TDR Valentine Day Tip: Improving Sex with Psychedelic Research
The TDR Three Key Takeaways:
- Sexual Function Improvement: Participants reported improved sexual function after psychedelic experiences, greater enjoyment, arousal, sex satisfaction, partner attraction, communication, and connection lasting up to six months.
- Therapeutic Potential: Psychedelics, especially psilocybin, showed promise in reducing sex dysfunction, a common side effect of antidepressants. This suggests psychedelics could be beneficial in treating depression and anxiety, improving sexual health.
- Caution and Further Research Needed: The study advises against self-medicating with psychedelics due to the need for controlled conditions and professional support. It also calls for more diverse and comprehensive research to validate these findings and explore clinical applications.
The results of a Sex study conducted by the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London presents new insights into the relationship between psychedelic experiences and sexual function. The research, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, involved the analysis of questionnaire responses from almost 300 individuals both before and after they underwent a psychedelic experience. This study distinguishes itself as the inaugural scientific investigation to assess the impacts of psychedelic substances on sexual functioning.
The participants of the study included individuals who used psychedelics recreationally or for wellness/ceremonial purposes, in addition to a smaller group enrolled in a clinical trial evaluating psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) for depression. The findings revealed that, on average, participants reported improvements in various aspects of sexual function lasting up to six months following their psychedelic experience. These aspects encompassed enjoyment of sex, sexual arousal, satisfaction with sex, attraction to partner, perception of one’s physical appearance, communication, and a sense of connection.
Specifically, among the clinical trial participants receiving psilocybin for depression, nearly half reported enhancements in sexual arousal, interest, and satisfaction, contrasting with those treated with a leading antidepressant, who mostly reported declines in sexual functioning. This outcome indicates the potential for psychedelic compounds like psilocybin to mitigate drug-induced sexual dysfunction, a prevalent side effect associated with conventional antidepressants.
The study not only underscores the possible therapeutic applications of psychedelics in enhancing sexual health, particularly in conditions such as clinical depression and anxiety but also sheds light on the broader psychological aspects of sexual function. These aspects are vital to the overall psychological well-being of sexually active adults, impacting factors like body image, relationship satisfaction, and subjective happiness.
Moreover, the research highlights the importance of investigating the sexual side effects of treatments for depression, an area that has often been overlooked or underreported in clinical trials. By delving into a more comprehensive exploration of sexuality, the study aims to broaden the understanding of how treatments, including psychedelics, can positively influence sexual experiences.
The study combined responses from two separate studies, analyzing data before the psychedelic experience and then at four weeks and six months afterward. The results showed significant improvements in sexual pleasure, satisfaction with appearance, partner communication, and the perception of sex as a spiritual experience among the participants. Notably, the study found no significant change in the participants’ perceived importance of sex after a psychedelic experience, suggesting that psychedelics do not induce an excessive focus on sex but rather may enhance the quality of sexual experiences.
However, the authors of the study caution against self-medication with psychedelics for those with depression, emphasizing the importance of controlled, clinical conditions and professional psychological support during the use of these substances. They also acknowledge the limitations of their research, including its reliance on self-reported data and the demographic homogeneity of the study participants.
In conclusion, this study contributes valuable insights into the potential benefits of psychedelics on sexual well-being and opens up new avenues for therapeutic applications. While promising, the findings also call for further research to fully understand the clinical applications of psychedelics in medical practice.Want to keep up to date with all of TDR’s research, subscribe to our daily Baked In newsletter.