Everyone knows that alcohol and weed totally affect what sex is like; you’re hornier and more prone to bad decisions when you drink, and weed makes it hard to focus. But what’s less known is how hard drugs, like ecstasy (MDMA), change the way people experience sex. Thank goodness for science because someone finally did the research.
Jospeh Palamar and his team looked at a study from 2014 to see how popular club drugs (cocaine, MDMA, etc.) affect sexual performance of 198 men in New York City who use the drugs. The researchers focused on the gay and bisexual community, so only male respondents between the ages of 18 and 59 participated in the study. To participate, the men had to have reported at least six uses of club drugs before or during sex in the three months prior to being surveyed for the study. Here’s what they found:
Beyond the dangerous risks of the illegal drug – such as panic attacks, seizures and heart failure – Palamar notes that frequent or regular MDMA use is usually associated with unsafe sex in a party environment. Like alcohol, some respondents reported having lower standards and inhibitions while high. As a result, many users found they were attracted to people they wouldn’t be attracted to sober, which could potentially lead to an unsafe situation. “When I’m at the club and I’m hooking up with some guy, like, five minutes later when we’re making out, I’m like, ‘Who the hell is this?'” explained a 19 year old participant. “If I become coherent, then I’ll stop. Like it’s easy for someone to get me in bed than it would be if I wasn’t on ecstasy.”
But positive side effects were also included, such as being very sensitive to the touch. MDMA is often referred to as the “love drug.” A huge reason why is that it makes physical sensation feel amazing, according to the participants. “With ecstasy, my body sensations are just all in full effect,” a 23-year-old participant said. “Getting touched, just anything kind of stimulates it.” The drug also increases feelings of love for the people around you, further proving its nickname. “For the length of time you’re high, you sort of fall in love with everyone you’re having sex with,” said one 45-year-old participant. Other participants agreed, describing the feeling as “more romantic or whatever,” and that they feel like they’re in love with the people who are taking ecstasy with them.
It’s common to feel more outgoing as well while being high on MDMA. “I get a lot more flirty when I’m on it and I’m just like, ‘OK, I need to hook up now,'” said a 20-year-old participant. “I love making out when I’m on it. I’m just like, ‘OK, I have to find someone.'” It’s clear that ecstasy lowers the inhibitions, socially and sexually, that people would normally have sober. This makes it easier to make friends and find potential hook-ups.
For all this intimacy, there’s actually less sex than you might think. Although almost 85% of participants reported “some form of related sexual enhancement,” they didn’t necessarily have a lot of sex while high. Men reported struggling to get hard and delayed orgasms. “I can’t perform when I’m getting at my peak,” described a 21-year-old respondent. “After my peak is when I get extremely horny and aroused, and that’s when I can perform.” Despite all the bodily stimulation, it doesn’t necessarily lead to longer or more sex than being sober. However, the increased connection had many participants reporting that they felt sensual rather than sexual. There were feelings of romance involved, not pure horniness. “I feel like I am making love,” one 42-year-old participant explained. “I hold the person even more; the kisses are more conducive; the warmth is there. It doesn’t have to be penetration necessarily or any type of copulation.”
Though there are some definite positive differences to sober sex, it’s important to remember the consequences of taking an illegal drug like MDMA. But if you were ever curious about what boning someone is like while high, now you know. Science is amazing.