Psychedelics Including Psilocybin, LSD Enhance Sexual Pleasure for Months, Study Shows

Science now confirms what many sexy seekers have long suspected: Using psychedelics, such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, and others, enhances sexual function—even months after your trip. 

The results, released on February 7 in Nature Scientific Reports stem primarily from a survey conducted with 261 participants before and after their use of psychedelics. The team at Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research analyzed these survey responses alongside data from an independent clinical trial. This trial assessed the effectiveness of psilocybin against a widely used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs, such as Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft) in treating depression.

And, in more news that will leave many readers nodding their heads like, yeah, we know, the study reports that some of the most notable improvements were about viewing sex as “a spiritual or sacred experience,” contentment with one’s own looks and their partner, along with the enjoyment of pleasure.

Bruna Giribaldi, a co-author of the study, noted that while many research projects investigate if treatments for depression lead to sexual dysfunction, their study aimed to broaden the scope to include positive influences.

Giribaldi further explained, “We wanted to make sure we went deeper than that and explored more aspects of sexuality that could be impacted by these treatments.” She also mentioned, “We were interested in finding out whether psychedelics could influence people’s experiences of sexuality in a positive way, as it appeared from existing anecdotal evidence.”

The team’s study revealed that participants generally saw enhancements in their sexual functionality lasting up to a whopping six months following a psychedelic encounter. Notably, there were increases in the overall enjoyment of sex, sexual arousal, satisfaction with sex, attraction towards partners, self-image, communication, and overall sense of connection with lovers, per Marijuana Moment. 

The rather sex-positive study succeeded in expanding the scope of mental health and sexuality by acknowledging just how important having a happy sex life is to overall well-being.

“Sexuality is a fundamental human drive. For example, we know that sexual dysfunction is linked to lower well-being in healthy adults, can impact relationship satisfaction, and is even linked to subjective happiness and ‘meaning in life,’” said Tommaso Barba, a PhD student at the Centre for Psychedelic Research who is the lead author of the study. 

Barba goes on to explain that their research expands far beyond investigating what it’s like to have sex while tripping, and their comprehensive POV looks at the integrative effects of sexuality on health as a whole. 

“It’s important to stress our work does not focus on what happens to sexual functioning while people are on psychedelics, and we are not talking about perceived ‘sexual performance,’” said Tommaso Barba, a Ph.D. student at the Centre for Psychedelic Research and the lead author of the study, “but it does indicate there may be a lasting positive impact on sexual functioning after their psychedelic experience, which could potentially have impacts on psychological wellbeing.”

While the study suggests that sex becomes more spiritual, heightens emotional connection, betters communication, and increases pleasure, it was not correlated with an increased level of importance placed on sex. The only indicator of sexual function that didn’t rise significantly (heh heh) was the “importance of sex.” This could be attributed to that ego-blasting, perspective-shifting, I-am-everything-and-nothing-at-the-same-time realization that taking psychedelics is so associated with. 

During the clinical trial segment of the study that juxtaposed psilocybin therapy with the SSRI escitalopram (Lexapro), the researchers discovered that although both treatments demonstrated “similar reductions” in symptoms of depression, “patients treated with psilocybin reported positive changes in sexual functioning after treatment, while patients treated with escitalopram did not.” 

Decreased libido and ability to have an orgasm or experience sexual pleasure and common side effects of taking SSRI antidepressants. As turning to alternative treatments for depression and anxiety, such as psychedelics over SSRIs, becomes increasingly acceptable, many folks will be quite happy to learn that, as this research demonstrates, using psychedelics not only doesn’t seem to lower sexual function but actually can improve it, even half a year after the trip. 

Barba adds that’s of particular significance because “sexual dysfunction, often induced by antidepressants, frequently results in people stopping these medications and subsequently relapsing.”

Research indicates that up to 40 percent of people taking SSRIs such as Lexapro will experience some kind of sexual dysfunction. And while such psychedelics may prove themselves as valuable depression treatments, it’s important to note that research finds that taking SSRIs can decrease psilocybin’s effects, so one is advised to discuss their treatment plan with a preferably psychedelic-friendly mental health professional before switching up your meds on your own.  

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