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Psychedelics Shown To Improve Sexual Function For Months After Use

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

February 9, 2024 12:24 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Psychedelics Shown To Improve Sexual Function For Months After Use

Studies have demonstrated how effective psychedelics are at treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other mental health disorders, but can they also improve sexual function? A new study published in Nature Scientific Reports has revealed that LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and more may enhance sexual experiences for weeks to months after ingestion.

Scientists at the Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research conducted a survey of 261 participants before and after they took psychedelics. The findings were combined with a separate study on SSRIs (antidepressants) and psilocybin since sexual issues are a common side effect of SSRIs and other mental health drugs.

Co-author Bruna Giribaldi wrote in the report, “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. We wanted to make sure we went deeper…and explored more aspects of sexuality that could be impacted by these treatments.”

The survey did not look at sexual function while on psychedelics but rather how people were impacted sexually for up to six months after taking psychedelics. Researchers measured enjoyment of sex, arousal, attraction, satisfaction with sexual performance, communication with partners, and overall sense of connection. They noted increases in these metrics across the board, with people reporting seeing sex as a more spiritual, sacred act.

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The SSRI and psilocybin study noted that “patients treated with psilocybin reported positive changes in sexual functioning after treatment, while patients treated with escitalopram did not.” Additionally, both groups reported lowered symptoms of depression.

The clinical director of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, David Erritzoe, stated in the report, “This study shines yet more light on the far-reaching effects of psychedelics on an array of psychological functioning. While the findings are indeed interesting, we are still far from a clear clinical application, because psychedelics are yet to be integrated into the medical system. In the future, we may be able to see a clinical application.”

There were some limitations to the study. The researchers noted that the survey was largely done on white, heterosexual, and well-educated people, so more diverse studies are needed to confirm these findings.

While this is only the beginning of this specific vein of research, it spotlights the continuing education regarding the many potential benefits of psilocybin and other psychedelics.

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