Have you ever engaged in a profound conversation with your partner? Did it bring tears to your eyes? Did it flood you with feelings of gratitude and connection?
If it did, chances are you were subject to the divine dance of neurons and emotions intertwining, triggering a surge of oxytocin and other bonding hormones that bring us closer together as human beings.
And what better time to cherish these moments than on Valentine’s Day?
You might be thinking a bottle of champagne or merlot is the best way to compliment a Valentine’s rendez-vous, but like all things in life, the norms are ever changing — courtesy of magic mushrooms.
Psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in certain mushrooms, has shown promise in strengthening emotional intimacy and connection among couples through several intriguing ways. Let’s delve into them and see what you and your special someone may have to look forward to if magic mushrooms are on your V-day agenda this year.
The Empathy Effect
An increase in empathy and emotional openness between couples can enhance emotional bonds and can even reinstill excitement into long-term relationships.
In thriving relationships, partners who demonstrate strong and consistent empathy are better able to provide emotional support, validation, and comfort to each other, leading to increased relationship satisfaction and you guessed it, better intimacy.
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2017 found that those who consumed psilocybin demonstrated higher levels of empathetic behavior, solidifying psilocybin’s unique ability to inspire these feelings and emotional shifts.
So when we think about the exchange of emotional intimacy and its value in thriving relationships, the integration of psilocybin in a couples setting poses an new and exciting concept – one that may help take those special alone nights to the next level.
By raising empathy and lowering our inhibitions, we can get down to the core of what emotional intimacy is all about: the sharing of innermost thoughts and feelings, done with another person in a way that is nurturing, safe, and understanding.
When absorbing the feelings and experiences of our loved ones without fear of judgment or defense-mechanisms, we can better become the emotional sponges we need to be in order to make our partners feel seen and heard.
Thanks to psilocybin’s interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly those in regions associated with sensory processing, we get to experience a variety of heightened sensory sensations.
Psilocybin’s ability to heighten sensory perception can impact a couple’s experience of intimacy in several ways, here’s how:
Enhanced Touch: Under the influence of psychedelics, something as simple as hand-holding or a gentle hug can feel like a profound expression of love as touch becomes more tactile and vibrant, deepening the sense of closeness and connection between partners.
Heightened Visual Perception: Visual perception is also altered during a psychedelic experience. In this, couples may find themselves captivated by the intricacies of each other’s features, including the details of their surroundings. This heightened visual awareness can enhance appreciation for each other’s physical presence and in turn, deepen the sense of appreciation and intimacy toward each other.
Shared Experience: Sharing is caring! Experiencing the world from a new, more vibrant lens as a couple can be an incredibly bonding experience. It’s a gift beyond the usual – a gift of seeing and feeling the world, and each other, on a deeper level. The intensity of sensory experiences can evoke powerful emotions, leading to moments of shared vulnerability, joy, and awe. This emotional depth can strengthen the bond between partners and create a profound sense of intimacy and connection.
In the context of couples therapy for example, psilocybin is believed to serve as a catalyst for emotional healing and relationship growth by facilitating deep introspection, communication, and connection.
This experience can be attributed to psilocybin’s knack for breaking down barriers that can, at times, prevent us from experiencing the emotional breakthroughs we need to progress onward. How, you ask?
Ego Dissolution: Psilocybin reduces the activity and connectivity within the Default Mode Network (DMN), leading to a temporary dissolution of the sense of self and ego boundaries. In this newfound state, the lines between ‘you’ and ‘I’ blur into a more cohesive ‘we’. It can enable a deeper sense of connection and togetherness with your significant other as you simply listen, absorb, and feel — a crucial element in harnessing strong emotional intimacy.
Emotional Openness: As the DMN is suppressed under the influence of psilocybin, individuals may experience a state of heightened emotional openness and lowered inhibitions. This can encourage the re-surfacing of buried emotions, memories, and psychological defenses that may have been hindering emotional intimacy and growth in the relationship.
The Importance of Intention & How to Facilitate
With any therapeutic use of psychedelics, the purpose behind why someone chooses to utilize them is conducive to the journey and the benefits we will reap from it. This intention can differ significantly from individual to individual, shaping the very nature and outcomes of the psychedelic experience.
If things like emotional bonding and connection building is something you and your partner are seeking through your mushroom experience, here are some ways to help add intention and keep the psychedelic eye on the emotional intimacy prize.
Reflect on Relationship Goals:
- Begin by reflecting individually and then together on what you hope to achieve through the psilocybin experience. Are you seeking a deeper emotional connection, better communication, or resolution of specific issues? Try clarifying your shared goals and desires with your partner prior to the experience! This puts the intention in the air and enhances the likelihood of these important conversations to occur.
Write down your intentions:
- Taking the time to jot down what your intentions are not only puts your intentions into the universe, but can also serve as a helpful reminder to go back to if you should get carried away. Focus on positive outcomes and emotions you wish to cultivate during the experience, maintaining clarity without adding too much detail that may prevent the outcomes from happening naturally.
Set the mood:
- Mushrooms love to act as a product of their environment, therefore if you are aiming for connective success, you’ll want to create a cozy and connective environment! Think comfy blankets, soft lighting, peaceful music, and anything else that allows both partners to feel safe, calm, and relaxed.
Apply no pressure:
- While intention setting can be extremely beneficial to a therapeutic psychedelic experience, it is important to understand that not every trip will go according to plan – and that’s okay! Although your intention may be primarily focused on emotional intimacy, if you and your partner end up sprawled on the floor in a fit of laughter because the carpet feels like a cloud, the odds are, it is precisely what you needed. Enjoy it!
Setting an intention is not defined by insisting something should happen, instead, it should be seen as a thought to return back to, gently reminding us of the direction we wish to journey towards during our shared exploration. Sometimes riding the wave is the best way to stay afloat.