Sex on Psychedelics
Sex on a psychedelic like MDMA can be the magical elixir for perfect sex. MDMA (aka Molly or Ecstacy) provides hallucinogenic and stimulant effects. Sasha Shulgin is an American biochemist and psychopharmacologist who concocted MDMA. Hence he is dubbed the Godfather of Ecstasy. He also created a few hundred psychedelic compounds, including the 2C family of psychotropics.
Sexy Drug 2C-B
The psychoactive substance 2C-B, according to Shulgin, is the most sensual hallucinogen. “I’d agree,” says Julie Holland, MD, psychiatrist and author of Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics. However, MDMA remains enduringly popular. Two psychiatrists used MDMA with 80 clients in couple’s therapy between 1980 and 1985.
According to The Atlantic, the doctors said ithe drug “decreases irrational fear responses to perceived emotional threats.” Today, couples continue the tradition on their own. “MDMA and 2C-B enhance the physical and emotional sensations of sex,” says Shane, 40, from Delaware.
No Fear Here
“With MDMA,” says Dr. Holland, “there is a direct pharmacological effect of increased oxytocin. But, there may be crosstalk between the psychedelic receptor 5HT2A and the oxytocin receptor. So, other psychedelics would have an indirect effect.” She also says, “Oxytocin dampens the fear-based amygdala response, helping us to open up – to trust and bond.”
Sex on Psychedelics Research
Sex and psychedelics need more research, though. While dozens of studies investigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, there has been hardly any research on the role they play for sexual intimacy. Sexuality is considered under-researched. This means that most of what we know about psychedelics and sex is merely anecdotal. “MDMA deeply enhanced the connection between me and the other person says Harry Resin, a cannabis industry insider from Oakland. “We were able to have a deep tantric connection.”
Mushrooms and LSD
Others have similar experiences with ‘shrooms and LSD. “The combination brought heightened sensation and awareness,” says Sami, 26, from Los Angeles. She felt much less self-conscious about sexual performance and her appearance. And that led to enhancing an emotional connection with her partner. Does who we trip with matter even more than the substance?
According to Dr. Holland, “Depending on the situation, I think any psychedelic can enhance emotional intimacy.” The reverse is also true. It’s normal to forget about sex or experience sexual dysfunction while on psychedelics. “MDMA is great, obviously, for emotional intimacy,” Dr. Holland says. “And it can make touch feel lovely, and love feel ecstatic, but for some people, it’s difficult to have a full sexual response (e.g. get erections or climax).”
Psychedelic Sex and Setting
Regardless of which psychedelic you ingest, setting plays a critical role in your sexual experience. “They are the experience,” says Dr. Holland. “What else is there but how you’re doing internally and what’s around you externally? That tiny piece of paper you put on your tongue? To maximize the pleasure in the experience, you have to feel truly safe.” That safe space should exist in your literal surroundings, with your partner, and of course, your mindset.
Within You and Without You
Psychologist and certified psychedelic integrationist Dr. Denise Renye says, “Feeling calm and clearheaded prior, and having open conversations is necessary. The setting is also key to having a deep and more conscious experience. Where the experience takes place can really influence levels of presence. And, it can create the container and ambiance that could yield to a deeper experience.” This applies both “individually and together with the people involved.”
Too Loopy for Sex
One can be too high on a psychedelic for sex. For instance, camping as a couple somewhere romantic may be different than at a music festival. “I took the LSD with my boyfriend at a music festival with the intention of having sex,” says Carly, 31, from Brooklyn. “Neither of us has had sex while tripping. But, I think we took too much. Because, when we got back to the tent, we just wanted to pretend to be monkeys and climb all over everything. We sort of forgot about sex, to be honest.”
So start low and go slow. “If the dose is too high, a sexual experience will most likely not even be possible,” says psychologist and certified psychedelic integrationist Dr. Denise Renye. Psychedelics can be life saving (or sex life saving). Drugs can have a massive healing potential. But like any substance, they can affect your ability to give consent.
Have Safe Sex
Be careful. Being high can be great fun but being aware of reality is uber important too. “The same rules for non-altered sex would apply here: enthusiastic consent, birth control, and protection against sexually acquired infections. Now, you have to factor in the potential to transmit or receive a sometimes-fatal virus,” Dr. Holland says. “That’s a lot to put on someone who’s significantly altered.”
Natural Highs Are Trippy Too
To have the safest sex, you don’t need drugs to have a trippy experience. “When Jeremy proposed to me, I felt like we were both tripping and peaking at the same time, but we had ingested nothing,” says Dr. Holland. “Same thing when Molly was being born. I felt completely altered on my own chemistry.”
The Bottom Line
“The take-home message,” says Dr. Holland, “is that connection, and love, and oneness can create a lot of the same good chemistry we’re looking for outside ourselves.”