MDMA is known as the “love drug” for the surge of serotonin and oxytocin that gets released in the brain. Users want to cuddle and experience increased vulnerability due to the surge of these neurotransmitters. When taking MDMA as a couple, touching feels good and honest, open conversations are common. Having sex on MDMA can enhance the physical and emotional connection between partners.
Because of this unique effect, MDMA has gotten the attention of therapists as a possible tool for couples counseling. It allows patients to talk about things that would normally distress them. Also, they are able to be lucid and coherent during the session. In 2019, MAPS published an article about their research combining MDMA with couples therapy where one partner was suffering from PTSD to work through obstacles in the relationship.
While MDMA-assisted couples therapy is not available for the average person, it’s possible to have an effective, meaningful experience on your own with a partner.
“It’s best for couples that are happy and want to have the experience for personal growth,” says Dr. Eva Altobelli, a psychiatrist specializing in addiction recovery who helps patients integrate their mind, body, and spirit. “Or a couple that’s committed and in love, but keeps fighting.”
You should not take MDMA to try to save a relationship that’s pretty much over except in name. The therapists I spoke with do not endorse taking MDMA without a therapist present, in order to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all involved. But here are ways to have an effective joint MDMA experience with a romantic partner.
Test Your Drugs
This is true for any drug and any time, not just MDMA and not just when planning a couples journey. You should always be getting your drugs from a trusted source and testing them to know what you are ingesting.
Both Partners Must Be Receptive
Just as you should never do drugs because of peer pressure, you should never let a partner force you into taking MDMA for the good of the relationship. It’s important that both parties be ready, willing, and excited about the experience. If one partner is resistant, the medicine won’t work and, in the worst cases, can lead to resentment and regret.
“Resistance can block the effects of the medicine,” Altobelli says. “They’re not allowing it to pierce through their defenses to get the benefit. If you’re not open to it, you’re going to be taking non-benign drugs unnecessarily.”
Set an Intention, But Don’t Let it Be Restrictive
As a couple, you should be doing a lot of prep work before taking your dose. There should be conversations about what issues you are having in the relationship or what ideas you might want to focus on during the experience. But you shouldn’t let that plan constrain the experience. According to Dr. Anne Wagner at Remedy, a center for mental health innovation and MDMA research in Toronto, Canada, it’s about creating a setting and holding time and space for the conversations to blossom.
Dr. Altobelli agrees. “It’s better to let it be organic and let the issues come up,” she says. “If you have an agenda, it tends not to be as helpful. Allow the medicine to be an ally and the architect of the experience.”
Having too much of a preconceived notion or expectation of the experience can lead to disappointment or frustration, and be counterproductive for your goals.
Be On the Same Level
First and foremost, couples should try to take similar doses (or doses that produce similar effects in each person). They should also be dosages that facilitate conversation. Overdoing it will inhibit conversation, and the resulting experience will be inconsequential to the relationship.
Second, couples should wait until both parties are at similar points in the roll to talk. If one person is still interested in their internal experience and isn’t ready to connect with someone else, the other partner shouldn’t try to force a conversation.
“If one partner wanted to talk, and the other person wasn’t ready,” Wagner says “we, as the therapists, would write down what the person wanted to say and allow the other to go back inside. That’s a bit of orchestration that we would do as therapists.”
If you do not have a third party present, you can just write down the thoughts yourself to save for later. This is a great way to allow each person to be the most relaxed, getting the most out of the experience until both want to talk.
Remember the Comedown
An MDMA comedown can be intense. The lack of serotonin will have real, observable manifestations. Take supplements important for brain and emotional health. But also just being aware of your mental state will help the next few days in the relationship. Don’t let the lack of serotonin cause arguments or issues in the relationship that don’t need to be there.
“Know when you’re potentially irritable the next day, that this is a response from a drug experience,” Altobelli says. “Don’t let yourself buy into any interactions for 48 hours.”
Have an Integration Conversation
One of the most important parts of a joint MDMA roll is the integration period after the experience and the comedown. Couples should take time after the roll, when they are sober and their brain chemistry has normalized, to talk about the experience. Discuss the learning, observations, and ideas for change that came from the MDMA journey. Look back at notes you may have written while on MDMA and think about the intention you had set as a couple before the experience. An MDMA experience cannot create lasting change without this part of the process
Overall, it is possible to have an informative and significant experience for your relationship using MDMA, but only with thoughtful intention and guidance. It can be a monumental moment in your relationship journey, or just a fun way to spend a day. It depends on you, your partner, and your prep.
Disclaimer: MDMA is potentially categorized as an illegal drug. Reality Sandwich is not encouraging the use of this drug where it is prohibited. However, we believe that providing information is imperative for the safety of those who choose to explore this substance. This guide is intended to give educational content and should in no way be viewed as medical recommendations.