Bed Art Piece by Jan Pieter Kaptein - Intended to Inspire Creativity and Playfulness in the Bedroom
Q&A With Sexual Freedom Philosopher and Psychonaut Nicolle Hodges
Tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming a sexual freedom philosopher!
I’ve been reading too many books by Alan Watts and listening to far too many Sam Harris podcasts about “the illusory self” to have an easy time answering this question. In this body, I happily identify as a woman in her thirties, the oldest sister, and the cool aunt. My former occupation was as a television personality for a major news network, and my current occupations are journalist, author, and sexual freedom philosopher. I am the founder of the men’s mental health movement, Men Who Take Baths, which includes an interview series and men's groups (we were recently featured in Men's Health!). I am the founder of the community Girls Who Say Fuck, and host evening events called "girls nights" where I help women remember their power through the art of dominance and submission (MDMA is involved), and daytime events called "the garden" intended to create an erotically-charged space for women to cultivate deeper friendships (magic mushrooms are involved). I am also an avid advocate for reframing the concept of “losing your virginity” to sexual debut, and have completed two successful awareness campaigns (branded t-shirts), and am working on an interview series with another journalist in the U.K. Most recently, I have become a student of psychology at York University in Toronto. This is the beginning of my journey towards becoming a psychedelic-assisted therapist. As for some specifics of being a “sexual freedom philosopher"...I am here to experience what it means to be human and translate those learnings into projects and spaces for others to remember how to stand in their power and be authentically themselves. I am a lover of wisdom, seeking enlightenment through self-discovery, with a passionate desire to live a life of grand adventure and understand how everything works in this cosmic churning. One of the greatest power outlets I have plugged into (and the one with the most taboo and shame) is sexual energy. I’ve set my focus on that, knowing it is one of the many strings I could pull to do the work that needs to get done in the short time that I’m here.
What is your personal experience with psilocybin and what was your experience exploring it sexually?
I microdose often. Psilocybin allows me to be in flow with whatever happens. Because I tend to be more relaxed and have a “isn’t-it-great-to-be-alive” attitude, I don’t get as obsessed with doing things and proving things, and I’m less distracted or scattered. I feel fulfilled by conversations and interactions, and am less inclined to rush from one thing to the other without ever really touching down. With that “I-am-worthy-of-joy” feeling that psilocybin can induce, energy moves through me with more ease. I feel more erotic (alive), and am more likely to run downstairs and give my partner a long, passionate kiss for no reason. While higher doses of psilocybin don’t necessarily make me feel horny, I find that it alleviates some of the stressors that prohibit calmness and fluidity, and keeps me in-tune with my body rather than becoming a hostage to my mind. To put it simply: I am more likely to say yes to my desires, whatever they might be.
If mixing psilocybin and sex together had a name what would it be called?
If two people were mixing sex and psychedelics for the first time, what are some of the things they should be aware of?
There is a crucial distinction between intention and expectation. An intention is like a prayer giving thanks for what one already has. An expectation is like a prayer asking for the things that one does not have. Someone setting an intention is dipping into the mysterious well of psychedelic wisdom and trusting that they will receive what is needed. Someone with an expectation sees no lesson when they pull up a shoe instead of a fish.
Two people taking the same psychedelic in the same set and setting can have highly divergent experiences. Since there is often a sense of time dilation with psychedelics, everything seems to slow down and you can take in a lot more detail within each moment. You might go into the trip wanting to be touched, but then the feeling of skin reminds you of a rubber chicken. This could throw you into a fit of laughter or resurrect a strange memory that doesn’t make you feel very sexy at all. Flowing with “whatever comes up” is where intention can save you, and expectation would fail you. If a “reset” is necessary, remember the mindset of joy, curiosity, and connection (or whatever your intention) that caused you to want to combine sex and psychedelics in the first place.
As tempting as it might be to engage in a long conversation, I would suggest trying to communicate in other ways. Gaze and touch are great places to start. I’m not saying don’t speak if something really needs to be said. Rather, my suggestion is to explore other forms of communication that can flourish in silence.
