Some couples take a break and travel the world to relax and reconnect. Others prefer a different type of trip.
Narcotic drugs are gaining more and more attention as a treatment method for mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorders. This has also led to a larger debate about whether hallucinogens such as magic mushrooms or LSD can also help couples therapy. After all, this material guarantees the disappearance of inhibitions and the perception of reality differently.
Some couples have tried using psychedelics, either to connect more deeply, to deal with underlying issues, or to share a joyful experience. Although substances are banned in most countries, a growing number of relationship counselors advocate the use of the substance in their conversations: asking couples to take low doses in controlled environments, answering questions about their hopes and fantasies during the trip, and then getting advice based on on it.
“Psilocybin has incredible potential in a treatment like this because it breaks all your walls, filters, and changes how you feel about a relationship,” Kripi Malviya, psychologist and founder of TATVA Addiction and Rehabilitation Center, tells VICE.
“Medications combined with treatment help break out of specific brain patterns. When a couple experiences this together, it is possible to develop a more intimate relationship,” Malvia says. She cites Alexander and Anne Shulgin as examples. The couple tested psychotropic substances and then in the book PiHKAL: A chemical love story He wrote about how this affected their relationship.
But despite all the promising speculation, there are still some legal hurdles to overcome before the narcotic is actually used in treatment. As a result, many couples specifically use substances to take their relationship to the next level. We talked to some of them about their experiences. We have changed people’s names to protect their identities.
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“Once during the flight I laughed so hard that I peed my pants. But because we were so comfortable, it didn’t matter at all.”
My husband and I have been a couple for 18 years now. When we were together for about two years, he told me he had tried LSD with some friends and had an incredibly exhilarating experience, which he also wanted to share with me. I was curious. So we booked a house with a balcony on the beach for the weekend.
On our first trip, we took half a piece of cardboard at 4 am on the beach. I don’t remember the exact dosage, it’s been a long time. Then we slept on a hammock and woke up a few hours later, our journey had begun. I didn’t know what to expect, but the first time was beautiful, intense and exhilarating. I still remember how we lost each other laughing together.
We’ve done this at least 30 times now. And with each trip it gets tougher. I feel completely free to do this with my husband because we feel like we are in a non-judgmental space and where we can be more intimate than anywhere else. Sex is also absolutely incredible. I once laughed so hard during a flight that I peed my pants. But because we felt so comfortable, it didn’t matter at all.
When we travel together, we feel this overwhelming sense of gratitude. And the more times we took dope together, the easier it became for us to talk about our deepest and darkest fantasies. For example, my husband first told me about his obsession with dominance. And I told him about my fantasy that two penises would be penetrated at the same time. Both are topics we probably haven’t talked about at all.
It sure takes a lot of guts for a lot of people to dare do such a thing – especially since there’s always a fear of a bad trip with the drug. However, over time, my husband and I have found it easier to control our thoughts during flights. In the course of our relationship, we actually had some bad arguments, sometimes throwing things at each other. But when we talked about these issues after our travels together, we realized how grateful we are to each other. Everything helped us slow down and think about the good and the bad – sometimes for up to eight hours. After our marriage, I had a hard time adjusting to his family’s expectations. But when we discussed this during the trip, we were able to communicate precisely about how to best deal with each other and clarify the situation.
– Neha, 37, graphic designer
“We were able to watch our souls connect and really feel how the bursts of energy were bringing us closer together”
Before my fiancé and I started taking the drug together, I had tried psilocybin but had never tried LSD. When I saw how much fun he and a friend had while taking LSD, I wanted to give it a try too.
It was evening and my friend assured me that everything was perfect for my first real flight. The effect appeared surprisingly quickly. We took the LSD where we got it, thinking we had about an hour to get home before it got too unsafe to drive. We stopped at a friend’s house, smoked some weed and stayed a very long time. As we have progressed, LSD has hit hard.
We laughed and cried for the remaining ten minutes on our way home. But the rest of the trip was really a picture book: We ate our favorite snacks, listened to the album The dark side of the moon From Pink Floyd and stared at the ceiling, which suddenly appeared like popcorn. Then we watched a documentary about the Woodstock Festival. It was the best night of my life.
Journeys with a partner are always different because there is a deeper connection. LSD unleashes your pure emotions and allows you to feel everything on a deeper level. When you hold the face of the love of your life in your hands, this powerful feeling of togetherness is simply incomparable. We could watch our souls connect and really feel how the bursts of energy brought us closer together. This is not what happens when you take the drug alone or with friends.
It also made me realize that my partner and I are spiritual in nature. One of our travels led to a very sensual moment: He looked me in the eye and said that we are cosmic companions and that our love arose through both past existences. When we realized that we were destined to love each other over and over, it made our minor problems seem completely trivial. We’re still fighting, but it’s different now: There’s no longer any danger that either of us will end the relationship because of it.
A reasonable dose in a controlled environment can lead to complete acceptance and overwhelming cognition. Dope is a very powerful tool when it comes to our mind and our core. I was able to control my alcohol addiction thanks to LSD. I now know who I am. I believe in myself and in my relationship. I see the world in a more honest light now. LSD changed my life for the better.
Sarah, 28, marketing expert
“I feel completely safe using drugs around him. It gives me a sense of the safe space that my partner provides for me.”
While my partner and I haven’t used the drug together often, each time has been a life-changing experience. I usually feel very calm on my travels because my mouth can’t keep up with the speed of my thoughts. Everything is so intense and so beautiful, my feelings are at their peak. But even if I don’t utter a word, I have a feeling my partner understands me. Perhaps this is because he is going through the same thing in his own way. I think we remind each other on trips that our daily quarrels are, in general, of no importance at all.
I feel completely safe when using drugs around him. This way I know what kind of safe space my partner is for me. Sometimes I forget it in the chaos of everyday life and normality. That’s how I see the big picture – why I chose him and how we built our lives together. The awareness and heightened feelings remind me of what it was like to fall in love with him, at that point where everything is so beautiful and exciting. Mixing love and drugs has strengthened our relationship and led to the most intense shared experiences and honest and deep conversations.
When it comes to trips, we have to be wary of a few things. Setup is very important. We make sure we are always outside in nature, but we can also move inside a room – eg to lie down or be intimate. We also make sure that we don’t interact with strangers or the police during the flight and that we get plenty of daylight. I’m more careful than my partner when it comes to drugs, so he always stays by my side in an emergency. There is no pressure to do anything, say anything, or go anywhere. But we always discuss it beforehand. I love having sex while tripping, but that doesn’t mean it always happens. We just see what happens and it’s spontaneous. This way no one feels under pressure.
– Damini, 34, author
“That night, for the first time, my girlfriend told me at length about her parents’ broken marriage, her hopes and dreams.”
My girlfriend and I were a couple for 2 years when we first took the drug together. We went camping in a nearby forest. Our journey started just before sunset. As we watched the sky turn a stunning shade of orange, we felt like this was just happening to us. Then we watched the stars all night, and every twinkle in the night sky felt like a room full of candles. Even though we had been together for two years, that night my girlfriend told me for the first time at length about her parents’ broken marriage, their hopes and dreams. I’ve never felt so close to her before.
She is my first love and after our trip I hope it will be my last too. I know we’re still too young to say such a thing. But it was a surreal and bonding experience as she held her in my arms during our trip.
Gary, 18, college student