Pre ICPR Events


Pre ICPR Events


Tommaso Barba, MSc

Imperial College London

Speaker Bio

PhD candidate at Imperial College's Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London. Tommaso’s research is focused on understanding the brain effects of short-acting psychedelics, like DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, and the potential role of psychedelic drugs for couples’ intimacy and sexual well-being. He authored the first research study investigating the long-term effects of psychedelics on sexual functioning and he is now carrying further research into the effects of psychedelics in romantic relationships.

ICPR 2024 Abstract

Sexuality and Psychedelics: From Counterculture to Modern Science

Psychedelic substances, historically associated with countercultural movements of
the 60s and 70s, have more recently captured the attention of modern science, particularly in
the context of sexuality. While past associations with "free love" ideologies and anecdotal
evidence hinted at a positive influence of psychedelics on sexual attitudes and behaviors,
recent research has delved deeper into these connections.

Comparing psilocybin-assisted therapy with SSRI treatment, findings indicate that while the
SSRI escitalopram leads to sexual dysfunction, psilocybin appears not to, and may even
promote sexual flourishing. This encompasses positive changes in attitudes toward sex,
one's body, and romantic partners. Further research has shown that psychedelics foster
enduring empathy, positive lifestyle attitudes, and openness to new experiences. Tommaso
Barba and colleagues examined how these effects translate into different facets of sexual
functioning, from pleasure to connection with partners. Their study found that healthy
individuals experienced moderate, lasting improvements in sexual functioning and
satisfaction following psychedelic use, while psilocybin treatment showed positive impacts
on depressed patients' sexual functioning, unlike escitalopram.

In this talk, Tommaso discusses these scientific findings and their implications for the
intersection of psychedelics and sexuality. He also addresses the underrepresentation of
LGBTQ communities in this research domain and outlines future research initiatives at
Imperial College to enhance inclusivity and study the connections between psychedelics and
romantic relationships.

© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands