Swingers Love Combining Ecstasy with Sex, Study Finds
According to a Dutch study, swingers far preferred ecstasy as a sexually-enhancing drug over other intoxicating substances.
Published on August 13, 2019

Having sex while high is a common practice among nearly half of all swingers. At least, that’s what a Dutch study recently claimed.

The study, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, surveyed 1,005 Dutch swingers in 2018, with an average age of 47 years. According to the researchers, 44 percent of swingers reported using drugs such as MDMA/ecstasy and cannabis to prolong sex and enhance sexual arousal. 

The most popular drugs among the swinging crowd were MDMA/ecstasy (92 percent of respondents), GHB (76 percent), and nitrous oxide a.k.a “laughing gas” (69 percent, naturally).

That MDMA/ecstasy was the favored swinging drug should come as no surprise. For years, MDMA users have reported vastly increased physical sensations from the drug, which was recently confirmed by scientists in a few studies. MDMA can also break down mental barriers and facilitate greater emotional openness, which likely makes it easier to engage in sex outside of marriage. 

“We found that half of swingers who used drugs considered it to be an unhealthy behavior, but only a minority indicated that they might become addicted or felt uncomfortable to have sex without drugs,” study co-author Ymke Evers told Newsweek. “The majority of swingers in our study used drugs to increase the perceived quality of sex by prolonging sex and increasing arousal and almost all considered it to be pleasurable.” 

Of those surveyed, only 7 percent were concerned about developing addictions from their drug use. 

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Demographically, drug use among swingers varied, too. 51 percent of women said they were more likely to get high during a swinging session than straight or bisexual men (39 percent and 44 percent, respectively). This is a reversal from the general population’s drug use trends, where men, on average, consume drugs more frequently than women. 

Swinging has gained popularity over the past decade as old social norms regarding sex and relationships have given way to alternative lifestyles. Likewise, chemsex, the practice of combining substance use with sexual activity, has also boomed. 

Researchers have, until now, focused almost exclusively on chemsex among gay and bisexual men; swinging culture has been largely neglected by the academic and medical communities. However, one study on British swingers and chemsex published in April confirmed some of the findings from the Dutch study, including favored drugs being MDMA, cocaine, cannabis, and alcohol. (The Dutch study did not include questions about alcohol.)

Of course, getting lit before and during sex carries risks. 

"We found that condomless sex was more common among swingers who used drugs than swingers who did not use drugs," Evers said. "This could contribute to an increased risk of acquiring and spreading sexually transmitted infections (STI) among swingers who use drugs."

Vaginal and anal sex without condoms occurred at a greater rate (46 and 22 percent, respectively) among drug-using swingers than swingers who didn’t use drugs (34 and 13 percent). 

In a separate 2018 study, researchers found that gay men who regularly engaged in chemsex were five times more likely to contract HIV than those who preferred more sober approaches to sex. The researchers chalked this up to riskier sexual behavior that eschewed condoms, as psychedelics, dissociatives, and other drug types often reduce inhibitions and skew judgements.

So, feel free to let loose and get juiced. Just make sure you’ve got some jimmy hats on-hand, too. 

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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