This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Mikayla Rose Becker, a 22-year-old model in LA, was promised that sex on MDMA would be the best sex of her life, and it did not disappoint. “All your nerves feel like they are electric, and someone just setting their hand on you feels magical,” she remembers. “I always have acrylic nails on, and everyone always wanted me to run them up and down their backs. Sex on MDMA lasts a pretty long time because both people are wired and also don't want it to end. You want it to last forever, so you go forever until you can't anymore.”
“It feels like you're swimming in a pool of warm orgasmic water with someone else, who is happily trapped in your snowglobe of pleasure,” agrees Gabi Levi, a 26-year-old art director in New York City. “It's like starting your own little sex planet with someone else, and the rules are up to you.”
“MDMA helps us to feel more comfortable with vulnerability, and therefore, it can make sex feel more connected and present,” said Liz Powell, a psychologist and sex educator practicing in Portland. Since the drug dumps serotonin into your system, shutting down your “fight or flight” response, it can heighten emotional intimacy, she explained.
Another reason some people love fucking on molly is that it stimulates their libido. Research has found that more than 90 percent of people have more sexual desire on MDMA, with many women experiencing enhanced vaginal lubrication, said Matthew Johnson, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
But while some swear that rolling sex is the best sex, others struggle to have sex at all under these circumstances. “I get horny on the come-up, but it’s difficult for me to get erect,” said Miguel Sevilla, a 35-year-old writer and producer in LA.
About half of men say MDMA causes difficulty with erections, and many people find that it impedes or delays orgasm, Johnson said. (Still, some say the opposite: Jesse Holder, a 33-year-old writer in Georgia, said he and his partner came faster than usual while on MDMA, and then were quickly ready to go again.)
Since some people have trouble getting hard or finishing on MDMA, and some find themselves highly distractible, it’s best to approach the experience without goals like orgasm or penetration and instead just stay in the moment, Powell said.
Others still don’t have much desire at all when they’re rolling. “My sex drive was completely shot. It was like I couldn’t really focus on sex. Couldn’t get wet,” remembered Emem, a 24-year-old dominatrix in Chicago.
One study of 98 ecstasy users in Substance Use and Misuse found that a “slight majority” of people “reported that ecstasy was more associated with feelings of sensuality or deep emotions rather than sexual desire.” People’s unique brain chemistry makes them respond differently to different drugs, Johnson said, and the variation could also be due to the adulterants frequently found in MDMA.
The quality of sex on MDMA also depends on the stage of the trip. As anyone who’s rolled probably knows, pretty much nothing is enjoyable on the comedown. “It's incredible until you start coming down,” Levi said. “Then, all I wanted to do was kick that partner out of bed and sleep until my serotonin was recharged.”
And unsurprisingly, MDMA makes you more likely to make dumb sexual decisions. One study in Human Psychopharmacology found that MDMA users were more likely to take sexual risks like foregoing condoms.
In some cases, MDMA can make you completely unaware of the sexual choices you’re making. Brett Downes, a 39-year-old digital agency founder in Wales, completely lost consciousness on MDMA then woke up while he was having sex. “Who the hell is this and how did I come to be in this position?” he remembers thinking. “I stopped midway through, and the girl left, as she could see I was really freaked out.”
If you’re going to attempt sex on MDMA, Powell advised sticking with partners and activities you’re already comfortable with and going more slowly than you would otherwise. “I would recommend having non-sexual experiences with substances before you add sex to the mix,” she added, “so you can see whether the substance impacts your ability to use your ‘yes’es and ‘no’s or leads you to agree to things you don't feel good about later.”