Sex on drugs
As humans we thrive on stimulating our senses (think rollercoaster rides), dulling our emotions (think drowning your sorrows), or modifying our perception (hey, it was the 60s man).
And more importantly, we thrive on the promise of pleasure. Sex is an act that can deliver the ultimate high...the orgasm, or as the French so lovingly refer to it “le petite mort” (the little death). How… romantic!
Orgasms release oxytocin, the hormone associated with feelings of love and trust. Oxytocin is the hormone that binds mother to child during birth. And it helps connect lovers in a way that transcends the physical. So it’s ironic that in our efforts to receive this “high”, we often resort to taking combinations of synthetic and natural chemicals.
Whether we use them as a way to seduce, conquer or even capture, drugs have been a part of sexuality for a long time. So let’s investigate some of these substances and their effects – as well as the controversy that surrounds them.
Artwork by Mika Mae Jones exclusively for Hegre.com
Quaaludes: Are you feeling sleepy?As Bill Cosby would like us to believe, these little pills are a “snack you can say yes to.” Unfortunately, Bill never gave his female victims the option of saying "no" when he was spiking their drinks.
Sex on Methaqualone (brand name Quaalude) usually makes the user forget the experience. So with rape victims waking up confused and disoriented, it’s no wonder the drug is no longer sold.
With over fifty allegations of rape involving Quaaludes directed at the comedian, he finally acknowledged use of this powerful hypnotic. Not very funny, Bill.
Ambien: Nighttime naughtinessThis hypnotic drug, prescribed for insomnia, is often abused recreationally for its ability to heighten sex drive. Considered an aphrodisiac, Ambien has been known to induce “sexsomnia” which is like sleepwalking, just with more…well, sex. But don’t worry; sufferers rarely remember they tried to make love to someone while asleep.
So if you’re thinking about experimenting with this drug, just make sure you (really) like the person you’re sleeping next to. And never fall asleep on the bus!
Viagra: Stand to attentionSildenafil, better known as Viagra, is a medication for men with erectile dysfunction. It’s also effective for a rare condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension. In this case, the drug relaxes the arterial wall, which allows heightened blood flow to the penis. It’s not hard to work out what happens next!
It’s not all good news, though. The penis is not simply a tool used to complete a job. Initially the goal may be to unify the desires of the mind with the performance of the body. But Viagra can also create an emotional distance, operating in a way that has little to do with actual sexual desire, performance or interaction.
Antidepressants : Happy to take these?Antidepressants such as Zoloft, Prozac and Effexor can have a big impact on the libido. These are known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and can decrease the effects of chronic depression. But there’s a downside! The drug can cause limp dick, or for females, an inability to orgasm altogether.
Don’t fret though, luckily science has provided a useful alternative. Bupropion, which is an NDRI (Norepinephrine-dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor), is an effective antidepressant that does not depress libido. Some doctors and patients have labeled it the female alternative to Viagra (women nearing menopause may benefit from taking the anti-depressant). Unlike Viagra, which is supposed to be taken right before getting down and dirty, Wellbutrin (the brand name for bupropion) should be taken regularly (it takes at least a month to begin working properly).
Marijuana: Hungry for lovingCannabis (also known as marijuana) has been used recreationally for millennia. Already used to treat chemotherapy patients and children with epilepsy, the many health benefits of marijuana are still being discovered.
The effect the drug has on sex seems to differ wildly. Some say the drug lowers their libido, while others claim they cannot have sex without it.
But one thing is agreed upon: cannabis is pleasurable for most users. Research shows it enhances our receptivity to touch, which could mean wonders for your more sensitive spots. Which perhaps explains why cannabis use among women has been growing (and you can now get lubricants that heighten your sensitivity).
Benzodiazepines: Get high or get hardOnce known as ‘mamas little helpers’ for their popularity with housewives in the 1950s, Benzodiazepines such as Valium or Xanax are prescribed to those suffering acute anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
At low doses, sexual gratification and pleasure can actually be increased as the drugs relax the skeletal and nervous systems. At high doses the opposite can occur, with sexual desire disappearing completely (especially in those who abuse “benzos”). So you’ll just have to get your priorities straight; you can either get high or get hard.
Opioids and Opiates: Smack downKnown mostly for their addictive qualities, drugs such as morphine and heroin are often regarded as perfect painkillers. It’s no secret that chemicals like this have a strong power to seduce those who use them. But the main price, aside from struggling to live a normal life, is having no sex life at all.
These drugs suppress hormone production in both genders, often leading to sexual dysfunction. The wild excesses of rock and roll stars may have given these drugs a romantic air. But the reality for users is there’s little room for romance of the sexual kind. Heroin is a bondage that’s incredibly difficult to break. And if it were a lover it would be a possessive and abusive one.
Ketamine: Say goodbye to realityKetamine is a powerful anesthetic, most commonly used as a horse tranquilizer. Exploding in popularity in recent years, human users can experience mild to complete detachment from reality.
