Is it possible to unfurl new pathways of love and intimacy? To experience transcendent bliss in the presence of a partner? To feel a heightened sense of pleasure and openness than you previously thought you were ever capable of?
Psychedelics are widely intriguing because of their ability to intensify emotions and invoke transcendent feelings of connection with the universe, so it’s totally reasonable to ponder how psychedelics would affect our sexual encounters.
While there is an abundance of new research on the therapeutic uses of these medicines for mental health conditions like PTSD, OCD, and anxiety, this article is all about the potential mind-blowing benefits of combining them with lovemaking.
We will also be covering any recent scientific research on the matter, as well as necessary risks, safety concerns, and considerations that come along with this duo.
We hope to help paint a clearer picture for you on whether or not you should experiment sexually while tripping on psychedelics like magic mushrooms, LSD, and MDMA.
Most importantly, we encourage everyone to prioritize safety above all else, ensuring that informed consent and open communication form the foundation of any psychedelic experience involving intimacy. Let’s dive into this juicy topic!
Psychedelic Science on Sex, Intimacy, and Use of Hallucinogens
Before we cover any of these studies, it is important for us to point out that psychedelics have already been shown to have positive impacts on relationship dynamics and emotional intimacy—which could positively impact one’s sexual relationship.
However, research on the true effects of psychedelic use on sexual desire, arousal, and performance is incredibly limited.
All interviewed participants were analyzed regarding “the effect of microdosing on confidence, openness, sexuality, inhibition and perceived relationship satisfaction” as well as “increased sexual self-efficacy; sexual exploration; and heightened relationship satisfaction.”
According to the analysis, participants who answered that microdosing had a positive impact reported “elevated sexual desire, exploration, communication and enhanced sensory and sexual experience, thus potentially supporting emotional and physical connection.”
It may be true that dosage has a large impact on how any given substance impacts one’s arousal (with smaller doses having a more positive effect).
In the case of ketamine, “It has been suggested that high doses of ketamine are not compatible with sex; however, lower doses may increase the desire to engage in sex. Use of high doses of ketamine can impair judgment and impede overall functioning, leaving the user vulnerable to sex-related crimes or unprotected sex.
Although the effects are not known to be highly sexual, ketamine has been shown to increase the odds for unprotected anal sex at a higher level than other club drugs” (Palamar et al., 2015).
Ketamine’s dissociative qualities are more likely to result in a numb feeling, with feelings of apathy/disinterest and more muted sensation.
MDMA, on the other hand, is known as the “love drug” and “hug drug” because of the heightened feelings of empathy, sensation, connection, and openness to one’s surroundings and peers.
However, Zemishlany and colleagues analyzed MDMA’s effects on “desire, erection (lubrication in women), orgasm and satisfaction” finding that “desire and satisfaction were moderately to profoundly increased by MDMA in more than 90% of subjects.
Orgasm was delayed but perceived as more intense. Erection was impaired in 40% of the men. It seems that MDMA impairs sexual performance, in spite of enhancement of sexual desire and the perception of greater satisfaction” (2001).
Research is still limited on ecstasy, but it was found that “use has also been found to impair sexual performance through erectile dysfunction, inhibited sex drive, and delayed or impeded orgasm.”
Overall, many different drugs—especially those acting on serotonin receptors—can have inhibitory effects on sexual arousal, potency, and orgasm (Conaglen & Conaglen, 2013).
While there are no specific or conclusive studies conducted on LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, or psilocybin (magic mushrooms), we do know that substances which act on the serotonin receptors play a role inhibiting or enhancing sexual desire and pleasure.
Interestingly, with psychedelics being posited as an effective alternative to antidepressant medications—and with them having no long-term negative side effects on sexual functioning—psychedelics may be a good option for those experiencing adverse symptoms like erectile dysfunction from SSRIs (Raval et al., 2021).
Lastly, a 2014 review by Lynda Uphouse covers a study performed on female rats which showed a close link between 5-HT receptors and sexual arousal.
Evident behavior patterns associated with interest in mating with male rats were found to generally increase or decrease depending on agonistic (stimulation) or antagonistic (blocking) stimulation of the 5-HT serotonin receptors.
While the findings were complex and inconsistent, “the bulk of evidence supported the hypothesis that compounds that increased 5-HT reduced female sexual behavior and compounds that decreased 5-HT facilitated sexual behavior.”
While this study is far from conclusive, psilocybin and LSD are known agonists for the 5-HT2A receptors, so it is likely that they do have an effect on our sexual functioning in one way or another.
Even more interesting is that “alterations in 5-HT functioning are thought to contribute to the sexual dysfunction that occurs following treatment with antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)”
This may place psychedelics (which are increasingly becoming known as alternatives to antidepressant medications) as a better antidepressant option for those experiencing erectile dysfunction or impotence from SSRIs.
In the past, we have written about SSRIs and antidepressants and the minimizing effect they commonly have on psychedelics, and there is no known link to taking psychedelics and experiencing those same negative symptoms.
