Combining Psychedelics And Sex Offers Potential Benefits And Risks
There is a critical lag in research surrounding sex and drugs. These two wildly popular facets of life continue to suffer as scientific studies remain at a minimum due to a combination of prohibition and social stigma. Today, a trickle of scientific findings combines with a wealth of anecdotal reports to shape our best understandings.
The dearth of verified findings in each realm has never stopped individuals from experimenting with one or both. For many, exploration includes combining sex with psychedelics, be they psilocybin, LSD, or various others. Those seeking information before diving in are left with few options. The lack of factual findings leads interested parties to an all-too-common source: anecdotes. While often not lab-verified, such reports tend to fall in-line with eventual lab studies.
Signs Of Possible Benefits And Limitations In Lab Studies
Daniel Sher, a clinical psychologist and sex therapy expert at Between Us premature ejaculation clinic, said that using psychedelics should improve sexual performance, in theory. “We know, for example, that psychedelics have been harnessed to treat depression, anxiety, trauma and relationship difficulties. Therefore, it makes sense that possible synergies between psychedelic and sex therapies exist and represent fruitful avenues for investigation.” Without fully endorsing any, Sher said there is potential in a variety of psychedelics, including MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, and ketamine.
Nicolle Hodges, a journalist, sexual freedom advocate and author of The Orgasm Book, also supports psychedelic use during intimate moments. The writer-advocate said that psychedelics have an inherent ability to take us out of what some might consider a performance mode. However, she emphasized that sex should never be a performance.
She added that psychedelics have the potential to “[allow] us to get into our body and even feel ourselves, and others, beyond the physical.”
Hodges said some beneficial experiences might include, “Dissolution of ego, expansion of empathy, awareness of body, the electricity of touch amplified, surrender into the present, and relinquishing fear, insecurity, and incessant self-analysis in order to experience pleasure as pleasure is meant to be.”
Both Hodges and Sher note that while there is potential benefit from combining the two, a lack of clinical data provides lingering uncertainty. “Most things sex-based are anecdotal…until scientists, or those funding science, begin to take orgasms and pleasure, specifically female pleasure, seriously, that’s all it will be,” Hodges said.
Sher recommended that people abstain from using psychedelics outside of a controlled environment. Noting the importance of set and setting, the clinical psychologist said, “Psychedelic sex therapy should only be practiced within controlled, clinical settings and under the guidance of a registered health professional.”
He added, “exploring trauma while experiencing an altered state of consciousness can exacerbate that trauma if the set and setting are not being appropriately managed by a trained professional.”
Hodges agreed that lab findings supported by data could help verify sex and psychedelics as meditative options. However, creating such results can be difficult, as the lab does not often adequately replicate the intimate setting partners create for themselves.
Describing the intimate atmosphere, Hodges explained that “Sex, perhaps, is not taken seriously because to capture this through a lens, as if fucking under a microscope, always risks losing that which makes it mean something.”
Select Anecdotal Findings
With research at a minimum, the reports of individuals are often what shape our communal understanding.
Some first-hand accounts relayed to High Times reveal the potential to produce beneficial effects during times of intimacy. Marine Veteran Cody Stevenson dealt with PTSD-related issues for years after his 2007 discharge from the military. Psilocybin first came into his life to treat his symptoms, resulting in reduced anxiety, prompting him to move to Colorado and pursue a cannabis marketing venture of his own, Blue Dream.
Stevenson acknowledges additional benefits in the years since first using psilocybin. Namely, the intimacy in the bedroom with his wife of eight years. “I find that I am a lot more careful, and I notice every inch of her while using psilocybin,” Stevenson reported. “My senses are heightened, and I can read her body much better than while sober.” In addition to psilocybin, Stevenson reports that his wife does consume a THC-infused edible on some occasions.
Mary Pryor, a cannabis brand co-founder and executive for various ventures, including The Accountability List, is a psilocybin proponent. Pryor said that she experiences amplified senses when combining sex and mushrooms. “For sure, mushrooms amplify the sensory nodes of the body in a way that a lot of people don’t really discuss,” she said.
“Making love on magic mushrooms is amazing,” added Pryor.
Always Exercise Caution
Those that spoke to High Times for this article all championed the potential of combining sex and psychedelics. They each also emphasized safe consumption, highlighting particular aspects where caution must be prioritized.
Author Hodges noted that psychedelics should never be considered a cure-all solution. Adverse effects are known to occur. They include the “bad trip,” which encompasses various adverse effects, from anxiety to sickness to an inability to perform sexually.
Hodges explained, “[Psychedelics] will shine a light into the dark corners of your unresolved trauma—as small as not calling your mom enough and as big as that “thing” that happened five years ago.” She added, “If you do not have a sound mind, or at least, the ability to adequately breath through a difficult journey or talk yourself off the steep edge of your mind, you run the risk of a bad trip.”
Others acknowledged the importance of alignment with partners before exploring. Cannabis executive Pryor delved into the importance of communication, highlighting consent as a must-discuss topic beforehand. “It’s always good to have an understanding of someone’s boundaries or desire to break boundaries when having mushrooms and sex,” she said.
“You have to understand that consent is really important,” she added. Pryor said partners should get enthusiastic consent from partners before and during intimate engagements, noting that desires can change when consuming various doses of psilocybin.
Several other areas of caution, ranging from dosage to setting, are also essential to consider. Overall, a person should be in a positive headspace and a safe environment before using psychedelics for sex or otherwise. If you find yourself unsure of any part of the experience, strongly consider delaying your experience and informing yourself a bit more before embarking. Doing so will best situate you and your partners for the trip ahead.