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Love, Gaspar Noe, 2015 (Film Still)

So you want to take drugs and have sex?

People in the UK are the most likely to have sex while high on drugs, particularly MDMA, cocaine and weed. So how can you do it safely?

Sex and drugs are two things that often go hand in hand. One Dutch study from 2019 found that one in two swingers (people who regularly engage in group sex) use drugs to enhance their experiences. It also turns out that people in the UK are particularly into combining drugs with sex compared with other countries, according to a University College London (UCL) study published in 2019, with the most common drugs apparently MDMA, cocaine, weed and, perhaps unsurprisingly, alcohol.

There’s an obvious reason for this. Sex on drugs doesn’t just feel different, it feels good. There’s even a dedicated subreddit for people who love to have sex while intoxicated. Whether it’s higher confidence, better orgasms or a more intense connection with your partner, it’s no surprise people want to try it.

But which drugs are people most likely to take to achieve those experiences – and, importantly, how do they really feel? Alexandra Aldridge – a lecturer in criminology at Birkbeck University researching sex on drugs and consent – tells Dazed that, while she often finds common threads in her anecdotal research, it can be hard to give a definitive answer. “So often in these situations, people have taken multiple drugs, like mixing alcohol with cocaine, for example, which can change the effects quite a lot,” she explains. (Alcohol and cocaine, while being a common mix, can also be especially dangerous). 

Basically, we’re all different, and none of this is gospel, especially if you choose to take multiple kinds of drugs – but here’s our loose guide.


Bradley*, 28 and his partner, 25, use MDMA to enhance their sex life around three to four times a year. “It’s the best physical feeling in the world combined with a headspace that is very open, caring and honest that allows us to connect on a deeper level than when sober,” he tells Dazed. This chimes with Aldridge’s research: “People often say that MDMA sex experiences are pretty meaningful and very intimate,” she says. Plus, as MDMA can make it harder for men to get erections, people are likely to spend more time having different kinds of sex or even just kissing.

Those feelings of intimacy are something to watch out for, though, especially if you’re sleeping with a stranger or new partner. “Be mindful of the fact that MDMA lends itself to promoting emotional connections and feelings of intimacy between people,” says Aldridge. “So you might want to think carefully about the decisions you're making while taking that drug, the things that you're saying to someone or the steps you take in your relationships, because you might find that when you feel differently when you’re sober.”

And, despite how “amazing” it is, Bradley says it is important that you don’t overdo it: “We usually leave three months in between each time to restore serotonin levels,” he says. (The three-month rule hasn’t been scientifically proven, btw).


James, 30, frequently has sex with his partner while using cocaine. He tells us that he finds himself feeling much more confident and relaxed, although he suspects that comes from the alcohol he consumes whenever he takes coke. “I get a minor increase in sensation on higher doses and lots of extra energy too,” he says. Again, Aldridge’s findings back this up. “People often say that coke helps them to get into more of a confident, maybe even slightly dominant mindset in relationships,” she says. “Perhaps they’re more likely to pursue their own pleasure than they might be otherwise.”

Since coke often inhibits the effects of alcohol, making you feel much more sober than you really are, Aldridge says it’s important to remember that your judgement is impaired. “You make these sexual decisions thinking you’re sober and find to make that decision, but you don’t know how you might feel the next day,” she says. “This isn’t always a bad thing and some people strategically use intoxication to get out of their comfort zones, but you could also misjudge your state and end up regretting something, which is something to be mindful of.”

On this, James says you might get some anxiety – and a very large hangover – the following days. Due to the related health issues, the carbon cost and global environmental impact, and, of course, the addictive qualities of cocaine, he suggests limiting your usage, always checking your sources and trying to stick with loving and supportive partners, lest the experience become “sleazy and unpleasant”. Oh, and if you can’t finish, he says, try going for a wee.


“I’ve probably had sex on acid around 20 times,” Leon*, 28, tells Dazed. “It makes all the sensations much more intense and euphoric and makes you feel a lot closer to the other person.” If sex could be like this every time, he says, that would be great. Aldridge’s research has found that people are more likely to be open and “exploratory” while having sex on psychedelics. “One person said that they wanted to do things because they felt interesting to do, or it felt important to them to do it at that moment, rather than because it necessarily felt sexy,” she says. 

