced 'amyl' burn beneath my right nostril, it seemed appropriate to write an article exploring and exposing the myths about alkyl nitrites, which are more commonly known as 'Amyl', 'Poppers', or 'Rush'.

Although these solvents are not used exclusively by the gay community, the most likely place you'll find them are in the little bottles that gay men often have stuck up their noses… either on the dance floor, or during sex.

The 'amyl' available for today's recreational purposes isn't actually Amyl Nitrate, which is a prescription-only drug and hence a controlled substance. Amyl Nitrate has traditionally been used for medical purposes in the treatment of angina and as an antidote for cyanide poisoning. The drug was originally sold in small glass ampoules that were broken or crushed, creating a popping sound; hence the term 'poppers'.

As Amyl Nitrate is illegal to sell, alternative alkyl nitrites have been created for sale - most commonly isobutyl nitrite which creates a similar effect (although the strength of said effect would be keenly debated by any Urge Bar regular who might reminisce about the bygone days of real Amyl Nitrate).

The effects? First and foremost, remember, AMYL BURNS. These burns hurt, and they are a clear indicator to all around of what you've been up to. For the love of whatever higher being you may or may not believe in, take care not to get it on your skin (as I discovered much to my dismay, that this can be somewhat difficult when incredibly inebriated!). For those of you likely to utilise amyl when drunk, or in periods of 'activity', you may want to put some cotton wool in a small, easily closed container of some type, and to pour in the amyl so it soaks into the cotton wool. All the fun without the burns!

Ok, this then begs the question that 'if it gives me nasty, unsightly burns, why on earth would I sniff it?' Inhaling amyl relaxes 'smooth' muscles in the body, which include but are not limited to, the sphincter muscles of the anus and the vagina. This in turn causes blood pressure to drop and heart rate to increase which has the net result of a 'rush' or warmth and exhilaration that lasts a few minutes. So when amyl is used on the dance floor, it is for the effect of the euphoria and 'head-rush' it creates. When it is used to enhance sexual activity, it can make penetration easier, as well as increasing sexual drive and desire. Being a somewhat regular amyl user, I'd personally describe the experience as an 'intense physicality', as it suppresses conscious thought and makes a person focus purely on the physical sensation at hand.

The buzz of amyl has its cost though. Firstly, there is no guarantee of a pleasurable experience, and some people find it remarkably unpleasant. It's more than likely going to give you a small headache for a short period, the intensity of which depends on which of the alkyl nitrites is used in the brand you are using, and the concentration of that nitrite. Another side effect in some guys is that it'll make them go 'soft'. Because of its effect on blood pressure, it's recommended that amyl is not used in conjunction with Viagra, or any of the herbal sex pills such as Volcanic or C.V. We've already covered the fact that amyl burns. Yet although some of these side effects can be remarkably unpleasant, research indicates that there is little evidence of significant hazard associated with inhalation of alkyl nitrites.

A few tips for using 'amyl':

Fresh amyl is always best. The more recently the bottle's been opened, the cleaner its effect will be and the less likely it is to burn.

Amyl is best stored in the fridge when it's not in use - however, bring it back to room or body temperature before using it.

Keep water handy, and if you get a headache, have a drink - it'll help the discomfort pass.

If it's your first time, don't buy the strongest one you can get your hands on. Test yourself in a controlled situation first.



Scottie D - 21st November 2007