Masters and Houston - 4 Psychedelics and sex - Examples
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
November, 1967 Playboy Sex, Ecstasy and the Psychedelic Drugs - by R.E.L. Masters
Spontaneous changes in visual perception may provide very pleasant experiences.
One man, for example, related that his girlfriend changed as he held her in his arms, first to Helen of Troy, then to Cleopatra, then in successive metamorphoses to yet other women, so that he quickly "made love to all the famous beauties in history." After a while, the girl resumed he own appearance, although her beauty was greatly heightened, and he "thought he no less lovely than any of the others and appreciated very much her part in providing such a great experience."
There are a host of similar erotic phenomena that sometimes occur in the psychedelic state.
These might seem trivial and self-indulgent compared with the transcendence of the ecstatic union, but they are interesting, nonetheless. For many people, for instance, it is possible to 'genitalize' almost any part of the body, by consciously transferring the response capacity from the sexual organs to some other part, such as a finger. Rubbing one's finger against a fabric can provide sensations akin to those experienced in masturbation. A couple might even genitalize the lips and the mouth, so that kissing affords sensations very much like those usually experienced in mouth-genital contacts or in sexual intercourse.
One man, who had taken a large dose of LSD (about 500 micrograms), found himself unable to obtain an erection, despite much assistance from his partner. Abandoning the effort, they lay side by side. Suddenly, he became aware of his entire body as "one great, erect penis. The World," he said, "was my vagina and I had a sense of moving in and out of it, with intense sexual sensations."
A few research subjects have reported similar erotic sensations from listening to music. One man reported "the sexualization of my entire body as I listened to Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. The music washed over every inch of my body, giving sexual sensations like those of a very intense orgasm. The pleasure became so intense as to be unendurable. I had to shut off the phonograph. I wondered at every instant if I would not have a real ejaculation." In a subsequent LSD experience, he responded to the same recording in the same way. No other music produced the phenomenon, and he never learned why the Pastoral should have such an effect. With another subject, any symphonic music produced strong sexual sensations.
When males see vivid images or visions, they almost always include beautiful nudes, with Balinese dancing girls and other Orientals appearing frequently. Drug-state visions in America are shot through with this predilection for the East - in architectural and religious imagery as well as in nudes. But just as women are less interested in erotic art, so do they have less erotic imagery.
The aftereffects of drug-state sex can be of very great value, though often the results don't last. As an immediate aftermath of a good sexual experience under LSD, some couples report an over-all improvement in their relationship - and a specific improvement in their sex life. Frequently, a portion of the drug-state perception of the woman's greatly heightened beauty carries over, so that she continues to appear more attractive. Sometimes, with psychedelics, inhibitions fall away, allowing people to engage in sexual practices that are normal and that had been desired, but which inhibition prevented. Extensive caressing of the genitals and mouth-genital stimulation are frequent examples. Breaking through such blocks can be permanent. Especially among married couples, who had largely ceased to attract each other sexually, there can be a reactivation of old desires and emotions. Most of these beneficial aftereffects are lost in days, weeks or months, but they can be retained - or possibly reactivated by another LSD session - if they are regarded as important enough to be worth preserving.
Because ecstatic union is so rich an experience and may have very positive effects on a relationship, it is obviously desirable that it occur and be repeated. This is possible without psychedelics, but the necessary changes in consciousness occur more readily when they have first been experienced in LSD-type states. After LSD, memories and pathways in the nervous system have been strongly established and can be explored again more easily.
To take some terminology from the theologians, we have been busy for a long while 'demythologizing' sexual intercourse - divesting it of a sense of sin and a necessary connection with procreation. But a totally demythologized sex can be mechanical, vapid and banal if it remains without larger significance.
Ecstatic sexual experience may be the new and valuable 'remythologizing' agent. With and without psychedelic drugs, we may be able to invest the sexual union with new beauty and meaning.