Trip Epipha­nies: help, mush­rooms made me bisexual!

How one bad trip sent a gay man into a sexual kerfuffle.

Sex­u­al­i­ty is a spec­trum, and most of us find our­selves mov­ing along it from time to time. But not Nick. 

Nick has known he’s gay since he was sev­en. Maybe even younger. In fact, he’s pret­ty sure he’s nev­er even snogged a girl. Friends, sure, they’re all women. But when it comes to get­ting down and dirty, he’s strict­ly boys, boys, boys. 

Or so he thought. One ill-fat­ed trip set this gay man’s head spin­ning. After a life­time of hav­ing his sex­u­al com­pass steadi­ly point­ing North, a bunch of mush­rooms made Nick’s nee­dle slight­ly skew-whiff. 

Did hal­lu­cino­gens actu­al­ly make him bisex­u­al? We’re pret­ty sure it didn’t. But do we have any idea what it all means? Hell no – so we asked a psy­chol­o­gist* to get us clued up. 

Name: Nick

Drug(s): mush­rooms, pills, alco­hol and some spliff

Amount: unknown, a half, a shit ton and one toke

Trip

It was my 22nd birth­day and we were going to this rave out­side of Man­ches­ter. Me and a group of friends went and on the coach there and took mush­rooms. It was the first time I’d done them, so I just took a bunch hav­ing no idea of the impact. We got there and we were danc­ing for a bit, then we did some pills. 

The thing that real­ly took me over the edge was when my friend offered me a spliff. At the time I felt pret­ty invin­ci­ble, so I grabbed it and took a big toke. It felt like I was inhal­ing a vel­vet curtain. 

I was talk­ing to my flat­mate Lily and sud­den­ly start­ed falling for her. I was think­ing: Oh my god, I’m actu­al­ly in love with Lily!’ It was the gayest vision you could have about falling in love with a girl because there were My Lit­tle Ponies danc­ing around her head.

But after five min­utes of enjoy­ing it I had this reverse freak­out and it went real­ly dark and I was like: Oh god, I’m bisex­u­al, I’ve nev­er thought this. This is horrendous.

It com­plete­ly changed my per­spec­tive on things. And then I start­ed going down this weird thing where I sud­den­ly start­ed hav­ing visions of hav­ing sex with women. But because I had not even had sex with women, I just imag­ined weird posi­tions and it was quite graphic. 

As I was com­ing down, I thought that this would just be a trip and I’d wake up the next morn­ing and every­thing would go back to nor­mal. But at the pub the next day I start­ed think­ing the same thoughts and hav­ing these graph­ic visions of sex with women. 

At that time I lived with eight girls and all my best friends were girls. Every­time I’d be in an inti­mate space with them I’d start hav­ing a weird freak out about us kiss­ing or some­thing. It flipped all my friend­ships for a good few months. 

I kind of knew it was the trip that had tak­en me to this whole new sex­u­al­i­ty, so I basi­cal­ly spent a few months try­ing to unpick it. Know­ing that I was ful­ly gay made me real­ly hap­py and con­tent and safe in that sex­u­al­i­ty. This had opened up a whole world of pos­si­bil­i­ties which could be excit­ing if you’re gen­uine­ly bi-sex­u­al. But if you think you’vre weird­ly tricked your brain a bit through a load of drugs it’s actu­al­ly quite terrifying.

In the end I actu­al­ly moved abroad to Paris. It took a com­plete change of social set-up but after six months the feel­ings teetered out.”

Psychologist, speciality identity theory:

The ulti­mate goal accord­ing to iden­ti­ty the­o­ry is to devel­op a lifestyle that is con­sis­tent with your true self. Doing so nur­tures a sense of authen­tic­i­ty, which is inte­gral to happiness. 

From this one ques­tion aris­es: what does it actu­al­ly mean to be who you are? This is where iden­ti­ty for­ma­tion becomes impor­tant. Few peo­ple choose their iden­ti­ties, rather, they inter­nalise val­ues from their par­ents or soci­ety. A person’s sex­u­al­i­ty makes up a big part of their iden­ti­ty. How­ev­er, in this case, it is wide­ly accept­ed to be some­thing that a per­son does not choose. 

Humans are social crea­tures and par­take in a net­work of organ­ised rela­tion­ships. For exam­ple, between their par­ents, teach­ers, friends and part­ners. With­in these rela­tion­ships, they devel­op roles and expec­ta­tions based off their formed iden­ti­ties. If your friend was liv­ing with a group of eight girls at the time and had devel­oped rela­tion­ships with an under­stand­ing that he was homo­sex­u­al, the sud­den change could cause anx­i­ety as to how it dis­rupts said expectations. 

Iden­ti­ty change is nor­mal, but it usu­al­ly hap­pens due to incre­men­tal small changes that occur over time. Your friend men­tions here that they knew it was prob­a­bly the drugs caus­ing this shift in iden­ti­ty, and as the ulti­mate goal is to nur­ture a lifestyle that is con­sis­tent with your true self, he would have strug­gled with this incohesiveness. 

I can under­stand the dis­tress caused by this expe­ri­ence, but with regards to why it actu­al­ly hap­pened, I wouldn’t be able to com­ment on that. 

Verdict

Prob­a­bly shouldn’t have smoked that spliff. 

*Names have been changed, obvs. 


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