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Article: Psychedelics and intimacy, the missing link to better sex?

psychedelic intimacy

Psychedelics and intimacy, the missing link to better sex?

Want better sex? 

This month a new study conducted by researchers at Imperial College London was published, which explores the effects of psychedelic drugs on sexual function. A pioneering study and the first investigation into this topic 

What did they do?

psychedelic intimacy

Researchers collected survey responses from nearly 300 participants before and after a psychedelic experience. The participants included those taking psychedelics for recreational, wellness, or ceremonial purposes, as well as a small group involved in a clinical trial evaluating psilocybin's effect on depression. The study aimed to explore how the psychedelic experience influenced various aspects of sexual functioning.

psychedelic intimacy

Main findings

The analysis revealed that, on average, participants reported improvements in several areas of sexual function up to six months after their psychedelic experience. These improvements included...

  •  Enjoyment of sex
  •  Sexual arousal
  • Satisfaction with sex
  • Attraction to partner
  • Self-perception of physical appearance
  • Communication
  • Sense of connection.

Therapeutic applications

The researchers suggest potential therapeutic applications for psychedelics, including couples therapy. They also highlight the possibility of avoiding the side effects of traditional medications, such as sexual dysfunction, if psychedelic-based treatments for depression prove successful.

On the surface, this type of research may seem ‘quirky,’ but the psychological aspects of sexual function—including how we think about our own bodies, our attraction to our partners, and our ability to connect to people intimately—are all important to psychological well-being in sexually active adults,”

Tommaso Barba, the first author of the study and a Ph.D. student at the Imperial College Centre for Psychedelic Research

While psychedelics like psilocybin show promise as treatments for mental health conditions, the researchers caution against self-medicating with psychedelics. They stress that the study does not focus on sexual functioning while individuals are under the influence of psychedelics but suggests a lasting positive impact on sexual functioning after the psychedelic experience.

The takeaway

In conclusion, the study conducted by researchers at Imperial College London suggests that psychedelics, including psilocybin mushrooms and LSD, may lead to improvements in various aspects of sexual functioning for months after a psychedelic experience. These improvements encompass enjoyment of sex, sexual arousal, satisfaction with sex, attraction to partner, physical appearance, communication, and sense of connection. Importantly, the study did not find a significant change in participants' perceived importance of sex after a psychedelic experience, indicating that psychedelics do not cause hyper-focus on sex or hyper-arousal. Instead, they may transform individuals' perceptions and relationships with sexual experiences, potentially enhancing sexual well-being.

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