HER: Being non-monogamous is all about living life outside the lines: trying things that might seem risky or ridiculous to other people. And being on vacation at a lifestyle resort only heightens that sense of adventure. What happens on vacation stays on vacation, as they say. So when our good friend Jack asked me if I wanted to try MDMA for the first time, the answer was obvious.
HIM: Obvious to you, maybe, but not to me. Growing up, my mom would tell me to beware of turning my back on my drink at the mall because someone could slip something into it and get me hooked on drugs for life. You know, the kind of parental admonition the average kid just laughs off? Not me. I totally bought it. At an age when everyone else was sampling any reality-enhancing substance they could get their hands on, I wouldn’t have tried a tab of acid if you promised me $10,000 cash and a judicial writ of impunity. Maybe because of my mom, or maybe not, I’m the kind of person who hates being out of control. I have struggled with existential anxiety in the past, so flirting with any flavour of mental chaos feels irresponsible. I said no to the MDMA offer.
HER: But it looked to me like you were actually considering doing it.
HIM: I was, for about ten seconds. I felt a kind of peer pressure, not from you or Jack, but from that ancient human desire to belong. I’m not judgmental about people who enjoy non-life-destroying drug experiences at all, it just took me a moment to remember who I am.
HER: I had always been curious about the effects MDMA could have on our sex life. Jack said it was the most pleasurable high he had ever experienced when he took some two days earlier. He was walking/talking proof that this batch was safe, and on top of that, he was a medical professional. I knew he’d be there on standby if I needed help. Add to all that the contained environment of the resort, and knowing that you would be sober and with me the whole time, and I thought: if not now, when?
HIM: I have to admit, that’s a pretty solid case.
HER: I felt as secure as I could feel. Unlike you, I am the kind of person who’s up for just about anything. How else are you going to know what you like?
HIM: That’s one of the ways we differ. I have a firm idea of what works for me based simply on how well I know myself. I don’t feel the need to test my theories. But you have this drive to push your boundaries, and somehow manage to do it in a safe way. I guess you could say you have a kind of controlled recklessness. I love that about you, that your character isn’t easy to define, that you combine many extremes in a single personality.
HER: Well, the fact that, at 43, I’m having my first experience with a drug stronger than weed would indicate I’m more “controlled” than “reckless”. Anyway, the discussion soon came down to how much to take. Jack said that, while he had taken 200mg 48 hours earlier, he recommended 120mg for me. His wife suggested starting with 60mg, waiting a couple hours, and then deciding whether to take the other 60mg once I started rolling. That would give me the option of stepping off the roller coaster earlier if things got unpleasant. But I felt like I wanted to embrace this experience in its entirety, so I popped the whole 120mg capsule and headed off to the bar to join our friends for fetish night.
HIM: Did you feel any sense of foreboding at all? Did you have a what-have-I-done moment?
HER: No. I knew it would take a while for me to feel anything, so I put it out of my mind and set about the serious business of having fun.
HIM: When did you first start to feel the effect of the drug?
HER: It feels like you’re interviewing me.
HIM: Absolutely! Careful people like me are extremely curious about the experiences we’re too frightened to have for ourselves. We love it when adventurers like you are willing to talk. So, tell me: what was your first inkling that your brain chemistry was changing?
HER: About an hour after taking it, I started to feel a little tipsy, as if I had a little too much wine. We were all standing around watching the Fetish Night show, with me in my full lingerie, stockings, and heels getup, when I realized wearing heels was not a good idea. So I went back to the room to change into flats. I got back just in time to join the group heading to the disco. By that time it was hitting me hard, in a frightening way. I was dizzy and nauseous. A friend with some molly experience of her own suggested dancing would be a good way to help me feel grounded and handle the discomfort.
HIM: I thought you rallied a bit when you started to move, but that didn’t last too long. You are normally a fantastic dancer who exudes an undeniable sensuous energy, so it was really obvious to me when you began to wilt. It was like a flame had been blown out inside of you. Your smile faded, you seemed to lose eye contact and your sense of rhythm fell apart. I held you close, and you put your face into my shoulder in a way that suggested you needed protection. I wasn’t scared, but I was paying very careful attention to your signals.
HER: Well, I was scared. Dancing was fun for about two minutes, then I started to feel dangerously out of control. I couldn’t speak or see clearly, it was hard to breathe, and I had a prickly heat under my skin that felt like fire. I needed water, so we went to sit at the bar. Our friends came with us and were very kind about asking what they could do. Beyond water, I couldn’t even access what I needed. I needed it to stop was the only thing I could think, but I couldn’t find the words. It was bad.
HIM: I took your collar off, because you said something about not breathing. I then suggested we go back to the room and lie down. You didn’t argue. In the room, you went through all of your bedtime routines.
HER: I found that kind of funny in the moment. I really thought I might be having a seriously bad reaction to this drug, but it was still important to brush my teeth and put my clothes away.
HIM: I think that kind of routine was probably stabilizing for you. We turned out the lights and tried to go to sleep.
HER: I hoped I could just sleep it off, but my mind was racing. It felt like my heart was pounding way too hard, and I had to concentrate on getting air into my lungs and not puking. That’s when I was the most scared. I lay there imagining you having to tell my kids that I died of a drug overdose at a Mexican swinger resort: I’d be a cautionary tale. What I think I now understand is that my awareness of my body was so hyper-sensitive that I was simply experiencing regular processes in foreign and frightening ways. I wasn’t really struggling to breathe, I was just aware of the process of breathing — something that’s normally unconscious — in a way that made it feel strange. My skin wasn’t actually on fire when I was dancing, I was just getting hot but freakishly aware of it. But in the moment, I thought I was going to die. So, to fight my rising panic, I asked you to talk to me.