In small doses, the drug can increase activity levels and even increase libido. But when snorted or ingested in larger amounts users can experience what is known as a “k-hole”, described as a near death or out of body experience.
Sex in a “k-hole” may not result in a true orgasm but it can produce some ethereal qualities and a strong connection for those who make love under its influence. Some have even said it’s akin to “melting” into the body of another. Scientists are now investigating whether Ketamine can alleviate depression and sexual dysfunction.
MDMA: Free hugs for everyoneFor those seeking pleasure, MDMA (fittingly known as ecstasy) increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin. This results in a state of heightened empathy.
There have been many myths surrounding this drug and sexual performance, some saying that sex on an ecstasy come down is disappointing compared to sex while high on the drug. This may because as the effects wear off, the brain is depleted of much of its supply of serotonin.
Depression can be a serious issue with MDMA use. The drug has been shown to damage serotonin-producing neurons and dopamine transmitters. This damage may be long-term, but no one knows. So as the raver generation hits retirement we may have a lot of unhappy grannies!
Cocaine: Don’t cross the linePeople often think that taking narcotics, like Cocaine, can give you a really positive sexual experience. Often linked to the sexual revolution of the 1970s, and perhaps because of the feelings of confidence and euphoria the drug induces, cocaine is considered by many to be an aphrodisiac – as can be the case with any stimulant.
However, take too much and the results can have the opposite effect. “Coke dick” is a form of erectile dysfunction. And is, essentially, the little guy downstairs disappearing back into his man cave.
Cocaine is also a drug that can leave the user in a constant state of yearning and irritability from never reaching a true state of satisfaction. One line is too much and a thousand is never enough.
Amphetamines: Sex addict?Potentially more addictive than their peers, amphetamines are chemically produced stimulant drugs. From legal medication, such as Adderall, to the illegal (and very common) poison we call crystal meth, amphetamines have been around since the 1940s.
Addicts have been known to exhibit heightened states of sexual desire, even resulting in a state of sexual dependency. But as levels of psychosis and paranoia increase, long-term heavy use has the opposite effect.
Like heroin, it’s a drug best avoided due to its highly possessive qualities. When on meth the only lover you will ultimately have is meth. And crystal meth can do permanent damage to your ability to feel pleasure. That doesn’t sound like fun.
Steroids: Pumped upOften injected into the thigh or buttocks, anabolic steroids are synthetic drugs used to increase muscular development. Men in particular take this drug to improve their body image and be more attractive to the ladies (although beauty is, of course, subjective).
But as with most drugs, there are serious compromises that have to be considered. Heavy steroid use can result in testicular shrinkage and significantly lowered production of testosterone – resulting in decreased sexual performance and drive in males.
So be careful: your new muscles might attract a woman, but when you get her in the sack, she’ll be less than impressed with your tiny balls and poor performance.
Mushrooms: Everything you do is magicPsilocybin Cubensis, also known as the magic mushroom, is a naturally occurring psychedelic known for its spiritual and hallucinatory effects. Softer and more manageable than its synthetic counterpart LSD, Psilocybin has been reported to decrease depression and increase orgasm frequency and intensity in men and women.
Like any psychedelic, how you’re feeling and the vibe of the setting can strongly influence the performance of this natural substance.
Researchers have observed hyper-connectivity in neurological function, which basically means your brain goes into overdrive. And in such a stimulated state, it’s no surprise that any action you get between the sheets will hit a whole new sensory level.
LSD: Psychedelic LoverOne of the most powerful synthetic psychedelics ever created, LSD is known to create a hyper-awareness that can produce experiences both traumatic and beautiful.
LSD can bring light to whatever is hidden within the subconscious, so could take you to paradise or purgatory. One thing is for sure, your senses will go on a ride like never before. And it sure does help with creative thinking. Francis Crick deduced the molecular structure of DNA while under the influence of LSD.
Sexually, this increased awareness can serve as a powerful aphrodisiac, but it can also be quite frightening if taken in the wrong setting or context. Because it’s a drug that causes the user to be emotionally present, it also requires the right partner.
Oxytocin: The ultimate love drugThis brings me to my final conclusion, which is that sex ultimately should always be about finding the right partner. Drugs are often used as a condiment or cocktail to flavor an otherwise completely terrible connection. Instead of finding a partner of true sexual compatibility, many use drugs to create a synthetic sense of chemistry.
The truth is if you’re just doing drugs to avoid the fact you’re having sex with the wrong person, you’ve missed the point of sex completely. If you’re with a compatible partner, and have romantic chemistry, you don’t need the artificial kind – that authentic connection is like its own drug.
Oxytocin is not a toxin; it’s a naturally occurring gift of pleasure (when we allow it to manifest). To achieve this state of grace is to be truly present with whomever you choose – to share that experience together. And, don’t forget, it’s always legal and always affordable!
Artwork by Mika Mae Jones exclusively for Hegre.com