Journalist Rod Liddle has drawn condemnation from Stonewall for a column telling gay men that using poppers to make sex more pleasurable is "God’s way of telling you that what you’re about to do is unnatural and perverse".
Liddle, the associate editor of The Spectator, wrote a piece in response to opposition to ban the legal high known as poppers - the name given to the drug amyl nitrate that is used by some gay men to make sex more enjoyable.
MP Crispin Blunt, who is gay, recently told the House of Commons he was "astonished" that there were proposals to ban the legal drug, which relaxes the anal sphincter muscles.
The government is currently reviewing whether poppers are harmful, and MPs have voted against making them exempt from the psychoactive substances bill, which would make them illegal if it passes into law.
Blunt, a former prisons minister, told MPs: "I out myself as a popper user, and would be directly affected by this legislation and I’m astonished to find that it’s proposing to be banned and, frankly, so were many other gay men."
But Liddle railed against his speech in a column titled 'Did we really have to hear all about Crispin Blunt’s sex life?'
The journalist said he believed issues around gay sex shouldn't always prompt a response of "eeeeuw" from homosexual people, but that this was justified in some cases.
"I would have thought that the requirement for amyl nitrate to relax the sphincter muscle and lube to accommodate entry was God’s way of telling you that what you’re about to do is unnatural and perverse. Or your body’s way of telling you – your call. So eeeeuw."
Liddle concluded his piece by calling for the legal drug to be banned, saying it was "very bad for you", and suggesting Blunt and other gay men could use a crowbar instead.
LGBT rights group Stonewall said Liddle's comments were damaging but that it "wouldn’t expect anything less" from "repeat offending bigots" like Liddle.
A Stonewall spokesperson said: "Comments like this are shocking and damaging, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from repeat offending bigots like Rod Liddle.
"The Government’s move for an immediate review of whether poppers are harmful is right, but banning them before this review is concluded is unacceptable.
"It will cause confusion and drive gay and bi men who use poppers to seek out illegal drug suppliers from April onwards, putting their health at serious risk.’
A spokesperson for Crispin Blunt told The Huffington Post UK he had made his views clear in the debate last week and would not be commenting further.
In November, Green Party spokesman Benali Hamdache wrote on HuffPost UK that the 'legal highs' bill was a "worrying step backward in our policy on drugs" and that it would impose "heavy new criminal punishments for a range of substances previously seen as harmless."
"The ban on poppers is happening because no one has been talking about. It's time to shine a light. I'll admit I've had poppers and yes I did inhale," he wrote.
"It did me no harm and countless others the same. It's time for a grown up drugs policy. One that recognises that evidence should govern drug law not reactive conservative morals."
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more