Along with their bedfellow rock n' roll, sex and drugs have always paired famously well. But as a new study suggests, the sex lives of shroom-eaters may improve, even after they've worn off.
In a press release, Imperial College London announced a new study they claim is the first known academic inquiry into how psychedelics can affect sex. The study found that people who took magic mushrooms for a variety of reasons self-reported improved sexual conditions for weeks — and even months — after tripping.
Published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the paper explains that on average, study participants reported an increase in multiple facets of sexual functioning, including arousal, enjoyment, satisfaction, attraction, and sense of connection with sexual partners.
Combining groups of people who took psilocybin for recreational, ceremonial, and mental health purposes, researchers at the school's Centre for Psychedelic Research gave self-reported sexual experience questionnaires to 261 people once before and twice after taking the drug, at four weeks post-trip, and six months.
Fascinatingly, nearly half of the 59 participants who took psilocybin for depression in a clinical trial, in particular, said their arousal and interest in sex increased — a pretty huge result, considering that antidepressant medications are well-known for decreasing libido and ability to achieve orgasm.
What's more: The improved sexual functioning effects seemed sustained for up to six months in some of the participants.
"The most significant improvements," the Imperial College press release reads, "were in sexual pleasure, satisfaction with their own appearance, satisfaction and communication with their partner, as well as perceiving sex as a 'spiritual experience.'"
Though there's long been anecdata about how it feels to have sex on drugs, this study is novel. Not just for taking a clinical approach to the relationship between the two, but also, because it focuses on the aftermath, if you will, of psychedelics.
Tomasso Barba, an Imperial College PhD student and the study's first co-author, said in the press release that there could be some major implications from the group's findings — especially when it comes to the intersection of sex and mental health.
"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.
"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,'" the researcher continued, "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."
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it might be time to swap those drugstore chocolates for some with mushrooms inside them — but don't expect immediate results.
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