The Best Poppers, According to a Popper Historian


Have you ever been to a sex shop and seen little colorful bottles at the checkout that look like 5 hour energy shots? I always thought it was some kind of sketchy over-the-counter pill, having never looked too closely. But eventually I learned that they are actually one different medication associated with deboning: poppers.

To clear up some confusion about what these drugs are, what they do to the body and mind, and where to find the best ones, I spoke to Adam Zmith, a writer and podcaster who published a book the year last title Deep Sniff: A History of Poppers and Queer Futures. Let’s get to the bottom of these controversial little bottles.

What are poppers and what are they used for?

“Poppers” is a slang term for a class of drugs called alkyl nitrites. Although they were first synthesized in the 1840s, they gained popularity in the 1970s, especially among gay men in the nightlife scene.

A bottle of poppers contains a liquid, and most importantly, you don’t drink or ingest the liquid, but rather the vapors. One of the best-known uses of poppers is to relax your muscles, especially in and around the anus, making anal sex and other tricky sexual maneuvers (like deep throating) temporarily easier. They also help you get rid of your inhibitions and stimulate arousal in some people. “It’s a combination of relaxation, excitement, and excitement all at once,” says Zmith. The effects only last about 90 seconds, but for many people it’s an enjoyable enough experience to keep them coming back again and again.

The legal status of poppers is messy to say the least. Some types are banned in the US and not the UK, and vice versa; in the meantime, some countries, such as Canada, have completely banned them. The FDA advises against them, citing potential health effects such as severe headaches, difficulty breathing, and blood oxygen problems, but some researchers have found that the risks associated with poppers are minimal compared to those other recreational drugs, especially when users inhale the vapors rather than swallowing the liquid itself and avoid overuse.

“The relative harms of poppers are really, really low,” says Zmith. “Authorities like the FDA, I don’t know if they exaggerate the potential damage, but they only state the problem, and some people give undue weight to statements like that. As with any other intoxicant, you need to do your own research, make your own decisions, and pay attention to your own body’s reactions.

For now, due to the semi-illegality of poppers, they are sold under many euphemisms: “video cassette head cleaner”, “nail polish remover”, “air freshener”, etc. Zmith recommends looking for them at your local sex shop; For the purposes of this article, I linked to 4Solvents, an online popper store that comes well recommended by the intrepid hedonists of the PopperPigs subreddit.

Poppers Safety 101

1) Do not drink the liquid. In case you missed this essential point in the previous paragraphs: The liquid contained in your bottle of poppers is not to be drunk! “Steam is what you want,” says Zmith. “Hold the open bottle under your nose and inhale deeply, and try not to let the liquid touch your skin or go up your nose.” Ingesting poppers presents all sorts of heartbreaking risks, like cyanosis (a bluish tinge to the skin), unconsciousness, and death. Orgasms on poppers may feel like a “little death”, but they’re not really worth dying for!

Also, the liquid itself can cause chemical burns to the skin, so repeat after me: It’s just the vapors I want. It’s just the vapors I want.

2) Skip the Boner meds. I get why you’d want to take them – having a relaxed asshole and a hard cock sounds like the stuff of a fun night out. But vasodilators like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra can lead to fainting and strokes if you take them with poppers, so it’s wiser to choose one or the other. Sorry to harden your buzz.

3) Choose a comfortable environment. As with just about any medication, Zmith says it’s important to make sure you feel safe and comfortable both where you’re taking the medication and with the person or person. to the people you take it with. You can’t know exactly how you’ll react to a new drug — or even a new one. brand medicine you’ve already taken – so it’s safest to take it somewhere you know you can get help quickly if you need it.

In particular, if you are a beginner, I recommend that you sit down. Poppers can give you a head rush, and if you’re not used to them, you’ll probably want to sit or lie down after inhaling, anyway.

4) Listen to your body. “Give yourself time to experience it,” Zmith says. “Observe what happens when you sniff it – that is, wait and feel it and let the rush take over your body and feel what you feel.” This is good advice not only because it allows you to appreciate the effects of the drug more deeply, but also because adverse effects like severe headaches or difficulty breathing may be indicators that you have been snorting. too fast, or you’re using a brand that you just don’t agree with for some reason.

Ready to pop your cherry poppers? Here are some brands suggested by Zmith…


Rush is one of the oldest popper brands in the business, and the one Zmith recommends if you want something established and reliable. “He has such a pedigree, not [necessarily] quality, but just longevity,” he says.

That said, due to Rush’s fame in the popper world, many counterfeiters have sprung up (so to speak) to produce and sell counterfeits of this seasoned brand. The makers of Rush, PWD, have introduced an embossed red cap on the new bottles, intended to help consumers distinguish the real Rush from its imitators – but there’s always a risk, with unregulated substances, that you won’t don’t get what you thought you were getting. . “That’s why we need to legalize substances, so we can market them properly and regulate them,” Zmith says. “If there’s a gray market or a black market, you don’t really get full transparency.”

Changing room

Zmith also mentions Locker Room as an example of a long-standing and much-loved popper brand. The bottle’s hyper-masc aesthetic is a big selling point for some users. “For me, there is not much difference between [brands], so I look at the names and the design of the packaging and how ridiculous or stupid it is,” says Zmith. “Some of them quite transparently try to appeal to a certain sense of manly masculinity, which I find hilarious.”

Well-worn gender norms aside, a product’s branding can make a significant difference in how you perceive your experience with it, as anyone who’s ever sipped Dom Pérignon or coveted a bag can tell you. Birkin. If the look of a bottle of poppers makes snorting more satisfying for you, more power for you.

Jungle Juice

Another well-established brand that Zmith likes is Jungle Juice, a company that makes several different versions of its product: Jungle Juice Black, Jungle Juice Platinum, Jungle Juice Max, Jungle Juice Blue, etc. What is the difference between the varieties? Who knows. Some claim to be “extra strength”, but again, since they are unregulated, you should take the label information with a grain of salt.

Zmith doesn’t notice much of a difference between the brands in terms of effects. “If you did a blind sniff test of A, B, and C, I don’t know if you could tell which brand A was and which brand B was,” he says. “But you could say how A was different from B – like [with] A, the smell was more fruity, for example, or you could say that B had a stronger hit.

Double Scorpio

A relatively new name in the poppers business is Double Scorpio, a luxury brand based in Austin, Texas. They make beautifully packaged poppers that come in various sensual scents, like leather and tobacco, frankincense and sage, and peppermint and eucalyptus. “I think it’s interesting because it’s kind of hipster and trendy stuff,” Zmith says.

Taking many drugs, especially poppers, can be a quest for joy, pleasure and playfulness – so why do not have your nose full of a whimsical scent when you sniff them?


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