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Inhaling The History: What Are Poppers And Their Significance In LGBTQ+ Culture?

Inhaling The History: What Are Poppers And Their Significance In LGBTQ+ Culture?

If by chance you are the kind of man who loves to party, you will have heard of or used poppers. In the gay community, poppers go by different names; liquid gold, ram, rock hard, thrust, or TNT. For the innocent ones out there (not too innocent, I hope), here’s a chance to learn about the wonder chemical that not only gives you a controllable high but also makes penile penetration easier and anal sex more pleasurable.

A popper is the street name for a class of chemical compounds called alkyl nitrites. Poppers get their name from the characteristic popping sound the original bottles (pearls) containing the poppers make when users open them. Poppers are popular among gays because they relax the sphincter (the anal muscle), give users a moderate-high, and increase sexual pleasure. However, there are dangers associated with the misuse of poppers.

As we delve into the subject of poppers, we’ll explore not only the hazards but also the rich history behind these compounds and the correct way to enjoy them. Ready to learn more? Check out Poppers UK for a deeper dive into their availability and Amyl Poppers for insights into one of the most popular types. So, let’s ignite this conversation with enthusiasm (and pardon the pun, it’s all in good spirits).

History Of Poppers

Like with every story, let’s start at the beginning. The person credited with the first synthetic manufacture of amyl nitrites in 1844 was a French chemist, Antoine Jerome Balard. However, it was until 1867 that Scottish doctor Lauder Brunton documented the first medical use of amyl nitrites when he used it to treat angina. This disease causes chest pain due to insufficient blood flow.

Through the years, amyl nitrites and other compounds within the same family, like butyl nitrites, were used for medical intervention. It wasn’t until the sixties that we had the first documented recreational use of poppers. 

By the seventies, the gay community had got on the popper train. In gay parties and clubs, and even gay saunas, gay men were using poppers heavily. Time magazine carried a story about the prevalence of poppers in the gay community. They deduced that its popularity was due to its aphrodisiac properties. By the end of the seventies, even heterosexual couples used poppers to enhance their sex life.

However, due to the increased misuse of poppers, some countries declared them illegal. In some parts of Europe and Canada, poppers are unlawful. Initially, an American resident needed a prescription to purchase poppers. But by 1990, the government banned all poppers. Despite the restriction on the sale of poppers, there’s still a brisk trade in poppers. We will be talking about a few top brands later. Now, let’s talk about some of the uses of poppers.

Use Of Poppers

Before talking about the various benefits of poppers, we would like to show you or shed light on how to use poppers. Though poppers are liquid, the most common method of application is inhalation. Once inhaled, poppers act within a few seconds to give a high. Depending on the amount inhaled, the effects of the popper can last from a few minutes to almost an hour.

Inhaling large amounts of poppers at once could lead to medical complications like low blood pressure, rapid heartbeats, brain injury, and sudden sniffing death. We will give you details about the safe use of poppers later in this article. Before we get to that, if you do not mind, let’s talk about the usefulness of poppers.

Gives A Short Term High

Gay men love to party, and nothing gets a party like many men who don’t have a care in the world. Poppers provide an almost immediate exhilaration when administered, and the effects don’t last long. 

So if what you are thinking is to have a great time with no hangover or withdrawal symptoms in the morning, Poppers are a great way to achieve that with little or no long-lasting effects. 

Relaxes The Anal Muscles, Which Enhances Sex

The sphincter is one of the involuntary muscles in the body. For gays, whether top or bottom, the muscles that control the anus are pretty crucial to fulfilling sex life. Sometimes, due to the size of the top’s penis or the level of contraction of the sphincter, anal sex might prove to be a painful or unrewarding affair.

Thankfully, that can be avoided with poppers. Even for medical use, one of the practical uses of poppers is to help relax muscles. Also, one of the reasons why poppers are so popular among gays is because it settles the anal muscles and makes sex more pleasurable. Poppers also increase blood flow through the penis, including the penis, which makes for a stronger erection.

Medical Treatment

Remember that the first documented use of amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite was for a medical procedure. Some people include poppers in the first aid kits because they (poppers) are effective in treating some heart conditions and chest pains.

Although the medical use of poppers isn’t one of the primary reasons people have poppers in their possession, it is a significant trivia fact to share. Fun fact, in medical jargon, poppers are called vasodilators. Which means they increase the width of the blood vessels to increase blood. And this is important information to save away until the need arises. You are welcome.

Increases Sexual Pleasure

The fact that poppers give users a high and help relax the muscles means that when you take them for having sex, you will probably have out-of-this-world sex. Scratch that; you will have one of the best sexual experiences of your life. When users use that ten-minute high that comes with inhaling poppers to engage in sexual intercourse, the results are always breathtaking. The orgasms seem to last longer; some also claim it helps the strength of their erections.

Since people are usually greedy, they might want to increase their feeling of sexual pleasure. To achieve this, some might mix poppers with Viagra, ecstasy, or marijuana. Some even go as far as pouring the poppers into alcohol and drinking the mixture. While all these might give you a higher feeling of euphoria, the effects are usually disastrous. In plain terms, don’t mix poppers with other drugs (yes, alcohol is a drug) isn’t something you should think of.

