An old 70’s style clone speaking now: - so are we clear it’s not an hallucinogen?
It also probably wasn’t amyl nitrite since that was actually a medication (used for angina attacks), and its production and sale may have had legal ramifications. Butyl nitrite was used extensively, and then (I believe) when that was outlawed another form of nitrite would be manufactured until the authorities got wise to that one and so on.
True, it could be used to relax the sphincter muscles, but that alone is rarely the reason for using it during sex. It’s more that fact that it has the instant and temporary (ninety seconds to two minutes) power of heightening physical sensation. Anything sensual becomes more intensely so, and one’s response feels more abandoned, and uninhibited.
So, while making love it might be used every five minutes or so, and sharing amyl is a form of closeness for many gay men. Because it comes in those little bottles, learning to open and close the bottle with one hand while the other was busy, was one of my generation’s rites of passage.
Similarly it has had a long history as a dance floor drug, because a snort can induce an overwhelming feeling of melting into the rhythm, the music and the crowd, and feeling a magical tribal one-ness.
It’s also a drug that appeals to control queens because the effect is immediate, and lasts for such a short time. You are back in reality before long, and can either take more, or stay sober, as you choose.
But the way it will not ever work (beyond that odd dizzy feeling) is inhaled behind the bike sheds at school, or sitting around on a sofa. There’s no way that trying it like that can give you any idea of the effects when used in a sensual situation.
Very few heterosexual couples like using it. I suspect the reason is that the “abandoned and uninhibited” feeling is attractive to gay men in a way that it isn’t to straight couples.
At one time Amyl was considered a possible cause of HIV/AIDS. This proved to be incorrect, and although inhaling substances is unlikely ever to be Good For You, it doesn’t seem to have serious consequences for health.