Study Says Psychedelics Can Boost Sexual Satisfaction, Functioning

New research has looked into the influence of psychedelic substances on sexual functioning and satisfaction. This comes as scientists learn more about the promising potential of psychedelics in treating mental-health conditions.

Various studies have looked into the effectiveness of psilocybin in alleviating symptoms of anxiety. Psilocybin, the primary psychedelic compound found in different species of hallucinogenic mushrooms, has also shown comparable effectiveness to escitalopram in reducing symptoms of depression in patients with major depressive disorder. Escitalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. SSRIs have different side effects, a common one being sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction may lower an individual’s libido, make it hard for them to get aroused, and delay or prevent them from achieving orgasm during sex.

This was the basis of the recent study, which examined the effect of psychedelics on sexual function.

For their study, the investigators assessed psychedelic use in naturalistic ceremonies and settings to better understand the effect it had on different aspects of sexual functioning. Here, they collected data from persons who had attended a ceremony involving the consumption of psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD and ayahuasca. Once this was done, they conducted a six-week clinical trial that compared the effectiveness of psilocybin therapy in treating major depressive disorder, with that of escitalopram.

During this period, the investigators examined the domains of sexual satisfaction, arousal, pleasure, sexual desires and body image, as well as sexual functioning. They were focused on understanding whether psychedelics influenced sexual desires and openness to sexual exploration using self-constructed questions. They also assessed the differences in this association among female and male patients with major depressive disorder.

From their naturalistic study, the investigators determined that psychedelic use caused improvements in some domains of sexual functioning and satisfaction, including partner satisfaction and body image. They also observed improvements in pleasure and communication during sex. Results from their trial supported these findings, with the investigators noting that the effects of psilocybin therapy with regard to sexual functioning were positive. When compared with psilocybin therapy, escitalopram therapy was found to have a negative effect on sexual functioning.

In their report, the investigators explained that the difference in the impacts of psilocybin and escitalopram therapy on sexual functioning could be linked to the mechanisms by which they relieve depression. SSRIs work by inhibiting reintake of serotonin, increasing concentration of serotonin and promoting the chemical’s activity in the postsynaptic phase.

Overall, the study’s findings showed that psilocybin therapy as a treatment for major depressive disorder could positively affect an individual’s sexual functioning. The study’s findings were reported in the “Scientific Reports” journal.

This study widens the possibilities for the therapeutic use of psilocybin, adding to the medical conditions that entities such as atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ: ATAI) are focusing on conducting psychedelic clinical studies for.

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