There are also many practical things one can do to “set the scene.” Arrange a cozy space with pillows and blankets, set out a snack platter, make sure water is accessible, have a playlist ready to go if you’re into a guided trip, and set out some lube and any toys you might want to experiment with. It’s just better to have everything within reach. Remember, “setting the scene” doesn’t guarantee a result. Instead, think of it as creating a comfortable space for any result.
How can psychedelics help foster more intimacy and connection in our relationships, if there are barriers?
Our capacity to give love is equal to our capacity to receive it. That capacity is endless. While we think it would be absurd to say, “sorry, I have received enough love in my life,” the defence against receiving love is quite common. The fear can range from discomfort in receiving a compliment to the inability to form an intimate partnership. We might walk through the world with our guard up and not even know it. Psychedelics can help open us to the experience of abundant love. You are worthy of receiving love and pouring it out into the world as an unlimited resource. When we change some of our limiting beliefs and evaluate certain ingrained behaviours, it’s possible to become the connected, loving, spiritual being that we were as children.
Psychedelics can help us lower our defences and play again. When we’re closed off, we miss so much! When we open up, we become aware of the amount of sensory information swirling around us at all times. It’s a bit like not noticing air until it becomes wind.
Psychedelics don’t manufacture sexuality, but they can force us out of our habit of shutting ourselves off from intimacy. We may find ourselves gawking in awe at our beloved as if seeing them for the first time. The overwhelming sensation of love might allow you to simultaneously notice their divine nature and flawed humanity with such ferocity that your heart spills over with such gratitude that not only do they exist, but they’re choosing to “do life” with you--and you with them.
A book that shifted the way I see challenges within a relationship is ‘Getting the Love You Want’ by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt. The authors, both psychologists, explain that we pick our intimate partners to compel us to heal old childhood wounds. Therefore, subconsciously, we choose someone who resembles the very people--a parent or caregivers--who were the source of most of our childhood challenges. We are looking for someone with the exact characteristics needed to activate our earliest memories so we can retrieve our lost selves -- the parts we neglected in order to feel safe.
When we look at our partner with compassion and see them in their childlike-state, clumsily attempting to navigate the world, we might choose to become their ally and help them on their journey to return to a joyful and connected state, as well as opening ourselves up to receiving their help as well.
How do psychedelics affect orgasms?
Orgasms can be psychedelic. I’m not sure how psychedelics directly affect orgasms, but I know that the transcendent and meditative nature of orgasms becomes more apparent. One of my favourite written accounts of sex while on psychedelics is ‘2C-B, DMT, You and Me…’ published in a MAPS bulletin called ‘Sex,Spirit, and Psychedelics.’ In it, the mononymous author, Seth, writes the following about making love with a woman named Sophia (aptly, the name of the goddess of wisdom) after ingesting the psychedelics mentioned in the post’s title:
The feelings of entering and loving Sophia took over. All of my sensations melted into the feeling of sliding through a welcoming vagina—or perhaps all my attention went to that one beautiful experience. I looked into Sophia’s eyes (she had a face again, although it was nothing like her usual face) and we smiled, beamed, into each other. I saw her hair as big thick brown dreadlocks, except cartoonish—sharp outline, all one color, no texture. Her face began to metamorphose rapidly. All of her faces looked beautiful, some of them totally alien, others wholly human. She cycled through faces with stunning speed. I recall wondering how many faces she could possibly have. Around this point, I entered “The Place.” Everything appeared very bright, colorful (lots of yellow), and excessively bubbly. Instead of pixels (the visual field of my previous psychedelic experiences), I saw large blocks of textureless monochrome colors. I felt like I had found the strangest place in the universe. Everything had become our sex. Everywhere I pointed my attention, whatever sense organ I tried to use, I could only find the physical sensation of making love. I actually asked with absolute awed confusion, “What is going on?” Then declared—after pausing for the whirlwind of words to settle into a communicable pattern—believing as I said it that no more appropriate time ever existed to say such a thing: “The universe will never say this again!”
He writes in detail about the experience of intercourse, only to realize, as he returned to a normal state of mind, that intercourse had ended long before the sensations ceased. His closing remark, I think, contributes to answering this question: “I will forever wonder how much of that infinite sex sensation was 'in my head,' and how much was the feeling of actual sex amplified.”