Overall, no scientific data is available indicating whether psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, or other serotonergic or tryptamine psychedelics would have a positive or negative effect on sexual desire, experience, or performance.
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Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Having Sex While on Psychedelics
Depending on which substance you take, engaging in a sexual encounter while under the influence could potentially have many different interesting, expansive, and positive outcomes, but here are a few:
- Amplified sensations and physical pleasure
- Expanded self-awareness and sexually contextual insights
- Temporarily dismantled emotional barriers and fears
- Enhanced connection and empathy
- Spiritual and transcendent experiences
- Heightened sense of presence and mindfulness
Risks & Considerations: Our Tips For Safe Psychedelic Sexual Exploration
1. Assess Intentions, Expectations, & Level of Trust
Before embarking on a psychedelic-inspired sexual experience, it is crucial to assess one’s intentions and expectations. Understanding the motivations behind this exploration can help ensure that the experience aligns with personal goals and desires.
Additionally, the level of trust between partners plays a vital role in fostering a safe and comfortable environment for these encounters.
2. Feel Safe Through Preparation
Feeling safe and prepared is paramount when combining psychedelics and sex. Ensuring you are in a secure and familiar environment with people you trust is crucial for minimizing potential risks.
Preparing for the experience beforehand, both mentally and physically, can contribute to a more positive and enriching encounter.
3. Acknowledge Potential Risks and Substance Effects
Different psychedelics may have varying effects on the body and mind, including the possibility of inhibiting or heightening male sexual arousal.
Understanding the potential risks associated with each substance can help individuals make informed decisions about their psychedelic journey.
4. Prioritize Intention Rather Than Casualty
Distinguishing between having sex on psychedelics and using them intentionally as tools to experience sex from a new perspective makes a big difference.
Intentional exploration requires deeper introspection and preparedness, while casual encounters may be spontaneous and less controlled. Being aware of this difference can influence the experience’s overall outcome.
5. Check In With Individual Needs and Desires
Regardless of being in a stable relationship, individuals must deeply consider their own needs and desires beforehand, preferably in a sober state. Reflecting on personal boundaries and comfort levels can help ensure a positive and consensual experience for both partners.
6. Consent and Set Boundaries
Obtaining enthusiastic and informed consent from all parties involved is paramount in any sexual encounter. Establishing and respecting boundaries ensures a safe and respectful exploration of psychedelic-inspired intimacy.
Engaging in psychedelic-inspired sexual experiences necessitates honesty, transparency, and effective communication between partners. Prioritizing informed consent ensures that both individuals are aware of the risks and intentions involved in the experience.
7. Managing Overwhelmed Sensitivity
Psychedelics can heighten sensitivity, leading to potential discomfort or anxiety during sexual encounters. Practicing mindfulness and setting clear intentions can help navigate overwhelming feelings and create a supportive space for both partners.
Psychedelic experiences may elicit unexpected emotions or feelings. Partners should be prepared to support each other emotionally, creating an environment of trust and empathy
8. Recognizing Physical Limitations
Being under the influence of psychedelics can impair physical coordination and judgment. Being mindful of these limitations can prevent accidents or injuries during the experience.
Ready to Find the Right Psychedelic Guide For You?
As we have covered in this article, your environment and company during a psychedelic experience play an important role in the quality of your journey.
If you are interested in having an intentional psychedelic experience, our network of professional facilitators offer neutral and safe support and expertise in navigating the complex landscape that is the psychedelic trip.
Book a consultation with our concierges today to get connected to our network of guides located all over the United States, and also check out our resources page for additional articles and information on therapeutic psychedelic use.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sex & Psychedelic Use
Q: Is it safe to have sex while on psychedelics?
Engaging in sexual activities while under the influence of psychedelics carries certain risks. It’s crucial to approach this combination with caution and mindfulness.
Ensuring a safe environment—including the people present—as well as being aware of potential physical and emotional vulnerabilities, can contribute to a safer and more positive experience.
Q: Can psychedelics enhance the sexual experience?
For some individuals, psychedelics can intensify sensory perceptions, emotional connections, and feelings of intimacy. For others, it may be frightening, overstimulating, or simply too distracting.
Altered states of consciousness can lead to a profound and meaningful sexual encounter, however, it is not guaranteed.
Q: How do psychedelics affect sexual function for men?
Psychedelics can have varying effects on sexual function. While some men may experience heightened sensations and intensified pleasure, others might encounter difficulties achieving or maintaining an erection.
This variability is influenced by the specific substance and dosage used as well as the individual’s unique response to it. This also applies to women’s arousal and lubrication.
Q: What are the potential risks of having sex on psychedelics?
Engaging in sexual activities while on psychedelics while not in the right company or setting could lead to anxiety, overwhelm, or even dangerous or traumatic situations.
It is so important to prepare for a psychedelic experience or at the very least feel confident that your setting is safe and conducive to being in a state of vulnerability.
Additionally, it could also lead to deep emotional bonding with whoever is present, so who you choose to engage in the activity with needs to be a conscious, deliberate, and thoughtful choice for both parties.