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Why is MDMA/MDA called the “love drug?”

Why is MDMA/MDA called the “love drug?”

First synthesized in 1912 in Germany, MDMA was initially noted to induce empathetic feelings, vulnerability, + a deep sense of boundedness.

Alex Shulgin introduced the substance to psychotherapists in the 70s + started to experiment with it as an assistive tool for therapy, especially in couples therapy before it was banned by the DEA + became a Schedule 1 controlled substance.


Since then, MAPS was approved to run studies using MDMA for therapy in PTSD.

Because MDMA has an empathy response, individuals (in a controlled, safe setting) can go into painful experiences while being in states of self-compassion, emotional openness, vulnerability, confidence, verbal expression, and deep care of themselves + others, without dysregulation. This allows for a reprocessing of the painful past to become something less jarring to the nervous system + perhaps alleviate the mind + body from the stuck/frozen position it’s been in due to fear + an incomplete process.

As these substance qualities apply to couples therapy, we can see that couples are able to converse more openly about a challenging topic, feel compassion for self + other, support, attachment + safety with one another, social intimacy + bonding, + non-avoidance contributing to relationship satisfaction.

As these qualities apply to sex. Some smaller research shows microdoses of MDMA contribute to couples' feelings of sexual satisfaction, including sexual confidence, openness to talking about sex, an increase of energy + desire, deep presence in the act rather than worry about performance or outside distracting factors, + as a result sexual satisfaction. (Men reported more of a difficult time with orgasm (some) + erections (some).)

Note of caution: You may feel in love on MDMA. Does that mean you are “in love”? Does this mean that this person in front of you (therapist/facilitator/friend/lover) is your soul mate?


Those are Chemicals, baby.

And you need to be smart about taking the time to integrate your experience before making any major declarations of love + life. ;)

Presently, Mind Cure Health is conducting their clinical research the “Desire Project” looking at treatments for Hypo-sexual desire disorder for women using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

And Mind Medicine recently announced they are launching a program for using MDMA for social anxiety + functioning that includes the diagnosis for autism.

While MDMA is still not legal for public consumption or psychotherapy YET; it is just around the corner. I am so excited for what this substance has to provide us.

Disclaimer: Psychedelics are not for everyone. It’s important to talk with your medical doctor if that is something you are interested in exploring. Classical Antidepressants do not mix well with MDMA. I recently did a great episode with @spiritpharmacist on the topic of tapering + meds.

Further, some individuals can experience a heightened sense of anxiety with MDMA if they are either not in a controlled, safe environment OR they already struggle with severe anxiety, OCD, or panic attacks + are not being guided by a trained therapist or facilitator.

Please do not do trauma work + any substances with someone who is NOT trauma-trained.

Just reading a book about trauma does not make you trained.

Wanna learn more?

I have an upcoming 4 week course Sex Love Psychedelics: Ritual where we will be diving more into these topics. Click here to check it out

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