Ecstasy Facts and Myths

When it comes to the drug MDMA (known as ecstasy or molly), myths and false beliefs abound. Here are five common misconceptions—along with the truth about MDMA.

1

Myth: Ecstasy Will Make You a Better Lover

Male hand holding recreational drugs

Image Source / Getty Images

With its provocative name (and synonym, "the love drug"), you could be fooled into thinking the drug ecstasy is an aphrodisiac that will give you and your partner immediate sexual bliss.

Truth: The name ecstasy was chosen because the original name—empathy—was not considered marketable. Although some people may experience pleasurable sex after taking ecstasy, for many others, the experience of taking ecstasy is decidedly asexual.

Most users actually report feelings of innocence and childishness, rather than arousal, when taking ecstasy. And like other stimulants, ecstasy can interfere with the ability to become sexually aroused, both for men and women.

2

Myth: You Can't Have a Bad Trip on Ecstasy

Ecstasy has a reputation for being a "happy" drug. It is often mistakenly considered to be psychologically safe, compared to drugs such as LSD.

Truth: While most ecstasy users find the drug pleasant in effect, it can trigger feelings of anxiety and panic, which are heightened by the drug's stimulant effects. Since ecstasy has hallucinogenic properties, it can indeed trigger a bad trip.

3

Myth: You Can Trust Anyone Who Takes Ecstasy

The myth that people who take ecstasy are loving, trustworthy, and incapable of theft, abuse or violence is widespread on the rave scene and encapsulated in their mantra, Peace Love Unity Respect (PLUR).

Truth: Ecstasy does not cleanse the soul or transform people into angels. The drug scene has more than its fair share of sexual opportunists, drug dealers, and people who want to take advantage of vulnerable drug users. Don't believe for a second that having dilated pupils means someone is trustworthy.

4

Myth: Ecstasy Is the Most Effective Antidepressant

This myth states that the euphoric properties of MDMA, combined with the wonderful connection you'll feel toward other ecstasy users, will make feelings of depression a thing of the past.

Truth: While euphoria is a common effect of MDMA, depletion of the pleasure chemicals of the brain during the high often results in intense feelings of depression after the comedown from ecstasy. And like other psychoactive drugs, ecstasy can sometimes trigger substance-induced anxiety, depression, and psychosis.

Instead of self-medicating with ecstasy, see a doctor and get an effective treatment for depression.

5

Myth: Ecstasy Users Don't Touch Hard Drugs

This myth is based on the idea that some drugs, such as weed and ecstasy, are "soft"—implying they are harmless and non-addictive—while other drugs, such as meth and heroin, are "hard," and thus associated with addiction, disease, and overdose deaths. 

Truth: Some people come through a phase of ecstasy use without trying other drugs. But for many others, ecstasy is just one of several drugs they take, all of which carry risks. Some progress to using "harder" drugs, such as heroin.

Whether you like to admit it or not, being an ecstasy user opens you up to the possibilities of drug use in general, and access to a range of illicit substances. Ecstasy carries its own risks, and while addiction to ecstasy is not widely acknowledged, it can happen.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kuypers KPC, Dolder PC, Ramaekers JG, Liechti ME. Multifaceted empathy of healthy volunteers after single doses of MDMA: A pooled sample of placebo-controlled studies. J Psychopharmacol (Oxford). 2017;31(5):589-598. doi:10.1177/0269881117699617

  2. Kaplan K, Kurtz F, Serafini K. Substance-induced anxiety disorder after one dose of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine: A case report. J Med Case Rep. 2018;12(1):142. doi:10.1186/s13256-018-1670-7

  3. Turner JJ, Parrott AC, Goodwin J, et al. Psychiatric profiles of mothers who take Ecstasy/MDMA during pregnancy: Reduced depression 1 year after giving birth and quitting Ecstasy. J Psychopharmacol (Oxford). 2014;28(1):55-61. doi:10.1177/0269881113515061

  4. Klega AE, Keehbauch JT. Stimulant and designer drug use: Primary care management. Am Fam Physician. 2018;98(2):85-92.