Gleaned: LSD, Man & Society (1967)

Early this morning I gleaned a dog-eared copy of LSD, Man & Society (along with a volume of Tristan Tzara’s Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries) a block from my apartment in a box of old books some neighbor discarded. It was published by Wesleyan University during the heady early days of trippy drug’s popular ascendancy, with essays culled from a symposium on LSD that had been held at the school. The book examines the potential legitimate medicinal uses of LSD and attempts to dispel popular myths about the drug.

I’ve heard of the consciousness-expanding properties of LSD, of course, but I wasn’t aware there was apparently a charlatan (Timothy Leary, of course) who falsely claimed that it was a potent sex drug. An excerpt about that angle from the book:

“Perhaps the most reprehensible and misleading statement regarding LSD is the claim that it is a potent aphrodisiac (Timothy Leary, 1966). This claim is made by the avowed proselytizers, and more than any other single statement is effective in recruiting new converts to the LSD cult. LSD proponents insist that sexual relations under the influence of LSD are a spectacular, unmatched experience. They, of course, neglect to mention that the overwhelming majority of those taking LSD have no interest in sex, preferring their solipsistic trance, and that others who have taken LSD and attempted intercourse have found it impossible to consummate. Furthermore, the person responsible for the statement, when specifically challeneged on this point in a public debate in the fall of 1966, said that the statement was misinterpreted and that he in fact meant that LSD induces love in its most ethereal sense, but has no beneficial effect on casual or promiscuous physical sexual behavior.”