Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Social topics, Social issues

Publication Details

Sociological Research Online


The purpose of this article is to explore the motivations behind some men’s recreational use of illicit drugs from a gender standpoint. The rationale for this analysis stems from men’s predominance as illicit drug users and their likelihood of experiencing problem drug use and becoming a part of an over-represented population in drug treatment services. Explanations for men’s problematic/addicted patterns of drug use often point to marginalisation, disadvantage, and/or men’s tendency towards problematic health behaviours. This article argues that men’s illicit recreational drug use is often glossed over as a gendered activity and receives less scrutiny than problematic/addicted patterns of drug taking. It examines the drug-taking motivations of 20 Irish men who identified as illicit recreational drug users to expand on and deepen current explanations for men’s illicit recreational drug use. The article demonstrates how men engage in drug use for complex and contradictory reasons that include embodied quests for pleasure and excitement, achieving connection with other men, and performing or contravening masculinities in homosocial contexts.