HIM: You never ask for help, so I knew you really needed a distraction. I turned on the soft coloured lights we had brought with us to provide some soothing ambiance. I started to share my perspective on the evening, including the fact that, quite separate from your struggles, I had been feeling a bad case of ‘imposter syndrome’ on the dance floor. Just before you started to fade out, you had been grinding on Jack. Now, most men in that situation would have immediately done the same with his Jack’s wife Mandy, but that felt impossible to me. Grinding seems like the kind of thing that people who are way cooler than me do, and the idea of pretending to be a dancefloor Cassanova with Mandy seemed ludicrous. So I kind of froze, fearing that I might be insulting her, but incapable of doing the thing that would have come naturally to anyone else. Unfortunately, I feel like this semi-regularly. I actually got a little choked up telling you about it, partially from embarrassment, and partially because I had been more worried about you than I was conscious of.
HER: I think it was around then that things actually started to shift for the better. I felt so much tenderness for you as you talked about your insecurity. And, because I was still having trouble with words, I had to simply listen. This is different for me, since I’m usually quick to offer solutions or explanations. You talked on for a while, and your calm, gentle voice was soothing. I was still “rolling”, which is the term for the ups and downs the drug tends to give you. Some people experience the ups as euphoric. For me, they meant a return to the hot, heart-pounding panic. During one of these ups, I asked you to lie on top of me. I wanted to feel your weight and the coolness of your skin. It was strangely comforting, like a weighted blanket. I could feel your breath and your heartbeat, and it helped me to focus on calming my own.
HIM: Early in our relationship, we would have moments like this when I would hold you tight in bed and tremble with the intensity of my love for you. It wasn’t primarily about sex, but sex was the channel for an overwhelming current of love. I actually got hard from being so in love. I had that kind of feeling.
HER: I know you used to talk about that, and I thought it was cute, but I couldn’t really relate. Sex and love are different parts of my brain. But a strange thing started happening. Every time you squeezed me or kissed me, the wave of love would activate my clit. It was like every time my heart swelled with love for you, it physically translated to tingling sexual feelings. I stroked your back and was strangely aware of all your muscles under the skin. I kept commenting on how strong you were. Kissing you was the softest, most wonderful sensation. And, most overwhelmingly of all, I could not get enough of your scent. You smell sooo good. It was like I became consciously aware of your pheromones. So, this was it, that thing that everyone talks about! That amazing space where every touch, every smell, sets off fireworks in your senses.
HIM: Finally, an hour and a half into the high, it seemed like you had passed from the crisis phase and I relaxed. I let you out of my passionate grip and considered the possibilities. I was really turned on and you were in some fabulous place of heightened sensitivity. What could we do with that? Well, what couldn’t we do with that? I leaned over you and started licking your clit. You lightly stroked my ass and balls, in a way that I never wanted to end. It reminded me of a night when we were first together, when your fingertips taught me that there were purely sexual experiences that were better than orgasm. We sampled from every dish at the buffet. I spanked you from every angle imaginable, and you seemed to enjoy each smack more than the last.
HER: Yes! I felt spanking as a tingling sensation rather than a sting. It was like I couldn’t experience pain. And then I bent you over and teased your ass with the vibrator until your hips implored me to sink it in. Amazingly, I felt like that silicone cock was plugged into my own nervous system. Suddenly I knew exactly what it was like to have a cock. (Ladies, it’s everything it’s cracked up to be!) And, because of my heightened empathy, I felt like I could simultaneously feel your sensations as I slipped the dildo in your ass. It was like being in your body.
HIM: When it seemed like there was nothing left in the Kama Sutra to try, we finally got down to fucking.
HER: It was unbelievable! I was so wet, and it seemed like my pussy had been turned into an exquisitely sensitive instrument. I swear I could feel every vein in your cock as it slid into me. And when you came? I could literally feel your cum spurting inside me. I had never experienced anything like it before. I didn’t even know our nerves were capable of that kind of sensitivity. I was finally, belatedly, feeling the total MDMA experience.
HIM: Unfortunately, the “total MDMA experience” also includes the inability to come. While I had a massive orgasm from all that build up, you began to sense that it wasn’t going to happen for you that night.
HER: I had been warned that you can’t expect all those other-worldly feelings to lead to orgasm. But that was fine with me. I had experienced some things I hadn’t imagined were even possible. But I felt badly about Jack. He didn’t know things had gotten better. He told me later that he had to go back to his room shortly after we left the disco because he felt so awful for ruining my night. But he had nothing to feel guilty about. I feel like I crossed a threshold into a new world of sexual possibilities, and it wasn’t just about that night. Now that I have seen what my senses are capable of, I’m actively trying to take that new capacity for pleasure and access it without the drug in my system. One of the things I’ve held onto is how much I love your smell. I had never thought of it before, but now I can’t get enough.
HIM: So, the big question is would you try it again?
HER: Interestingly, when I shared a little bit about my experience on Twitter, I was flooded with advice from people about nutrition, dosage, pacing, setting, etc. It seemed like a lot of people felt invested in me having a better experience of MDMA, which they all firmly believe is out there. So while I have a list of things I could do differently, I’m going to take a while to decide if there will be a next time.
HIM: Well, I actually felt a little guilty, the accidental beneficiary of your experiment. While you had to put up with a very unpleasant 90 minutes at the beginning of your ride, I got nothing but good times out of the whole experience. It turns out that drugs work spectacularly well for me … as long as other people are taking them.
Liam & Kate are a married couple, very much in love, writing honestly and insightfully about their adventures in the world of non-monogamy.