I’ve mentioned a few times on my podcast (and maybe here in the blog too?) that LSD is really neat, and provides some extremely interesting experiences. However, in the interests of informed consent, I think it’s pretty important for people to be aware of potential downsides as well. If one hears nothing but the good parts about something that has both benefits and drawbacks, they can get very skewed expectations. They may go forward without proper precaution, or do something they wouldn’t have done if they were fully informed.
So, for anyone who hasn’t done LSD before, perhaps the most important downside that wasn’t widely discussed when I first tried it can be a very isolating experience.
One of the common effects of taking LSD is seeing patterns and spirals in everything. Literally. Clouds explode in every-more complex fractal spirals, anything textured becomes more and more textured, and as you look at these textures you’re drawn into deeper textures inside them, and deeper textures inside those, and so on. It’s really neat. There’s entire worlds inside of everything.
This applies to your own thoughts, too. You get lost in a thought, and spiral deeper into it, finding greater complexity and meaning, and spiral into those, finding more worlds within them, and so on, recursively. You lose sense of time and of your body, and start to feel a sort of interconnection with everything.
This all sounds great, right?
But importantly, all of this is completely internal. The deeper you go into yourself, the further away you are from everyone else. Nothing and no one can join you there. The deeper you spiral into an old fallen tree, the more distant the rest of the world is. If you go deep enough, eventually there is only you, spread across time and occupying no space, with no other minds able to reach you even in theory.
When you are one with everything, there is no other to be with. There is only you. Alone.
Don’t have sex on LSD your first (or second) time. Yes, sex on LSD is amazing. The sensations also become recursive, and you spiral into them until they are your full reality. I frequently have long periods where I can’t tell where my body ends and my partner’s body begins, it’s awesome.
BUT! 1 – it will take all the energy and focus off of anything else you would have done with your trip. There’s a lot to explore in LSD space, and while sex is great, it’s not the most interesting part. Spend at least one trip really wandering around space/time and getting lost in it before your first time trying sex. Like you’d eat the delicate flavors of some truffle-glazed sushi before blasting your tongue with pixie sticks, or something, right?
And 2 – it’s actually still kinda alone. You are with a partner, and you are doing stuff that you couldn’t do by yourself, but… you are still spiraling into sensations/thoughts/emotions that take you ever further from your physical surroundings, and that includes your partner.
After my first such sex-on-LSD session (also my partner’s first), as we were returning to reality she looked at me and said “Hey… Imagine meeting you here!” And it was hilarious, because it was true. We knew we were with each other, but we had both gone into our own worlds. When re-merging into this reality, it was kinda surprising to be reminded “Oh yeah, there was this other person here the whole time, s/he was the other side of this!” It felt actually startling to bump into someone you knew and loved so well right here, despite the illogic of that feeling.
Of course the sex was great, and afterwards we had a good time comparing notes and telling each other were we went and what we saw/did. But… you aren’t together *with* the other person the same way you are when you have sex while sober. The focus is shifted from them/us as persons, to spiraling/melding sensations.
So, in summary, my warning is that you will likely feel a deep isolation for at least some period of time, due to the recursive self-reflective nature of LSD.
My always-recommendation is that you never take LSD while alone, because this makes it too intense to bear. Have at least one other person around, every time, and preferably a few. Maybe plan to have things you can experience together at the same time, like cool visual art, and music.
And my first-trip recommendation is to swear off any sexual activity on your first trip (including kissing! Kissing is also amazing and you’ll get lost in it and somehow all your clothes will fall off when you aren’t looking).