Science Explains What Molly Does to Your Sex Life


Molly is the nickname for MDMA, or Ecstasy that hasn't been cut with other substances. It gives you pleasure, increased energy and heightened feelings of closeness. It'll make a conversation with a bartender feel meaningful and an ice cube on your skin feel amazing. 

Increased energy and heightened feelings of closeness may sound like a recipe for wild sex, but some users report it actually turns you into a cuddly, loving teddy bear — and not a ravenous sex machine.


"Sex on MDMA isn't a nonstop cumfest like its reputation likes to imply, it's more of a mental sexual stimulation rather than a physical one," Reddit user DiscoToast wrote in the subreddit r/MDMA. "It's waaaaay better if it's with somebody you truly care about."

So what's Molly really doing to your brain and your sex life? 

Matthias Liechti, head of the psychopharmacology research unit at the University of Basel in Switzerland, ran a study showing porn to people on different psychostimulants. Most of the time, the drugs would enhance dopamine levels and sexual arousal in viewers. But not the people on MDMA.

Liechti found that while MDMA enhances feelings of well-being and relaxation, alters perception and the sense of touch, it indirectly facilitated physical, though non-sexual, interactions.

"Some researchers ... noted that MDMA may produce a 'postorgasmic' state with increased levels of prolactin, relaxation and satisfaction rather than the preorgasmic state of sexual desire and arousal."

Ecstasy, which acts as both a stimulant and hallucinogen, triggers the release of various neurotransmitters. There's norepinephrine, which increases heart rate and blood pressure; dopamine, a key player in your brain's pleasure center; and serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to be responsible for mood balance. When the latter two transmitters combine and fire around your noggin, you feel awesome.

"This cocktail of neurotransmitters produces the so-called empathogenic effects of MDMA," Liechti said, referring to the strong state of empathy users report experiencing.

But like anything else that impacts serotonin levels, like the medication Prozac, Ecstasy can actually hamper sex drive — to the point that some people can't get an erection or take longer to lubricate.

However, even though serotonin might stifle the sex drive, it's been shown to release oxytocin, the "love hormone" responsible for solidifying emotional bonds. 

That's why your dosed-up friend keeps calling everyone beautiful and important in the grand portrait of humanity, or whatever.

"If you take an average dose of some quality stuff I wouldn't expect to be doing much of anything for the first few hours other than laying around cuddling, listening to music," Reddit user apvizion wrote.


Sex doesn't have to be totally out of the picture. Some users say they've turned those feelings of closeness and arousal into incredible, intimate sex.

DiscoToast described the sex as "AMAZING," adding that "it's not really even about the actual sex in a way. It's about being naked and intimate with your partner."

Another redditor, squeezyyy, wrote, "It's so much more passionate when it's with someone you really love."

In most of the erectile dysfunction cases described in the same thread, users said a drug like Viagra can help regain an erection. That was the case for squeezyyy's boyfriend. "He took about 1/3 of a Viagra which was enough and helped a lot," squeezyyy wrote. However, it's worth noting that Viagra and MDMA increase blood pressure.

MDMA is still a Schedule I drug that hasn't been the subject of much scientific research. The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 4% of adults ages 18-25 reported using MDMA in the past year — but new research suggests that use is on the rise.