6 Things You Didn’t Know About Poppers3 min read

You’ve probably used Poppers (many, many times) or slept with someone who has. But how much do you reeeeeally know about this little genie in a bottle?


1. What exactly are Poppers Anyway?

poppers cat

Besides being a magical liquid that comes in a brightly colored bottle and makes bottoming possible for everyone, “Amyl nitrite, also known as ‘poppers’ is a short acting inhalant, causing vasodilation (when your blood vessels dilate, which decreases blood pressure), accompanied by an intense rush ), euphoria, and a sensation of heat and excitement (yeah, you knew that part!).

Amyl nitrite has maintained a prominent position among vasodilators used in medicine for over 100 years. In terms of recreational use, Amyl nitrite and other compounds of the alkyl nitrite -popper- family have been part of the club culture from the 1970’s disco scene up till current times.”—DrugsForum.com

2. You Actually Need a Rx to Buy Poppers in the USA

Poppers Prescription in USA

Poppers (amyl nitrite) have been a prescription drug in the US since 1937. It was then over-the-counter for nine years from 1960 until it the FDA reversed the ruling 1969. It’s speculated that the decision was probably fueled by homophobia rather than a genuine public-health concern.

Even back in the 60s almost all recreational users of amyl nitrite were gay men. You can still buy alkyl-nitrite poppers, which you’ll usually see sold in sex shops as video-head cleaners, nail-polish removers, and room odorizers.

Source: Wikipedia

3. Why Are Poppers Called “Poppers?”

vintage poppers ad

The name “poppers” dates back to the early days of the drug. Amyl nitrite poppers originally used to come in small glass capsules. You would then snap them to release the liquid’s aroma. Back then, the glass vials were commonly called pearls. They made a distinctive popping sound when crushed – hence the name “poppers”. The name stuck ever since.

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4. Poppers Work By Relaxing Your Smooth Muscles


Even for the most talented bottom, sometimes it’s a little nerve-wracking before you’re about to sit on someone who’s hung like a rhinoceros. That’s where poppers come in. When you inhale poppers it dilates your blood vessels and relaxes smooth muscles like your sphincter—letting you take that massive member.

Warning: Viagra also dilates your blood vessels and can cause heart attacks or strokes when with mixed with Poppers.

5. Sale of Poppers is a Criminal Offense in Canada

Poppers Canada Illegal

Mon dieu! Say what?! Why? It’s true. The sale of any mixture of poppers is illegal in Canada. Even though it isn’t considered a narcotic and it IS LEGAL to possess or use, Canada still considers it a drug. Since 2013 they’ve been cracking down on the distribution of poppers and if people caught selling could be punished with fines up to $5,000 and prison. (Insert gay cliché joke about “dropping soap” here).

Source: Wikipedia

6. Some Poppers Can Be Dangerous or Even Fatal

Poppers Danger

Know what you’re buying, boys. At normal doses, most poppers are completely safe. But there’s a new class of poppers (made from a variety of inhalants) on the market that aren’t like old poppers (amyl/alkyl nitrate) at all.

They can cause damaging health effects, potentially permanent impairment in memory and movement, brain damage, and a rare but fatal arrhythmia in some people, known as “sudden sniffing death”.

Source: Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health