If you’re a sexually adventurous and openly gay or bi person, you’ve probably heard about poppers, the recreational, nitrate-based drug that, when inhaled, provides a relaxing, intense and disorienting rush of euphoria, sensitivity and increased blood flow to the face and extremities. Because of their relaxing effect on involuntary smooth muscles in the throat and anus, many people use poppers before giving head or bottoming, but apparently there’s a recent trend of popper training videos on porn-tube sites that instruct viewers on how to use them like a pro—the only downside: They could be harmful to your health.
You see, poppers are potentially risky because they can dramatically lower blood pressure which decreases oxygenation to the brain, something which can cause rapid, shallow breathing, blurred vision, dizziness and fainting. Furthermore, different brands can contain different ingredients, ingredients which aren’t usually regulated by government safety standards (partially because many of them are sold as “VHS tape head cleaner” rather than dugs, as if anyone besides film nerds even use VHS these days).
Considering the potential risks, you might think that the aforementioned poppers videos would inform users on how to huff poppers responsibly, but haha, you’d be wrong. Their key aim is to teach guys how to take longer, deeper and quicker hits for increased sensual pleasure, and they do this by combining instructions alongside techno music and rapid-cut footage of guys jerking-off and ejaculating.
In DIY tutorials posted to sites like Xtube, Pornhub, and Tumblr, “poppers training videos” give users step-by-step instructions to get the most out of their little amber bottles. They range from a few minutes in length to well over an hour; the general format is akin to an erotic P90X workout video, where a montage of gay-porn clips is interspersed with instructions to inhale one’s poppers, hold the “hit,” then release. That “hit, hold, release” pattern increases in frequency and intensity as the video plays, with the intensity of the porn accompanying it increasing to match. Skill levels vary from “beginner” videos (shorter hits, shorter “hold” times) to “master.”
While we can’t vouch for their effect or safety, they’re at least interesting from an artistic and cultural standpoint. After all, gay urbanites have been using poppers since the early ‘70s disco era and it’s fascinating to see how these modern-day videos synchronize the drug’s physical effects to electronic music that swells and increases in volume as the drugs take hold. The music and flashing, sexy images provide a rush whether you’re using the drugs or not.
While doctors would likely disapprove of the vigorous poppers play suggested in these videos, the Vice article’s author suggests that any experimenter should use a buddy system for extra safety.