Psychedelics are a class of compounds that have been used for centuries, both recreationally and medicinally, to induce altered states of awareness. The effects they produce can range from mild visual distortions to intense spiritual experiences depending on the dosage and type consumed. Psychedelics include manufactured molecules such as LSD, DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and MDMA (ecstasy) as well as plant medicines such as psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, mescaline cacti, and peyote cacti.
In order to understand the effects that psychedelics have on the brain, you'll need to understand a little bit about the 7 main brain networks.
All of the most studied psychedelics decrease the activity of the DMN and the limbic system. Each compound is going to affect the different networks differently. For every compound, there will be a different effect for example some will increase visual system activity and reduce SMN, some will increase SMN and decrease CEN, and nearly every combination you can think of. However, it is the decreased DMN activity combined with the increased activity of the other networks that creates the psychedelic effect rather than only psychoactive (which means that it changes your mental state) because as we loose our sense of self we rely on our other networks to help us make sense of what we are experiencing.
This awareness of different perceptions of reality often result in profound shifts in consciousness.
Psychedelics give us a glimpse beyond the boundaries of our everyday mind and help us see reality in a different light. This can be an incredibly powerful experience, but it is also what makes psychedelics so controversial since they often lead to transcendent experiences that challenge our existing beliefs or worldviews.
Many users report feeling one with their environment, having heightened sensory experiences, and an increased awareness of interconnectedness with all living things. Some even describe it as a state of “oneness” with the universe. And not surprisingly, psychedelics, when used responsibly, can increase one's ability to experience pleasure.
When it comes to experiencing sensual intimacy, psychedelics can have a profound effect. The way in which the psychedelics alter the network activity is by either increasing, decreasing, or blocking different neurotransmitters. The vast majority of psychedelics work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
By stimulating serotonin receptors in the brain and interacting with the production or reuptake of the different neurotransmitters, psychedelics open up new pathways for communication between nerve cells that would normally not occur – leading to enhanced feelings of connection, heightened sensory awareness, and pleasure.
Psychedelics are gaining increasing recognition as a powerful tool to help people reconnect with themselves and others. By altering the activity of different neural networks in the brain, particularly by decreasing connectivity in the DMN and LS, our normal protective behaviors subside.
When the DMN is suppressed, we feel less self-focused and more connected to our environment which includes the people around us. Someone who is normally shy or socially awkward may find themselves able to open up and start conversations with strangers because they are not relying on default behavior patterns.
When the LS is suppressed, we allow ourselves to drop our guard. The Limbic System is consistently monitoring our environment for threats, whether they are perceived or real. One of the biggest fears that all humans have is the fear of being abandoned. Our survival from birth is dependent on others. When the activity of the LS is decreased, it reduces our fears and enables us to be vulnerable because we are no longer worried about how the other people will respond.
Add in some extra serotonin floating around in the brain and we feel warm, fuzzy, and like everything is wonderful. When in this relaxed state without fear of abandonment, fear of worrying what the other person will think, and a more external view (not self-focused) connecting with people can be effortless and easy.
This increased level of connection allows us to explore with our partners because we feel safe and trusting. The openness, trust, and compassion that can be experienced while on psychedelics makes it easier to communicate desires and boundaries which further leads to a deeper connection. We become more open to exploring different sensations and experiences that can lead us further into our own personal exploration of pleasure by the blocking of any inhibitions or worries we may have about engaging in intimate activities with our partners.
If you use psychedelics in a recreational setting, you may find yourself attracted romantically to someone that you normally wouldn't especially if they are also using psychedelics because neither of you will be displaying typical (DMN) behavior. The reasons why you wouldn't want to connect intimately may resurface as the psychedelic effect wears off and this can lead to some difficult feelings to process.
Psychedelics can heighten the amount of pleasure derived from sexual activity because they increase our body's sensitivity to touch (SMN) and sound (DAN). People who use psychedelics may find that certain erogenous zones on their bodies become more sensitive and even previously overlooked areas may become incredibly pleasurable as well.
They also seem to enhance tactile pleasure in general, whether it is the softness of bedding or a partner's skin. The user may become more aware of the sensations they are feeling and this can lead to longer-lasting pleasure during sex.
Psychedelics have also been found to increase sexual arousal, libido, and desire which can make physical contact more enjoyable. This increased level of sensitivity is what makes psychedelic-induced sexual encounters so unique and powerful. As you become more familiar with your body and its responses, you become more in tune with yourself which can lead to even greater levels of pleasure when engaging in physical intimacy with or without a partner. Each time you have a safe, slow, intense, sensual experience in your body you develop a greater appreciation of your own sensuality and your body. For people that suffer from body image issues, creating experiences in which they feel safe and sensual helps to alter their view of their body. Psychedelics, when used responsibly, can help with that.
More and more research is coming out about how psychedelics are having positive impacts on people with depression, anxiety, and a variety of other mental health conditions. If you read my blog post "Are you addicted to your anxiety" then you already know that the way to reduce your anxiety is by taking pleasurable action and changing your thoughts. Psychedelics can help this process.
Nearly 1 out of 5 Americans are taking some form of doctor prescribed psychoactive medication. The reason they are prescribed is because the medical profession has known for years that an increase in serotonin creates feel good feelings... at least temporarily. But unlike SSRI's and other commonly prescribed psychoactive medications, psychedelics have an additional effect of increasing neuroplasticity after a single dose.1
This means that new neural pathways towards behavior can be created quickly and easily using psychedelics. It is this very reason why it is important to work with a professional and follow a proven protocol.
When it comes to sexual experiences, whenever you have increased connection, heightened pleasurable experiences, you are rewiring your brain towards pleasure and away from pain (aka depression and anxiety). When psychedelics are involved, the imprint of the experience will be stronger. The connection you create during the psychedelic experience will remain longer than without the use of psychedelics. You will have more sensory pathways towards pleasure with the use of psychedelics. Ultimately, this will lead to a quicker path towards pleasure afterwards and without the use of psychedelics.
Yes, because orgasms are in the nervous system. For most females, orgasms will be possible and maybe even easier depending on the amount and kind of psychedelic. Most males have associated orgasm with ejaculation and have not learned how to separate the two processes.
Ejaculation and squirting are biomechanical processes and are impacted by the amount of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the system. Depending on the psychedelic, there may be high levels of serotonin and/or reduced levels of norepinephrine and nitric oxide making it nearly impossible for the erection or ejaculatory functions.
However, for people that have learned how to have different kinds of orgasms such as a cervical orgasm or prostate orgasm, then if the psychedelic increases sensorimotor and SN activity while reducing DMN activity without impacting norepinephrine, then orgasm will be quite easily achieved.
An important thing to note is that most psychedelics interfere with lubrication processes (ever experienced cotton mouth?) which can make female penetration uncomfortable and/or cause tears without the person being aware of them. So please be cautious and take precautions to prevent harm, such as using lube even if the person doesn't feel that it's a problem.
Being an orgasm coach, one might assume that my main focus is helping people orgasm but the truth is the main thing I help people with is helping people feel safe in their body so they can experience more pleasure and sensuality aka I'm a neuro-pleasure coach. This is why psychedelics are becoming more popular with my clients as they can open up pathways to experience physical pleasure. The use of psychedelics can provide a situation that eliminates the need for any kind of sexual performance.
The focus should be shifted from sexuality to sensuality in order to truly explore the potential of psychedelics when it comes to exploring physical pleasure. Psychedelics can help reduce inhibitions, heighten sensuality, open up pathways for deeper connection, and provide a safe environment to discover new levels of pleasure together.