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Techstasy Workshop
Harvey Milk Institute

October 9, 2002
San Francisco, California
by Sylvia


A three-hour workshop on the combination of sex and drugs was held October 9, 2002 in San Francisco. Presenters Annie Sprinkle and David J. Brown discussed the interactions, risks, and benefits of various pharmaceuticals, smart drugs, herbs, and licit & illicit drugs as sexual enhancers.

The session was opened with a short survey, asking participants to write down ten adjectives, ideas or short phrases that they associated with "sex," followed by ten adjectives, ideas or short phrases they associated with "drugs." The presenters drew attention to the similarities between the resulting two lists.

The volume of information that was covered by Brown when discussing pharmacology and specific sexual enhancers was enough for a three-hour workshop, and sadly time ran out before the participatory part, i.e. the ecstatic breathing, "erotic shamanic journey" that Sprinkle had planned. Also, the "technology" aspect of the workshop [see course description] was barely mentioned, due to time constraints. However, the novelty of this event, with its focus on the combination of two fairly loaded topics, and the chance for participants to discuss drug effects in a non-judgmental context, made for a rewarding workshop. This format and topic bears further investigation.

Some pharmaceuticals discussed:

  • Sildenafil: for men and women
  • Cabergolin: for men. Drug prescribed for Parkinson's that stops the release of prolactin and reportedly allows men to have multiple orgasms.
  • Depranyl
  • , Hydergine: and other smart drugs, because according to Ward Dean, MD, gerontologist and anti-aging specialist, what will enhance mental functioning will enhance sexual functioning as well, since both are closely related.
Some herbs discussed:

  • Yohimbe: Yohimbine, the main constituent in Yohimbe, was the first drug to be listed in the PDR as an "aphrodisiac."
  • Damiana: Reportedly used for its aphrodisiac properties by women in Central America.
  • Gingko biloba
  • Kava
  • Ginseng
Some nutritional supplements discussed:
  • L-arginine: increases the production of nitric oxide, which is essential for the male erection. Reportedly also increases sensitivity in women.
  • DHEA: "keeps hormonal levels up."
  • Niacin: Some people find taking it before sex increases sexual pleasure, possibly because of the "flushing" effect on circulation.
Effects on sexual functioning and health of some licit and illicit psychoactives:
  • GHB: When GHB was not yet scheduled, some vendors marketed it as a sexual aid. [Example]
  • LSD: LSD was touted as by Timothy Leary as an ultimate aphrodisiac, making women capable of having "thousands of orgasms in one night." Hyperbole aside, LSD boundary-dissolving effects -- at the right dose -- is considered by some to be a unique enhancer for sexual experiences.
  • MDMA: People continue to argue whether it's possible to have satisfying sex on MDMA. Some people say yes, others, "no way."
  • MDMA in combination with other drugs: The combination of sildenafil [Viagra] and MDMA was brought up. "Is it safe?" Since both have a medium to strong effect on the cardiovascular system, extreme caution is reccomended. Same for MDMA and methamphetamine. Or any number of other combinations.
  • Alcohol: Disinhibiting effect, probably the most widely used drug for sex.
  • Cocaine & Methamphetamine: Stimulants having libido-enhancing effects for some. Methamphetamine especially popular for subset of gay men, for extended periods of sex. [For more on this, see David Lenson's On Drugs, chapter on Methamphetamine].
  • Mescaline & psilocybian mushrooms: effects for sex similar to LSD, mushrooms may be slightly preferred by women than by men.
  • Ketamine: dose-dependent, presenter described an episode while on ketamine where he had a vision of multi-tentacled surreal sex, and when he opened his eyes, he realized he was actually making love to his girlfriend.
  • 2C-B: The unique sex-enhancing qualities of 2C-B were lauded by one workshop participant. Historically, 2C-B was marketed as Nexxus and Erox in the 80s and 90s, with packaging alluding to sex.
Random Notes:
  • The antidepressant trazodone can cause priapism [prolonged and painful erection, which after several hours can cause tissue damage].
  • Priapism, when caused by opiates, is sometimes referred by users as "dope dick."
  • The term "metasex" was brought up by the presenters. Metasex, first coined by writer, philosopher, and sexual explorer Marco Vassi, refers to sexual activity that has nothing to do with procreation, as distinct from reproductive sex. The combination of drugs and sex for pleasure can be considered a form of "metasex."
  • Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience, was mentioned by one of the workshop participants for its Introduction, which talks about the historical roots of visionary plants/drugs combined with sacred sex, and the "women, drugs, sexuality" combo in Western mythology. (The most famous example of this is Eve and the Apple.)
Overall observations:
    The sex-enhancing qualities of different substances can be considered in several categories including:
    • Physical: enhancing circulation [for men and women], mediating nitric oxide [for male erection], improving stamina.
    • Mental: improved mental functioning affects sexual health.
    • Disinihibiting: permits a greater range of experiences - positive as well as negative -- because of lowered inhibitions.
    • Boundary-dissolving: [with psychedelics] accessing tantric realms of spiritual sex.

    Dose Dose Dose Dose:
    Almost anything can be considered for sex, provided the dose is appropriate to the setting and the person's individual responsiveness.

    Individual Response:
    People are biochemically unique: one substance may have very different effects in two different people, or in the same person at different times. This cannot be underestimated.

    A lot simply is not known:
    There are many more questions than conclusive answers about drug combinations and actual effects and interactions with sex. This is because more research is needed, and because of the complexity of both human sexuality and the psychoactive effects of drugs and herbs.

Annie Sprinkle was inspired to organize this talk after having participated in the 1998 AllChemical Arts conference in Hawaii. It was at that time that she came out as a "psychedelic-inspired" artist. A version of an essay she prepared for her Ph.D. in sexology was published in the MAPS theme issue, "Sex, Spirit & Psychedelics."

David J. Brown has written about psychedelic-inspired sex in two novels, has extensive knowledge of pharmacology, and has interviewed numerous personalities among the psychedelic and sexuality subcultures.

[These notes reflect most of but not the whole spectrum of topics covered by the presenters.]

From the course description:


Annie Sprinkle & David Jay Brown

Location: SF LGBT Community Center

How do various chemicals and technologies effect our sexuality--biologically, psychologically, and spiritually? Why the big taboos around both sex and mind-altering drugs, and why do people often link them together? Can psychoactive substances teach us about sex, and vice versa? We will look at how commonly used prescription drugs, recreational substances, as well as herbal and nutritional supplements, affect sexual desire, performance, and one's psychological perception of the sexual experience. This class is open to all genders.

David will discuss how pleasure centers operate in the brain, and how natural brain chemicals alter our consciousness during sex. We'll examine how tranquilizers, opiates, antidepressants, smart drugs, stimulants and psychedelics affect sex. Viagra, yohimbe and other substances can help overcome some sexual problems, while others can create them. We will share our personal experiences with each other and cover safety guidelines for combining sex and drugs. We'll also look at some of the latest in high-tech sensual/sexual experiences and sex toys. Annie will lead us on an "erotic shamanic journey", a natural high using "set and setting", ecstasy breathing, the Voyager brain wave machine and some good, old-fashioned cerebral spinal fluid.

Annie Sprinkle, Ph.D. is the prostitute/porn star turned sexologist/sex educator. For more info:

David Jay Brown, MA received his Masters degree in psychobiology from NYU. He is the author or co-author of four books on the evolution of consciousness. For more info: