With the passing of Prop 122, more Coloradans than ever will be experimenting with psilocybin (the active compound in magic mushrooms) in 2023. But shrooms aren’t just for tripping balls at Phish Dicks: Researchers from prominent institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, NYU and Imperial College London have uncovered numerous healing benefits of people’s mystical experiences on shrooms, including promise for reducing alcohol dependency, nicotine dependency, major depressive disorder, treatment resistant depression and end of life anxiety. But can we also use psilocybin to enhance our sexual experiences, either solo or with our partners? While research on psychedelics and sex has typically been reserved for psilocybin’s slutty cousin MDMA, and anecdotally, psilocybin is often combined with MDMA to achieve a state of sexually aroused nirvana, there remains a tradition of couples finding deeper intimacy through using psilocybin together, from Latin American oral histories, to Anne and Sasha’ Shulgins’ PIKHAL: A Chemical Love Story (1991).
Enhanced Communication and Intimacy
A 2018 study published in Journal of Psychopharmacology found that couples who had used psychedelics were far less likely to engage in conflicts or relational violence. Dr. Rosalind Watts at Imperial College London reported in 2017 that six months after her trials on psilocybin and depression, every coupled participant experienced significant improvements to their romantic relationships. Psilocybin assisted group therapy has also been shown to significantly reduce people’s attachment anxiety. It seems that riding mycelium magic carpet can empower us to heal from past relational traumas, resolve communication difficulties, surrender us to our connection with all living things, reduce our anxiety about loss, and help us find a shared sense of meaning as we journey through the universe together. But what about sexual pleasure itself?
Also known as “cosmic lust,” sex on mushrooms can break down barriers like societal constructs and roles found in pornography and sexual scripts. Gender, time, your body and every thought in your brain can melt away, distilling you to pure sexual essence. This ego dissolution and synchronicity with cosmos can awaken our own internal sexual and creative energy and stoke immense pleasure, even solo. One individual’s anecdotal report in the Cornell Daily Sun (2021) describes having sex with the entire universe and soaking their pants repeatedly while tripping on a nature hike. How very Colorado of them.
A 2022 study in the Journal of Sex and Relationship Therapy showed that microdosing psychedelics as part of couples therapy reduced people’s stress over sexual performance anxiety. Currently, non-psychedelic mushrooms like cordyceps, shiitake and reishi are already being harnessed for their libido increasing prowess and adaptogenic properties. The sexual wellness market is seeing a swathe of products like Runi’s “Play Serum” allowing for the absorption of mushroom extracts and CBDs directly to the genitals, and it’s only a matter of time before we could see psilocybin added to these sex enhancement products. So will it count as boofing if you use magic mushroom lube for anal? (Asking for a friend).
Intention, Set & Setting, Dosing, and Tolerance all Matter
Unless you’re hoping to open your eyes and hallucinate a cartoon Rick Sanchez or sexy Lucius Malfoy going down on you (and hey, no shade if that’s your kink!) make sure you get the dose right. The best practice for newbs is to start with a low dose. “If the dose is too high, a sexual experience will most likely not even be possible,” says psychologist, Dr. Denise Renye (although you both might still have a blast traveling the cosmos!). A smaller dose is typically recommended (1-2g depending upon body weight, although this varies hugely from person to person), but some people like to microdose 1/10th of this, and others prefer to send it with 3.5gs or more. Make sure you’re in a comfortable safe space and have hydration, soft blankets, all the Squishmallows, and A/C on hand as your temperature might fluctuate. Most experienced sexual psychonauts recommend newcomers wait to have sex until after the peak of the high so they can bask in the sensual afterglow, and to regularly check-in about their needs and feelings as the trip progresses. Scientists have yet to explain why sometimes sex on mushrooms can conjure mind-melting luscious orgasms, but other times, the body may be so uncomfortable that being kissed or touched can feel intolerable. Mushrooms can amplify everything. Even bad trips can serve as good trips because they help us release stored trauma and connect us more deeply. And hey, tripping with a trusted partner can be a super fun bonding activity—approach the experience with wonder and joy in a safe space and maybe tonight, the universe will get you off.