The first time I did shrooms was with my R.A..
We sat in their room during an idyllic February break, measuring out the grams of psilocybe cubensis mushrooms on a tiny scale. Snow was still on the ground, but there was no need to wear a coat. It was hard to imagine that such a small amount of fungus could change our perception of the waking world.
I liked the taste of it, its earthy mouthfeel reminded me of eating preschool, sandbox dirt. Anticipation rose up in my stomach, preparing for the effects to start kicking in over the next half hour. It was a fear of the unknown because I had no grasp of what tripping would be like, no matter how much I researched firsthand accounts.
On the come up, we took a leisurely stroll around Beebe Lake. I kept assuring myself and my R.A. that I felt normal, until I crossed a small stone bridge. The length of it extended for ages, and I had to ask, “How long is this bridge?” That’s when I knew something was different.
According to my R.A., coming up on shrooms is like the good part of throwing up. That didn’t make much sense until my insides felt like euphoria rising in my throat: a constant blissful release right before any bile climbs its way up. Had the water in the gorge always moved like pulsating green Jell-O?
We couldn’t hike very far. I was stopping to stare awestruck at every moss covered rock as if it was my first time seeing one, so we popped a squat on a bench overlooking the lake. I wasn’t seeing pink elephants, but reality had this new Dr. Seuss quality to it. Its shapes were impossible geometries with the saturation turned up all the way. Distant headlights became rainbow prisms crossing the swaying Thurston Avenue bridge. Everything was alive, and somehow a mundane sight was the most rapturous thing I’d ever experienced.
That’s when I took a breath, but the breath kept going. It was a never ending inhale that allowed the entire landscape to enter my body. Tingling, my fingers curled around the cold bench as I went somewhere with no destination, my head thrown back in ecstasy. My thighs shook and my guts levitated like pausing at the top of a roller coaster so intense I couldn’t scream or moan. Forgotten, dormant parts of my body breathed with every fiber of sensory synesthesia. The universe was penetrating me, and I was having a full-body orgasm.
I had no idea someone could have sex with a concept: An orgasm from their brain coming to terms with nature and its own existence. Beebe Lake is nice, but it’s not usually that much of a turn-on for me.
My pants were soaking wet as I understood why the French call orgasm, “la petite mort,” meaning “the small death.” It made sense why dirty talk about cumming in Russian translates to, “I want to end”! It was an absorption into nothingness, in which all that was left of my ego was the sensation of absolute pleasure. For a moment, I ended. There was no more burden of selfhood left to suffer. When we say, “I’m coming,” where are we going? Why do we crave going back to that ephemeral place time and time again?
After that first earth-shattering climax, I couldn’t stop cumming intermittently for the next five hours. At first it was amusing, I had always fantasized about making myself nut with my mind. But it quickly turned into an annoyance. I would just be discussing my grocery list with my R.A., and on an inhale, I’d groan with my head thrown back in involuntary pleasure spasm. Even after the hallucinations had worn off, I was sitting at Five Guy’s trying to eat a cheeseburger when spontaneous ejaculation would take control of my body.
I later googled the phenomenon, but the search results only gave me articles about people having physical sex with each other on psychedelics, not having sex with nothing.
Dating became strange in the coming months. How was I supposed to have sex with a person after having sex with the universe? I really had no desire for them, as no human being could ever satisfy me like that again. I continued tripping on magic mushrooms for the next year, chasing la petite mort, but it never came like that first time. I suppose it was a once-in-a-lifetime nut, just what I needed at the time to release all of my pent-up sexual energy. I still chase the sensation of climax, but only as a reminder of ego death.
Anya Neeze is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent [email protected] Boink! runs during alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.