As with most trips, it’s important to do this only with people you’re comfortable with, he says, as well as being in a safe space, making sure you’re able to consent and sorting out anything STD or birth control-related prior to taking the psychedelic. For Leon, the big risk is the emotional risk. “If you have sexual trauma I could see acid making it worse easily, and if you’re having a bad trip, sex isn’t the most fun time to have it,” he says.

On top of that, sex on psychedelics can be very intense, so be prepared to feel very connected to your partner. “People say not to have sex on psychedelics unless you really want to fall for the other person,” says Aldridge. “It's a very big experience to have, and they feel like, if you don’t have certainty within the relationship, it might be something to avoid.”


Of all the drugs Aldridge has studied, the only one that has been constantly attributed to better orgasms is weed. “In relation to both sex and masturbation, people say cannabis helps them to be more in their body rather than in their heads,” she says. “They also say it can put them in a better headspace, lessening anxiety.”

Louise*, 28, can vouch for this. “At the moment, I’d say about half the time I have sex with my current boyfriend I’m high,” she tells us. While she does say the physical sensations are slightly heightened when she’s stoned, the pleasure is less about better orgasms and more about how relaxed she feels. “The best thing about high sex for me is how uninhibited I feel,” she says. “I probably orgasm about the same amount as sober, but with weed I’m less focused on stuff like how my stomach looks or whether my rhythm is off. The physical sensations of sex are definitely slightly heightened, but it’s more about how relaxed it makes me.”

For Aldridge, there aren’t many physical risks when it comes to having sex after smoking weed, but it’s important to avoid smoking with tobacco and to be mindful of your dosage if you decide to take edibles, which can be much stronger than smoking.

Both Jess and Aldridge stress the importance of knowing yourself when it comes to having sex on weed, which often stems from making sure you’ve tried it in a non-sexual setting beforehand. “It’s about knowing how you’ve previously responded in particular contexts,” says Aldridge. “Have you become anxious or paranoid or felt bad in other ways when you’ve smoked before? What have been the circumstances? And how can you make sure you’re in a situation where you don’t feel that way, such as not being around strangers or being in your own home.”


It’s really important to be aware that having sex on drugs can pose risks, both when it comes to consent and sexually transmitted diseases. The Dutch study found that unprotected sex was more common among those who were using drugs than those who weren’t, for both vaginal and anal sex. If you’re going to have sex while on drugs, try to be prepared (always have a condom on you) and have any discussions regarding contraception and STDs beforehand. 

In 2019, researchers behind the Global Drugs Survey asked 123,800 people about their experiences with drugs and consent. Of those who answered, 19 per cent (14,174 respondents) reported that they had been taken advantage of sexually while intoxicated in their lifetime. Then there’s the fact that some people may be verbally consenting to something they wouldn’t consent to while sober. It’s vital that, when you’re engaging in sex on drugs, you make sure to lay out your boundaries beforehand and, as Aldridge notes, to make sure you’re aware of any ways you can de-escalate a situation if you’re no longer feeling comfortable.


Finally, we need to talk about worst-case scenarios, like medical emergencies and overdoses. “If your partner(s) is unconscious or having difficulty breathing, you should immediately put them in the recovery position,” explains Ivan Romano, Ivan Esquerra-Romano, a harm reduction expert from Drugs and Me. “Then, you should call for an ambulance.”

Don’t be afraid of telling healthcare professionals that you’ve been using drugs, as this will inform their treatment. “Medical professionals have a duty of confidentiality, so you shouldn’t get in trouble,” says Ivan. “However, if for any reason they consider you a threat to the public, including your partner, they may disclose information to the police. If you are in this situation, you’ll be nervous and might struggle to communicate clearly, so stick to providing information about the drug and its intake (such as dosing, frequency, method of administration) and avoid sharing information about how and when you made the plan and how you obtained the drugs.”

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