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.
Drug(s): mushrooms, pills, alcohol and some spliff
Amount: unknown, a half, a shit ton and one toke
“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.
Probably shouldn’t have smoked that spliff.
*Names have been changed, obvs.