Miscellaneous Uses

Similar to medicinal purposes, a tiny percentage of people use poppers as leather softeners or polish, as deodorizers, nail polish removers, or even VCR head cleaners. Some poppers come in these packages, but few people use them for this purpose.

In countries where poppers are banned, like Canada, some firms package poppers in the forms listed above to their clients to avoid seizure from the authorities. So while products containing amyl nitrites or butyl nitrites could well serve as a nail polish remover, those in the know still use them for purposes like a quick high.

Inhaling The History: What Are Poppers And Their Significance In LGBTQ+ Culture?

Enjoyment Of Poppers

We have gone through the history, uses, and benefits of poppers. Let’s see the best ways to enjoy poppers.


The primary method of ingesting poppers is through inhalation. Though poppers are in liquid form, drinking them is harmful. So people open the bottle, put it close to their nose, and inhale like smelling salts.

Some advice against inhaling directly from the bottle, but this is a most experienced popper’s method. The best way to inhale a popper is to open the bottle and move the boy to and from your nose between three to six times, inhaling the fumes each time. By now, you should feel the effects of poppers in your system.

With Cigarettes

Some prefer to soak the tip of their cigarettes in the bottle of their favorite popper, then light the cigarette and inhale it along with the usual cigarette contents. We should note a warning here; both amyl and butyl nitrites are highly flammable. If you want to light a cigarette dipped in either, be careful that it doesn’t burst into flames and harm you.

There have been cases of people singeing their eyebrows while lighting a popper-laced cigarette. Again, we can’t stress enough that mixing drugs isn’t a great idea. If you are thinking of taking poppers, take them alone. If you plan on using this particular method to ingest poppers and notice you suddenly feel dizzy or lightheaded, please stop immediately.

Via Deodorizers

Some popper manufacturers advise against direct inhalation of poppers from the bottle. Instead, there have made them into deodorizers. The primary advantage is that these deodorizers cover a wide range, so you can use them in diffusers and use them at a party.

Another advantage is that these deodorizers come in varying flavors. So if you have a theme party, you could pick a flavor that suits that party. Then depending on the side of the fence, you are sitting on, this could be an advantage or disadvantage. Because you are inhaling directly from the bottle, the euphoric feeling from poppers isn’t relatively as high, but it lasts longer because it comes in doses. As with cigarettes, once you notice signs of dizziness, leave the room immediately for fresh air.

Types of Poppers

Let’s briefly talk about the several types of poppers available on the market. We know that poppers belong to the alkyl nitrites family. Still, the most popular ones are amyl nitrites, propyl nitrites, pentyl nitrites, and a mixture of the different popper types.

Amyl nitrites are the strongest brands of poppers on the current market, and they can be a little too much for a first-timer. People who used amyl nitrites confirmed they experienced a longer high than other poppers. Then there are also headaches associated with using amyl poppers.

For a long time, propyl poppers were illegal in several countries. Now, countries like France have legalized the use of the popper. Propyl poppers are a recent creation compared to the popper of other types, but many people like them hence their popularity. Propyl poppers are just as strong as amyl poppers, but the high doesn’t last as long.

Propyl poppers might be popular, but they aren’t as popular as pentyl poppers. In the popper market, pentyl poppers are the undisputed king. Most casual popper users have only used pentyl poppers. They are not as strong as amyl poppers, but they don’t cause headaches, and their high isn’t as long as amyl poppers. However, people like them also because pentyl poppers don’t evaporate as quickly as the others.

Finally, there are those who either love adventure or are decisive about their favorite type of popper, so they mix two or more classes. Some popper experts know the correct percentages of popper types to mix that would turn the concoction into an aphrodisiac. Some also combine other poppers with amyl poppers to eliminate the headache side effect while retaining its strong kick.

Dangers Associated with Poppers

We will be doing you a big disservice if we write about everything there is to know about poppers and don’t say anything about their dangers. Like all organic compounds, poppers are very flammable. So avoid exposing the liquid to naked fire. Let’s check out other hazards that might affect you due to consuming poppers.

Chemical Burns

Poppers are corrosive, so you shouldn’t allow them to contact your skin. There have been several skin burns when poppers are poorly handled and come in contact with the skin.

To prevent this, you have to handle the bottle correctly. Avoid skin exposure when inhaling, and ensure the bottle is closed when not used. Whenever poppers get on somebody’s skin, put the exposed part under running water, then seek medical attention. Their corrosiveness could also lead to rashes around the mouth and nose.


Not only are poppers corrosive, but they are also poisonous. Trying to drink amyl nitrites could lead to a fatality or, at the very best, a bad case of poisoning. Poisoning due to ingesting poppers is why you should never mix alcohol with poppers.

Irregular Heart Beats

Another danger of poppers is that they might cause irregular heartbeats when used. People with preexisting heart conditions are more prone to irregular heartbeats when they use poppers.

If you have a heart condition, avoid poppers. If you insist on using the drug, please seek medical attention immediately if you notice something wrong.

