Psychedelics have been a subject of fascination for humans for centuries. They are a class of substances that produce mind-altering effects and can lead to profound changes in perception, cognition, and emotion. One of the most interesting aspects of psychedelics is their ability to affect sexual orientation.
Sexual orientation refers to a person's enduring romantic, emotional, or sexual attraction to individuals of a particular gender or genders. It is a complex trait that is influenced by genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. While sexual orientation is traditionally considered to be a stable trait, it actually is quite fluid. We just have to be willing to become curious + challenge the social norms of “identity” + how we believe love works.
Several studies have investigated the link between psychedelics and sexual orientation. Here are some of the findings:
Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been shown to increase emotional openness, + self-reflection, while reducing neuroticism. This allows more access to contemplating the identities that we associate with ourselves + expand our perceptions to entertain ideas that we might not otherwise be willing to explore. Further, psilocybin has a large window of neuroplasticity, which means that the brain becomes more flexible in changing belief structures that have been in place due to lifelong programing + experiences.
LSD has been shown to increase feelings of empathy and closeness with others, which may lead to more exploration of one's sexual identity. It too, has the expansive characteristic of the mind to explore otherwise fixed beliefs around attraction, gender identity, queerness, + purpose of relationships.
Ayahuasca, a brew made from Amazonian plants, has been used in traditional shamanic practices to promote spiritual growth and healing. It has been reported to lead to profound experiences of love and acceptance, which may facilitate acceptance of one's sexual curiosity + attraction. Many individuals report spiritual themes to their Ayahuasca journeys, including archetypal themes, including gods, goddesses, religious figures, that might inspire the individuals understanding around gender identification + the fluid nature of it.
MDMA, also known as ecstasy, has been shown to increase feelings of emotional openness and empathy, which may facilitate communication and exploration of one's sexual identity. Further, MDMA has been a strong tool for the use of individuals with PTSD helping to soften their painful experiences in a way that they can reprocess what happened without becoming dysregulated. This is especially important for LGBTQI populations in which personal trauma + systemic trauma has been prevalent. For individuals who have experienced distress as a result of their sexual orientation, this can be powerful in helping to resolve + even heal those past pains, so more healthy exploration + relationships can occur without pain + fear.
While the exact mechanisms underlying these effects are not yet fully understood, it is clear that psychedelics can have a profound impact on how people think about their sexual orientation. However, it is important to note that these effects are not always positive, and some individuals may experience negative effects, such as confusion or anxiety, when using psychedelics--especially if they don’t have the support of a therapist to help them make sense of the information that we presented to them or they don’t have resources to self-regulate if they become distressed.
It is also important to note that the use of psychedelics is illegal in many countries and can be dangerous if not used in a controlled and supervised setting. Individuals who are interested in exploring the link between psychedelics and sexual orientation should do so with caution and under the guidance of a trained professional. Check out my guide to finding the right facilitator or program on sex, psychedelics, or plant medicine.
While the exact nature of the connection between psychedelics and sexual orientation is not yet fully understood, there is evidence to suggest that these substances can play a role in shaping how individuals think about their sexual identity. As research in this area continues to evolve, it will be important to understand the potential benefits and risks of using psychedelics for this purpose.
What bicuriosity, bisexuality, queerness, + pansexuality really means? Check out this podcast about Bi+, Queer, Pan-curious + Sexual Fluidity
Disclaimer: This class is for educational purposes only. We are not providing health advice or recommendations that you engage in illegal activity. This is not intended to provide psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, psychotherapy, psychedelic substances, referrals, or medical advice. Ingesting psychedelic compounds is never completely safe. Adverse effects can occur from ingesting psychedelic drugs, including PTSD or seizures. Please discuss with your medical provider about health fit + any medications that might interfere. These medicines are not safe for all consumers. We are providing harm reduction information to seekers interested in safely working with it. We do not advocate for, endorse, or intend for this report to be used to violate federal law.