How can psychedelics help heal sexual trauma?
Psychedelics can help someone whose trauma has taught them to “leave” their body, that it is safe to come back home to it. In the case of moving through the trauma and integrating the learnings from the psychedelic experience, it might also be beneficial to pair it with therapy, an integration coach, a guided trip with a shaman or experienced trip-sitter, or attend a retreat where they can spend multiple days in communion with others.
As author Vicki Noble writes in her book Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World, “how a woman relates sexually in her life is deeply connected to her groundedness, her sense of self-esteem, and her ability to receive and transmit powers and energies of transformation.”
For many women, the threat of sexual assault is enough to naturally become the suppressor of her own power. Power is the ability to move energy. When a woman is treated as a sex object, she is trained to police herself and recoil to avoid attracting attention. She limits the circulation of the energy that gives her sovereignty over her own life and replenishes those with whom she comes in contact.
I would like to direct readers interested in exploring this question to check out the work of Dr. Molly Maloof (@drmolly.co on Instagram). Double Blind has also published a story written by journalist SophieSaint Thomas called ‘Using Psychedelics to Heal from Sexual Trauma,’ in which she provides relevant resources.
Since psychedelics and MDMA can induce euphoria, extreme openness and intimate feelings, what if those feelings go away after the experience? What are some of the important integration tips we should know about?
During an interview with Aldous Huxley about drugs and creativity, the journalist asked whether LSD would give more help to a poet (someone who is already considered creative [which, of course, we are all]). His response was: “The poet would certainly get an extraordinary view of life which he wouldn’t have had in any other way, and this might help him a great deal. But you see (and this is the most significant thing about the experience), during the experience you’re really not interested in doing anything practical--even writing lyric poetry. If you were having a love affair with a woman, would you be interested in writing about it? Of course not. And during the experience, you’re not particularly in words, because the experience transcends words, and is quite inexpressible in terms of words.”The interviewer asks: But is there much carryover from the experience?
Huxley goes on to say that there is always a complete memory of the experience, in that you recall something extraordinary having happened. To some extent, you can relive the experience, particularly the transformation of the outside world. “You could never hope to reproduce to the full extent the quite incredible intensity of color that you get under the influence of the drug,” he says. And this is where the opportunity is!
Once you experience the intensity of “color” while on MDMA, it changes how you see this world. It changes, in a sense, what you desire to bring into sex precisely because you know what’s possible. As I wrote for Double Blind in a piece called, ‘Sex on MDMA: Does it Ruin Sober Sex?’ what you discover through any mind-altering journey is only as useful as its integration. How willing are you to put energy, attention, and effort into cultivating those feelings in your sex life beyond the MDMA experience?
Psychedelics are like a bridge between worlds. Bridges have two functions; one is to get us from one place to another and back again; the other is to show us the distance that must be traveled between “here” and “there.” When we ingest a psychedelic substance, we travel or “trip” into love (the opposite of fear).
The psychedelic realm gifts us the knowledge of how things can be (connected) and helps us recognize and transform areas of disconnection when we come back. We see the distance and have all the tools to bridge the gap.
As long as you don’t “chase the feeling” of sex on MDMA by trying to recreate it, then you can enjoy the experience of creating fulfilling, mind-blowing, reality-shattering sex that doesn’t require psychedelics at all.
What hopes do you have for the future of sex, intimacy, and psychedelics?
Funding! My hope is that sex, and specifically, women’s pleasure will be taken seriously as a form of healing. I hope that connection is recognized as imperative for human survival, and sex is seen as another path to transcendence. I hope that MDMA and other psychedelics will be researched as a healing modality for sexual dysfunction, especially as a result of sexual trauma. I hope that women’s “anecdotes” of cervical orgasms inducing a psychedelic state (as I wrote about for Double Blind “Do Orgasms Cause the Release of DMT?” ) will be investigated as a legitimate meditative practice. I hope psychedelic substances and plant medicine open the door to passionate unity and sexual liberation. I hope that if the combination of sex and psychedelics catapult you into another realm, you remember that the feeling of connection originated from within you and is always available to you because it is you.
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