Chris Graney-Ward, a 23-year-old in the UK who founded the app Paritae, already had experience with mushrooms when he first had sex on them. He had previously noticed that shrooms tended to enhance his sense of touch, and sex was no exception.
“I was expecting it to feel great.. and it did!” he remembers. “But what really surprised me was the deep emotional connection I felt toward my partner. It felt more like a spiritual union than a physical one.”
While research on sex under the influence of mushrooms is limited, one qualitative study in Sex and Relationship Therapy found that mushrooms enhanced emotional intimacy and connection and reduced performance anxiety for one participant.
“It has been suggested that psilocybin increases emotional empathy, which may have a positive influence on sexual encounters with others,” says clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon. “Mushrooms are also associated with an increase in oxytocin (AKA the ‘love hormone’), which may help partners feel closer and more bonded, as well as increase sexual arousal and pleasure.”
Sex on mushrooms is somewhat unpredictable, however, and is not without risk. Read on to learn more about what to expect from psilocybin-enhanced sex and what precautions to take.
What sex on mushrooms is like
As one might expect with any drug, people’s experiences with sex on mushrooms vary widely. “Some people may find that their senses are heightened, their emotional connections deepened, and their pleasure enhanced,” says sex therapist Melissa Cook. “Others might feel anxious, paranoid, or have difficulty concentrating during sexual encounters.”
Those who enjoy sex on mushrooms often do because of mushrooms’ ability to enhance bonding, empathy, and vulnerability. “People may be more open to discussing sexual topics, and it may reduce sexual performance anxieties,” says psychotherapist Lisa Lawless. The ability to let your guard down and talk about sex may also allow couples to better understand each other sexually.
People also sometimes report increases in libido and enhanced orgasms after taking mushrooms, according to Ketan Parmar, a psychiatrist at ClinicSpots. The 2017 Global Drug Survey found that 22 percent of psychedelic users utilized such substances to “increase sexual feelings.”
“Research has shown that when consumed in moderate doses, these substances can increase levels of sexual arousal and satisfaction during intercourse,” says Parmar.
Effects are dose-dependent, however, and with higher doses of mushrooms, someone might also experience sensory distortions and hallucinations that may actually interfere with sex.
“Taking a lower dose of 1.5 to 3.5 grams of dried mushrooms can enhance emotional and sensory experiences without causing overwhelming visuals or altered states of consciousness,” says sex therapist Aliyah Moore. “Some individuals may prefer to take a microdose, which is a sub-threshold dose that produces subtle effects without causing any significant changes in perception.”
Safety precautions for having sex on mushrooms
Dosages approaching 3.5 grams and beyond can take people to some far-off places—you or your partner(s) may find that you’ve lost interest in sex or are off exploring another dimension. The first time you try sex on mushrooms, Cook recommends starting with a low amount so you can see if there are any unpleasant effects before trying a higher dose. “More is not always better, especially with mushrooms,” Melancon agrees. “If it wasn’t as intense an experience as you’d like, you can always try again—but taking too high a dose can create anxiety or panic.”
It’s also important to talk in advance about the experience, what you each want out of it, and any fears you have. “Being transparent about your expectations and concerns is key to a positive experience,” says Cook. In the moment, share what you are experiencing with your partner so that they can understand how you’re feeling and what you might need.
You’ll also want to consider the legality of mushrooms where you live, as the knowledge that you’re doing something illegal could add anxiety to your trip and interfere with your enjoyment of sex, Cook adds. And if you have a history of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or psychosis, approach mushrooms with caution, as they can worsen certain psychological issues.
People with a history of trauma, particularly sexual trauma, will also want to approach sex on mushrooms slowly, gradually, and with caution. “Psilocybin and other psychedelics can bring up repressed emotions or past trauma, which can be uncomfortable or disturbing,” says Melancon. To minimize the chances of a bad trip or sexual experience, she recommends having sex on mushrooms only with someone you deeply trust.
Lastly, decide in advance what you’re planning to do in terms of safer sex and stick to that plan. “While mushrooms may make you want to forgo safer sex practices, waking up in a panic the next morning about pregnancy or STIs will effectively ruin the entire experience,” says Melancon.
Discussing consent for sex on mushrooms
The decision to have sex on mushrooms should be made before taking the mushrooms. That way, everyone involved is able to consent. Lawless recommends discussing what each of your boundaries are in advance of the experience.
“Avoid using other substances that could lead to unpredictable effects, such as alcohol, which may cause the inability to give proper consent,” she adds. “Listen to your body and stop or pause if things feel uncomfortable.”
Melancon adds that mushrooms can compromise people’s ability to communicate, making it even more important to practice affirmative consent: If someone doesn’t give a clear verbal “yes” to something, err on the side of caution and don’t do it. You can also choose a safe word in advance that people can say if they become overwhelmed, says Moore.
Also, leave space for anyone involved to change their minds about what they want to do. In fact, even if you’re both gung-ho about the idea of sex on mushrooms, you may find yourself losing interest once you’re actually tripping. “Discuss the possibility that you may decide you no longer wish to proceed with sexual activity, and have a backup plan for how you would like to spend your time,” Lawless suggests.
How to have great sex on mushrooms
The same way people set intentions for a psychedelic trip, you and your partner can set intentions for a sexual experience utilizing mushrooms in order to make the most of it, says Moore. “This may involve setting intentions for emotional intimacy, pleasure, or personal growth.”
If you’re bringing mushrooms into the bedroom for the first time, that’s probably not the time to switch up your routine. The presence of the mushrooms in of itself will make for an adventure, and adding anything unfamiliar could be frightening or disorienting.
“Make sure you’re in a familiar, cozy space with a partner you trust,” says Cook. “Feeling secure will minimize anxiety and enable you to focus on the intimate connection.” This will also help you avoid issues associated with compromised judgment and motor control on mushrooms.
Moore recommends taking time to clean, organize, and prepare the space before you’re tripping; as with any other trip, set and setting will shape your journey. “Remove any distractions, such as electronic devices, and set the mood with soft lighting or candles,” she suggests. “Consider playing calming or sensual music to enhance the atmosphere.” You’ll also want to keep the room at a comfortable temperature and have water nearby, as mushrooms can affect your body temperature and dehydrate you.
It’s also helpful to move slowly as you get accustomed to the mushrooms. “Allow yourself to relax and adjust to the effects of the mushrooms in order to enjoy the experience fully by focusing on sensory exploration,” Lawless advises.
Based on his own experience, Chris recommends avoiding face-to-face positions if you experience visual distortions on shrooms, as this can make a partner’s face look strange. “Definitely focus on the emotional aspect,” he says.
While you should do what you can to create a safe and positive experience, it’s also important to understand that some of it is out of your hands and avoid trying to control the experience excessively. “Remember that mushrooms can alter your perception of time and your surroundings,” says Cook. “Be prepared to go with the flow and embrace the shifting sensations and emotions you may experience.”
Being able to surrender and let go is important, not just for a positive psychedelic experience, but also for great sex, Melancon points out. “Holding back, resisting, or pushing against your experience may contribute to a ‘bad trip,’ as well as bad sex,” she says.
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