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Psychedelics May Improve Your Sex Life

Psychedelic drugs can help your sex life become more satisfying, according to new research, and the benefits may last for months.

Using psychedelics such as magic mushrooms or LSD may increase sexual satisfaction and improve sexual function for a prolonged period, according to the first-ever research study to quantitatively investigate the effects of psychedelics on sexual functioning.

Published in Nature Scientific Reports this month, the study was conducted by gathering responses from nearly 300 people before and after a psychedelic experience. The responses came from two groups: one larger set of participants who took psychedelics for recreational purposes or for some kind of ceremony and a smaller group of clinical trial participants who used psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) to treat depression.

On average, the participants from both groups reported improvements in several areas of sexual functioning and satisfaction, including improved pleasure and communication during sex, satisfaction with one’s partner, and physical appearance.

“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 wellbeing in sexually active adults,” Tommaso Barba, first author of the study and Ph.D. student based at the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, said in a news release.

The first study featured 261 individuals who were already planning to take psychedelics, including psilocybin/magic mushrooms/truffles, ayahuasca, DMT, San Pedro, or LSD. Overall, the respondents were more likely to report improvement in all areas of sexual functioning for up to six months after their psychedelic experience.

The second study, however, focused on 59 people participating in a clinical trial that looked at using psilocybin to treat major depressive disorder. In this trial, 30 participants were given psilocybin, and 29 were given the antidepressant/SSRI escitalopram.

The results showed that nearly half of those treated with psilocybin reported improvements in sexual functioning and satisfaction, while those treated with escitalopram generally reported decreases in sexual functioning.

SSRI use is associated with different types of sexual dysfunction, including delayed ejaculation, reduced sexual desire, reduced sexual satisfaction, anorgasmia, and impotence.

"Our findings suggest potential implications for conditions that negatively affect sexual health, including clinical depression and anxiety,” Barba said. "This is particularly significant given that sexual dysfunction, often induced by antidepressants, frequently results in people stopping these medications and subsequently relapsing.”

The authors note that the study is limited by its questionnaire-based nature and the fact that participants were mostly white, heterosexual, employed, and well-educated.

Still, while more research is needed, the authors say the results are promising and suggest that psychedelics may create a lasting positive effect on sexual functioning and, potentially, overall psychological well being.

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