I was struggling with sex in my first queer relationship. Then we started taking mushrooms

<span>‘It was a shift moving to a different kind of sex.’</span><span>Illustration: Marta Parszeniew/The Guardian</span>
‘It was a shift moving to a different kind of sex.’Illustration: Marta Parszeniew/The Guardian

A couple of months ago, I had an experience I’ll describe as “when I saw God”. I was lying on my back and had my eyes closed and I could see a warm green light all around me. In that moment, I just knew it was God, and I knew God was a woman. I felt so loved, safe and accepted. All these intense emotions were occurring at once, as I was orgasming.

My partner and I like to take magic mushrooms together. Mostly, we’ll take a low dose if we’re at a party, or a club, or even if we are going to see something like a dance performance. They keep us up a little longer, so we don’t go home feeling exhausted and want to go straight to sleep. Often, we’ll go home and have sex, and it will be incredible. Before shrooms, I guess I never really had sex on drugs (apart from being blackout drunk). This is totally different from that; it heightens sensitivity so much.

As someone who previously dated men, the physicality of my sexual experience is really different now that I’m in a queer relationship. When we first started having sex, I didn’t have the same sensitivity that my partner does – it was a shift moving to a different kind of sex. It’s taken time to build that up, and I feel like having sex on mushrooms has been part of that process, allowing me to relax and enjoy it. I feel more present, and as someone with a history of sexual trauma, it takes me out of that stuff and helps to turn my brain off to it.

All these intense emotions were occurring at once

My first experience with mushrooms was not so positive. I got into drugs early growing up in a big city. When I was 14, I took 12 grams of dry mushrooms, overdosed, and ended up in the hospital in a coma. I was out for like a day. When I woke up in the children’s ward, I was so out of it I thought I’d had plastic surgery.

My parents were incredibly worried and angry. They couldn’t believe what had happened. That experience made me more conscious of the power drugs have. I didn’t take mushrooms for many years after that.

But six years later I was at a festival and I decided to try them again. Someone offered me magic mushrooms preserved in honey. It tasted sweet. I just took a little, and the experience was positive – I went to an open place. I was with older, more experienced, hippy people who made me feel safe.

Related: Smoking weed every day makes me less presentable and less productive. I love it

Now I take mushrooms fairly regularly, sometimes a couple of times a week. I don’t really take any other kinds of drugs, partly because I have a lot of friends who ended up in addiction, or friends whose parents have died of overdose. I hate how I feel after I do coke and other drugs; it brings about shame and makes me feel low.

I tend to buy these little mushroom chocolate dinosaurs from a website. They taste great and the dose is well-managed, at around $60 for a batch that lasts a while. After I take one, I feel the sensation start in my jaw, and then spread to the rest of my body; everything starts to feel heightened. I feel open, sensitive, fluid.

I don’t want to use them as a communication crutch, but mushrooms do make us more intimate in ways beyond sex, too. They allow us to have difficult conversations with compassion. Talking about money, or navigating meeting your needs versus their needs, it’s easier to feel things from their point of view. We’re good at listening to one another anyway, but I think on a 0.25g dose of mushrooms we’re even better at it.

Sometimes, I’ll ask myself: is this heightened connection synthetic or is this drug creating a false sense of intimacy? (That’s something I have experienced previously, on molly.) But overall I think the conversations, and the sex, I’ve had on mushrooms have been meaningful. Afterward, with my partner, we’ll reflect on our experiences while high and unpack them. We talk about why certain things came up and what it might mean – kind of like dream analysis. That’s called integration – where, after you have a trip, you process it and talk about it, thinking about the lessons you might learn, rather than just having it and moving on.

I feel like now, almost everyone I know does mushrooms at least from time to time. I think that’s a positive thing if it means people are choosing it rather than drugs like cocaine, because of both the harm caused by the cocaine trade and also the way it makes people behave: self-absorbed, angry, inward-facing. Mushrooms feel like more of a communal experience to me, and they’ve helped me fall harder in love.

As told to Amelia Abraham