Sophie Saint James, the author of Finding Your Higher Self: Your Guide To Cannabis For Self-Care, interviewed me on sex and magic mushrooms for her Stoned Sex Column in Merry Jane. As a neuroscientist who has both studied psilocybin mushrooms and had sex while tripping on them, I was happy to offer my insights!
Generally speaking, is psilocybin a safe substance?
Psilocybin mushrooms are actually as safe or even safer than cannabis when it comes down to overdose or addiction. No one has ever died from consuming psilocybin mushrooms due to toxicity (you would have to take over 19g of mushrooms), however, some deaths due to suicide have occurred, similar to cannabis. Psilocybin has a therapeutic index of 641, making it safer than aspirin (199).
Now in terms of psychological effects, taking extremely high doses of psilocybin mushrooms could lead to psychosis, so everything is set, setting, and dose. Some patients with heart issues may experience hypertension or tachycardia at high doses. Mild side effects experienced by some users at lower doses include stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or weakness. Always consult an experienced clinician/practitioner to make sure it is safe for you to use.
How can psilocybin mushrooms affect touch and the physical aspects of sex?
Psilocybin mushrooms can intensify all the senses, including touch. That means an orgasm can feel better than ever before, a hug could feel orgasmic, a caress lasting forever. However, it might also means that your norms for what you find enjoyable during sex could be changed. If you like a certain pressure on your clitoris or like rough sex, you might find that you are oversensitive and need less pressure or stimulation.
Worse, a small fumble like getting toothy while giving a blowjob could result in you or your partner completely falling out of the moment and not recovering. Touch, whether sexual or non-sexual, can be a gamble on mushrooms.
How can sex on magic mushrooms affect intimacy, connection, and the other emotional aspects?
It’s all about the intentions you set for consuming psilocybin mushrooms with your partner. Psilocybin can open you up with your partner, and help you hold space for difficult conversations or new ones that you weren’t expecting. It can help you empathize with your partner, get in touch with your own feelings, and communicate better.
Do you think a couple that has a history will have a different experience than two people who just met?
Absolutely! Our brain chemistry is different when a relationship is new. We’re buzzing with dopamine and serotonin and feeling that high. Psilocybin mushrooms could ramp that up even more in terms of serotonin activation, accelerated bonding, and could even cause new partners to believe they are soulmates.
For better or for worse, psilocybin can cause spiritual transformative experiences, and in pairs, that can be a meaningful bonding experience. There are many stories of married couples who have met on mushrooms at Burning Man-like festivals.
Does tripping on mushrooms make it easier to fall in love?
An old relationship has mellowed out, and while we feel bonded to our partner, we also have significant emotional baggage. Psilocybin causes euphoria, and may help reignite a stale relationship.
Some couples who have sex on magic mushrooms together feel closer, but some actually end up breaking up because it gives them the perspective that the relationship is not right for one or more partners. Or a bad trip that makes one or more partner feel anxious or paranoid could cause those feelings to spill onto the relationship afterward.
What are some things to watch out for to avoid a negative experience while high on mushrooms?
Set and setting is so important with psychedelics. I always recommend macrodosing mushrooms in a place you are familiar with or at the minimal, feel very safe. Taking mushrooms at a festival, new club, or party where you don’t know many people might cause more anxiety and paranoia than doing them in your home or in peaceful spot out in nature.
Macrodosing psilocybin mushrooms can alter your autonomic nervous system. This means your blood pressure goes up, heart rate quickens, and body temperature rises. If you’re having sex on mushrooms, make sure you are hydrated with the AC on, otherwise you might get dehydrated or overheat. On the other hand, your body temperature can change quick, and you can also get chilly fast. Make sure you have fans, soft blankets, and water nearby so you’re prepared for any scenario mushrooms may throw your way.
Will you introduce yourself?
I have a PhD in Neuroscience and have been studying the effects of drugs on the brain for over 15 years. I was the Research Director with Decriminalize California, the initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushroom in California in 2020.
I’ve written several best-selling books including Vitamin Weed, created online courses, spoken around the world, and was a co-founder of the successful Decriminalize Denver initiative. As a neuroscientist with fibromyalgia, I coach clients on how to use cannabis and mushrooms to heal emotional and physical pain.