Eye Problems

Recently, several people have complained of temporary or permanent eye loss after the sustained use of poppers. Researchers haven’t pinpointed why this is so, but it is wise to err on caution. If you notice eye problems after inhaling poppers, don’t hesitate to seek medical help.

Low Blood Pressure

Using poppers could lead to a sudden drop in the body’s blood pressure. Lower blood pressure is especially true for people who already have problems with their blood pressure. This category of people is susceptible to low blood pressure, and the results could be fatal. We must emphasize that if you feel any sign of ill health, especially if you have a preexisting condition, please seek medical assistance.


There are times when the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to vital organs like the brain is impaired when people take poppers. When this happens, the result is a wave of nausea and dizziness. Dizziness usually occurs when people expose themselves to poppers for a long time.

Immediately anyone notices they are feeling lightheaded or dizzy, please stop inhaling, and seek medical assistance. 

There are some other things popper users should be aware of. If you encounter any form of issue with your heart, high or low blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, or glaucoma, you would be better off staying off poppers.

Best Popper Brands

Double Scorpio

Double Scorpio comes in a distinctive emerald bottle, and they are one of the more modern poppers on the market. Double Scorpio is an isobutyl popper made by a luxury popper brewer in Texas.

Double Scorpio is more like an aphrodisiac, and many who have used it have claimed it set them in the mood for a bout of sex. It comes in various scent variants like peppermint, eucalyptus, leather and tobacco (for real men), sage, and honey.

Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice is one of the most spoken of popper brands on the market, and they go back a while. Jungle Juice poppers have four variants; platinum, max, blue and black labels. The manufacturers claim the strength of the poppers differs with each brand. Still, some users claim it’s just a marketing gimmick.

The significant difference among the labels is that they smell different. Jungle Juice is a great brand, and every tag is a hit.

Everest Poppers

Everest poppers are pentyl poppers, and they come in two variants; Everest Black Label and Everest Original Poppers. Everest Poppers are a French brand; many consumers agree they are among the best pentyl poppers.

The black label gives a strong kick, boundless energy, and a lasting high. Its sibling, the Everest Original popper, acts more like an aphrodisiac and puts you in the mood for beautiful lovemaking. Both products are available in 10ml and 24ml bottles.

Iron Horse Poppers

Iron Horse is a product of Locker Room, a famous manufacturer of popular popper brands like High Rise, Amsterdam Special, and Blue Boy. Like most Locker Room products, Iron Horse advertises itself as the popper for the manly man. They urge users to unleash their inner beast and whip themselves and their partners into a euphoric frenzy and orgasm.

Iron Horse is a pentyl popper suitable for everybody. It works great as an aphrodisiac or a boost for the party. They come in 10ml bottles and are always available on most websites.

Dragon Power

You should know that Dragon Power is a strong popper from the name. The amyl popper gives you an intense euphoria and the energy to have fun. Dragon Power is one of the strongest popper brands available, and they are available in either 9ml or 24ml bottles.


When you compile the list of the most popular poppers, PWD Rush will be close to the top. Rush is so famous that many product imitations are available on the market. To differentiate between the real thing and fakes, PWD has changed the caps of their bottles to an embossed red.

Rush gives an instant high when inhaled and keeps you going briefly while you party. On some review websites, they deride Rush as the Bud of Poppers due to its popularity and low intoxicating power. Rush poppers come in 10ml bottles.

High Rise

Locker Room is one of the old brands in the game. Their appeal to masculine gays is one of the brand’s selling points, and High Rise is one of the products in their locker (sorry). High Rise doesn’t hide the fact that it is trying to target the masculinity of its clients, hence the name and bottle shape. High Rise, as its name implies, takes you high, ensures dilation, and makes sex a better experience.

High Rise does what it’s supposed to do adequately and doesn’t stand out from many other popper brands. Many people buy High Rise for the shape of the bottle rather than its content.

That Real Leather Shop Stuff

Remember when we said some poppers were sold as leather softeners or cleaners? That Real Leather Stuff is one of them. They are primarily amyl poppers and in unmarked brown bottles. You can look no further than this if you are searching for the strong stuff.

However, this particular popper is quite challenging because they are sold in a New York sex shop to trusted customers. Those who have experienced That Real Leather Stuff swear by everything they believe in that it’s strong and takes them to their happy place for a long time.

Recapping What Are Poppers

Poppers can provide a welcome thrill to its users, and because there’s no threat of addiction, it’s an excellent upper. Despite the benefits that come from using poppers (especially the guaranteed great sex), it’s important to take precautions when you use poppers.

The essential precaution is listening to your body. As soon as you start feeling uncomfortable when you use poppers, stop and seek medical help. If you are a beginner, avoid amyl nitrite poppers until you are used to the sensation from less intoxicating poppers like propyl poppers. Finally, due to the legal restrictions involved in getting poppers in some countries, there are many manufacturers that help customers mail poppers as innocent-looking parcels or objects.

Inhaling The History: What Are Poppers And Their Significance In LGBTQ+ Culture?