The recreational use of alkyl nitrites is typically an attempt to enhance a sexual experience. The head rush, euphoria, and sensations of relaxation that result from the blood pressure drop are often felt to increase sexual arousal and desire. At the same time, the relaxation of the sphincters of the anus and vagina can make penetration easier. Similarly, a temporary reduction in the stiffness of the erection can also make penetration easier or more comfortable, so long as an adequate degree of stiffness is retained. Some people find poppers can also moderate their gag reflex, facilitating fellatio. Others report that poppers can enhance and prolong orgasms.
While anecdotal evidence reveals that both men and women can find the experience of using poppers pleasurable, this experience is not universal. Some people report that the smell of second-hand poppers (which delivers a relatively small dose) can cause head-aches and nausea. Others feel the reduction in erection stiffness can interfere with sexual performance. Some men find that poppers can interfere with their ability to attain or maintain an erection. These undesirable effects occur for most people as exposure increases.
Some nitrite users combine them with other recreational drugs to enhance the effects. For example, the combination of poppers and Ecstasy (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) reportedly produces an intense rush of euphoria and physical pleasure. Since the rise of Disco in the mid-1970s and of Acid House music in the late 1980s, nitrite inhalants have been a large part of the disco scene and rave culture, used on the dance floor to heighten the experience of music and lights.
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