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Observations placeholder

Masters and Houston - 2 Psychedelics and sex



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

November, 1967 Playboy Sex, Ecstasy and the Psychedelic Drugs - by R.E.L. Masters

In view of all that has gone before, the orgasm - when it arrives - may seem something of an anticlimactic climax. Some people, in this orgasm-happy society, learn for the first time how much more than can be to sex than the brief intensity of the climax - and how much their past sexual experience has been impoverished by the urgent and infantile drive toward orgasm that is so prevalent in Western societies.

However, the orgasm, too, is 'psychedelic' - that is, magnified or intensified. Time distortion can greatly prolong it, and there is an awareness of the whole process from beginning to end, in far greater detail. Men very often report sensations of gathering tension, concentration of energy and then an extremely acute awareness of the spasmodic propulsion of the ejaculate, which is plainly and pleasurably felt as it travels along the urethra and is ejected into the vagina of the partner. At the same time, there is a greatly intensified awareness of the genital organs of the partner: their texture, temperature and movement. Some women for the first time become keenly aware of the pulsations of the male organ as climax begins - and of the ejaculate as they receive it.

Orgasm is often experienced upon two levels. It is the most intensely erotic aspect of the act, as consciousness seems totally absorbed in the orgasmic sensations. And yet there seems also to be another consciousness, which does not dilute but rather reinforces the genital consciousness. This is the sense of attaining the beautiful climax of a beautiful experience.

Remarkably, in view of the richness of the experience, throughout these unions there is an undiminished and sometimes greatly intensified awareness of the partner. One does not lapse into a selfish and exclusive preoccupation with the components of ecstasy.

In almost 25 percent of the sexual acts I recorded, one or both partners did not reach orgasm. This was nothing new for most of the women; but for some of the men, it was a novel experience. Typically, however, the absence of orgasm was not a disappointment. The act itself was so fulfilling that the attitude was: Who cares whether there was an orgasm? This, too, can be a valuable experience for those women who seldom climax in their ordinary lovemaking. It teaches them that even without orgasm, sex can provide remarkable fulfillment.

Under the influence of psychedelics, the anorgasmic woman can experience great joy in intercourse and derive gratification from conferring just as much joy on her partner. If this lesson were learned and applied to all intercourse, many people - both male and female - would be better off for it. It is worth noting that at least some have learned it through psychedelic experimentation.

The foregoing description was of a maximal drug-state sexual experience. Slightly more than half of my heterosexual subjects reported extraordinary unions resembling or approaching this at least once. The frequency probably would have been lower with younger individuals, because richness of personality is a key factor in determining the richness of the psychedelic experience. An earned capacity for appreciating the complex and profound must already exist.

My intention here is not to promote the haphazard and now illegal use of psychedelic drugs - with or without sexual intercourse. But it is only realistic to admit that many thousands of people are taking psychochemicals without screening or adequate guidance. Of these, a good many are also experimenting with sex. It seems best that they be informed about possibilities beyond 'kicks' and trivia, so that they can explore the many valuable aspects of an experience that might otherwise be wasted.

My research indicates that homosexuals in psychedelic states enjoy profound, ecstatic sexual experiences with less frequency - and less intensity - than their heterosexual counterparts. Female homosexuals seem more likely to have profound sexual experiences than male homosexuals. The very practical matter of the positioning of the bodies appears to provide a partial explanation. The ecstatic experience seems more likely to occur when one faces the partner while the act is being performed. Social attitude toward homosexuality, as well as the homosexual's typical guilt and low self-esteem, may also be deterrents. In the drug state, homosexual acts are usually specifically erotic and less invested with other positive meaning. However, the physical pleasure of genital, oral and anal sensations is enhanced, just as with heterosexuals.


Nor is it invariably, or even frequently, true that, in the words of Timothy Leary, a "neurological and cellular fidelity" develops between two person who have had sexual relations during an LSD experience. The notion is poetic but inaccurate. Even the most beautiful drug-state sexual unions do not always guarantee change in a previous relationship. Leary's devotees sometimes tell me, with what sometimes seems more hope than conviction, that Leary speaks a 'private language,' the better to convey the ineffable truths. However, the fact is that he is taken literally by a great many people. He has said, for instance, that "in a carefully prepared, loving LSD session, a woman will inevitably have several hundred orgasms." I have yet to hear from anyone else a single instance remotely approximating this; and I feel rather confident that if it had been happening with any frequency, the world would not have had to wait for Leary to announce it.

Sexual dysfunction

While LSD can hardly be considered a panacea for sexual disorders, it does hold promise for becoming an extremely valuable tool in treating those and many other promises. And it will become even more valuable when therapists stop regarding it as adjunct to their old procedures and develop psychedelic therapies permitting them to make full use of the great wealth of phenomena available.

Scientific literature on psychedelics includes hundreds of reports of successful treatment, even with the old procedures, for such disorders as ...frigidity, impotence, [etc] Good progress in these areas has been made in England, and it is certainly unfortunate that psychotherapists in this country are legally unable to work extensively with psychedelics.

.......Some men with potency problems decided in their LSD sessions that their sexual organs were not too small and afterward their potency improved, sometimes permanently. A frigid woman discovered that an 'inner voice' had been calling her a 'fake' and an 'unworthy person.' The voiced ordinarily talked to her 'on some below level consciousness'; but in her LSD session, she heard it clearly and she was able to refute it just as clearly. After freeing herself from this voice, she felt she no longer had to punish herself by denying herself sexual pleasure. Her frigidity soon was overcome - and had not reappeared almost four years later.

Other therapeutic uses

The therapeutic value of LSD is by no means limited to sexual disorders. Alcoholics intractable to all previous therapies have quit drinking or become much improved after treatment with psychedelics. Cure and improvement rates range anywhere from 25 to 75 percent, and some of the studies have been very well controlled. ......

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