Psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin may enhance sexual function.

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According to recent studies, psychedelics may offer a number of benefits that enhance sexual function. Picture courtesy of Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

According to a recent study, individuals who used psychedelics reported feeling more attracted to and enjoying sex with their partners as well as feeling more connected to and beautiful themselves.

While mood-altering chemicals can have varying effects on individuals, psychedelics have the potential to lower inhibitions and increase ease during sexual activity. Additionally, there may be negative health effects.

Experts clarify that becoming involved sexually with someone they would otherwise consider to be a bad decision could lead to problems with boundary violations and impaired judgment when high.

In certain situations of anxiety, self-reflection and therapy may be beneficial for enhancing sexual function without the use of drugs or psychedelics.

Increasing libido, enhancing performance, or elevating satisfaction—sexual function is a health factor that many individuals encounter.

A recent study found that those who used psychedelics reported higher levels of arousal, contentment, attraction to their partner, self-aesthetic appeal, and ability to connect.

The journal Scientific Reports Trusted Source reported the findings.

A questionnaire was given to roughly 300 volunteers by the researchers, asking them to share their experiences both before and after ingesting psychedelics. Regarding how these psychedelics affected sexual functioning, they examined responses from two groups: individuals who used psychedelics recreationally and a smaller group from a clinical trial looking at psilocybin, the hallucinogenic ingredient in magic mushrooms, for depression.

Results demonstrated, on average, improvements in several aspects of sexual function up to six months following psychedelic use.

Professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. David Hellerstein, who was not involved in the study, said, “This is a very interesting paper which raises a topic that deserves more study.”

“Note that the paper includes information from two studies: 1) a survey of individuals considering the use of psychedelics like LSD or psilocybin; and 2) a small clinical trial in which participants with depression were randomized to receive either psilocybin or an SSRI antidepressant (escitalopram),” he said in a statement to Medical News Today.

Bias risk when using psychedelics

The initial survey comprised participants without a psychiatric diagnosis and was self-report based. Dr. Hellerstein clarified that there were no formal diagnoses or evaluations by qualified medical personnel.

In the second experiment, which evaluated the self-reported sexual functioning of individuals receiving psilocybin versus escitalopram for serious depression, some participants had stopped taking SSRI medications prior to consuming psilocybin.

For these and other reasons, Dr. Hellerstein said, “the results reported in this paper are intriguing but need to be taken with a grain of salt.”

For example, it seems likely that individuals using psychedelics were aware of the medication they were taking, and there was no placebo-treated comparison group. Thus, the results observed could be explained by their anticipation that psychedelics would enhance sex, he told Medical News Today.

Additionally, “It is well known that SSRI medications can decrease sexual desire and functioning, so the difference found may not be due to the psilocybin treatment itself, but rather may only be in comparison to a drug that is well known to have some sexual side effects,” according to the second study comparing two treatments for major depression. They could not be directly related to psilocybin use, but rather the amelioration of depression in general. Even with their intriguing nature, findings must be confirmed by more research before they can be considered legitimate, Dr. Hellerstein continued.

The potential effects of psychedelics on sexual function

We have emotional and bodily effects from sexual engagement.

Dr. Michele Leno, a certified psychologist and the founder of DML Psychological Services, PLLC, stated, “While we understand the physical part, we tend to overlook or downplay the emotional aspect of sexual activity.” Leno was not engaged in the study.

“The ideas and feelings that enter our minds before sex can influence its outcome, but this is not to say that everyone feels viscerally connected to sexual partners.”

Sexual self-consciousness is also not unusual.

“A lot of drugs have relaxing effects, but some have unfavorable side effects when it comes to sex,” Dr. Leno stated. For example, drinking too much alcohol can make you tired or have trouble ejaculating. On the other side, without affecting performance, psychedelics can lower inhibitions and promote relaxation.

Increasing social/interpersonal ties is one effect that psychedelics have been demonstrated to have, according to Dr. Hellerstein. Additionally, they might lessen rumination and self-centered anxiety.

Additionally, they might result in some “plasticity” of the brain in the form of reorganized brain networks and the creation of new synapses. After taking psychedelics, people also appear to become more introspective, spiritual, and compassionate. The results could potentially be explained by these factors.

But it’s also critical to recognize that expectations for psychedelic treatment are really high. Furthermore, Dr. Hellerstein noted that it is very challenging to “blind” individuals as to whether they are receiving psychedelic treatment or a comparator, such as a placebo or an active medication like escitalopram.

Dr. Carla Manly, a professional psychologist who was not involved in the study and the author of Date Smart, Joy from Fear, Aging Joyfully, and her upcoming 2024 book, The Joy of Imperfect Love, said, “Put simply, psychedelics take individuals into an altered state.”

“Psychedelics may have an inherent appeal, especially for those who feel that their sexual needs are not met when they are in their natural state of consciousness,” the source stated to MNT.

While many people prefer to enjoy sexual experiences—as well as other aspects of life—in an unmodified state of being, Dr. Manly pointed out that some people find that utilizing psychedelics makes them feel less constrained and more expansive.

Psilocybin is a popular psychedelic; a neuroimaging research on the drug’s neurobiological effects showed a pattern of decreased cerebral blood flow.

functional disconnections akin to those brought on by the administration of specific anesthetics, according to a reliable source.

The risks associated with having sex when intoxicated

Sexual behavior while intoxicated carries several cautions.

Dr. Leno stated, “Even if you know your partner well, you might not be aware of how they behave when intoxicated.”

Even a drug designed to have a favorable impact can make you irritable and moody. Furthermore, Dr. Leno clarified, acting impulsively out of too much freedom can make one feel bad afterwards. It’s crucial to keep in mind that different people will react differently to substances that affect mood.

Psychedelics, alcohol, and other drugs are among the many substances that might impair cognition and decision-making when it comes to sexual settings. Certain persons may be more sensitive in certain scenarios as a result of the suggestibility and reality checking impairments associated with psychedelic effects.

— Physician David Hellerstein

“There have been cases of inappropriate sexual behavior involving boundary violations by therapists and guides for psychedelic treatment. Dr. Hellerstein continued, “Impaired judgment when high or stoned might lead a person to get sexually involved with someone they otherwise might view as a poor choice.”

It can be simple to commit acts, both sexual and non-sexual, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol that one may later regret. Furthermore, genuine permission is essential to healthy sexual behavior, and those high on psychedelics could not be in a mental state that allows for informed, actual agreement, according to Dr. Manly.

How to enhance sexual performance without psychedelics or drugs

According to Leno, “substances may provide a quick fix and do little for the cause.” Sexual dysfunction typically has an underlying explanation. She suggests the following to naturally boost your sexual function:

If having sex makes you nervous, resolving your anxiety through self-analysis or therapy may be therapeutic.

Do you take any medications that negatively effect your libido? Discuss alternate possibilities with your provider.

Play pretend with your buddy. Not everyone has the ability to act promptly, and trying to do so could lead to complications.

How do you feel about having sex? It could be tough to have sex if it makes you feel guilty. Psychotherapy and journaling might assist you in obtaining a deeper understanding of your concerns.

About Post Author

Freya Parker

Freya Parker lives in Sydney and writes about cars. She's really good at explaining car stuff in simple words. She studied at a good university in Melbourne. Freya started her career at Auto Trader, where she learned a lot about buying and selling cars. She also works with We Buy Cars in South Africa and some small car businesses in Australia. What makes her special is that she cares about the environment. She likes to talk about how cars affect the world. Freya writes in a friendly way that helps people understand cars better. That's why many people in the car industry like to listen to her.
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