Psychedelic Pleasures: An Affective Understanding of the Joys of Tripping

Background: This paper considers the pleasures of psychedelic drugs and proposes a Deleuzian understanding of drugged pleasures as affects. In spite of a large body of work on psychedelics, not least on their therapeutic potentials, the literature is almost completely devoid of discussions of the recreational practices and pleasures of entheogenic drugs. Yet, most people do not use psychedelics because of their curative powers, but because they are fun and enjoyable ways to alter the experience of reality.

Methods: In the analytical part of the paper, I examine 100 trip reports from an internet forum in order to explore the pleasures of tripping.

Results: The analyses map out how drugs such as LSD and mushrooms – in combination with contextual factors such as other people, music and nature – give rise to a set of affective modifications of the drug user’s capacities to feel, sense and act.

Conclusion: In conclusion it is argued that taking seriously the large group of recreational users of hallucinogens is important not only because it broadens our understanding of how entheogenic drugs work in different bodies and settings, but also because it may enable a more productive and harm reductive transmission of knowledge between the scientific and recreational psychedelic communities.

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