[Transcript] – Recapture the Rapture: Biohacking Sex, Tantric Breathwork, Plant Medicines For Orgasmic Enhancement & M

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Transcripts

From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/biohacking-podcasts/biohacking-sex/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:02:19] Podcast Sponsors

[00:05:34] Guest Introduction

[00:07:48] Reason of Writing “Recapture the Rapture”

[00:11:34] The “Flow State”

[00:20:46] The Evolutionary Drivers

[00:24:30] The Hedonic Yoga Matrices of Becoming

[00:32:14] Podcast Sponsors

[00:35:10] How to Hack the Air We Breathe

[00:54:16] Biohacking Sex with Breathwork

[01:12:04] Biohacking Sex That Jamie Recommends

[01:26:22] Writing the Final Chapter of the Book

[01:30:50] Closing the Podcast

[01:32:39] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Jamie:  The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity, and you can trip yourself out. So, it's almost sort of like gas, brakes, and steering can all be controlled by varying the rate, volume, depth, and even content of our breathing. We are needed at full strength and we can't be at full strength if we're limping and crimped, and collapsed, and contracted around our trauma.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Well, well, well. Today's episode is interesting/probably not safe for work because we talk about the existence of the practice of making babies and how to dramatically upgrade the pleasure that one might derive from said practice. As a matter of fact, after recording this pretty fun episode, actually, with my friend, Jamie Wheal, I got a hotel room a couple weekends later with my wife, and we proceeded to have an amazing seven or eight hours digging into just about everything that you hear described on this podcast from different nitric oxide, and breathwork, and tantric protocols, yes, including the use of whippets. It's been quite some time since I have purchased whipped cream canisters, balloons, and crackers on Amazon, and done little noz, so to speak, to some of the microdosed plant medicine protocols that we discuss to, yes, even nipple clamps. And I believe that's the first time I've ever said nipple clamps in a podcast introduction. We had a great time though. And honestly, I love to explore all sectors of human physiology and biology. We're all adults. I think we can talk about this stuff. I believe most people, last I checked, like to orgasm. Some people like to do it multiple times in one period of time. And you're going to learn all that stuff on today's show.

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Alright, let's go talk to Jamie.

Well, folks, it's Ben. A little while since I've had today's podcast guest on the show. He joined me years ago when he was talking about this book called “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.” And whenever I talk to this cat, I always ask myself, “Why haven't I had him on the podcasts more recently or more frequently?” Because he is a wealth of knowledge on both the psychological and the practical aspects when it comes to physiological tweaking of optimizing performance and flow states. He has just written a really great new book that I have seen bits and pieces in previews of, and that I'm waiting with bated breath to get my hands on the full copy of. It's called “Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex, and Death in a World That's Lost Its Mind.”

So, aside from having kind of a [BLEEP] title, I think it could be a pretty good book. It's actually great title, “Recapture the Rapture.” My guest, in case you didn't guess his name yet, is Jamie Wheal. And Jamie is a peak performance expert. This is what he does. He engineers people to achieve a flow state. And this book is really about engineering many so-called hedonic experiences including sex. And just so you guys know, the thing that first made me want to get Jamie on the podcast was hearing him talk about some of the more advanced ways that he hacks, the flow experience during sex. And so, I want to dive into that in today's show, which means if you're driving in a minivan with your five children, this might not be the best one to listen to right now, at least. But I also want to get into some of the other aspects of his book because he works with professional athletes who works with the NFL, the NBA, the MLB, Google, Goldman Sachs, Cisco, YPO, U.S. Naval War College, Special Operations Command. I mean, this guy is really in demand. So, we are extremely privileged to have him on the show.

Jamie, welcome, man.

Jamie:  Oh, thanks for having me, Ben.

Ben:  Yeah, for sure. So, this book, “Recapture the Rapture,” what exactly, if you were hanging out with somebody on an elevator for disproportionately long period of time, how would you describe this book?

Jamie:  Yeah. Well, I mean, the simplest is it's what turned out to be the required sequel to “Stealing Fire.” So, if “Stealing Fire” was obviously conceived about five years ago, written about three years ago, was saying, “Hey, it really feels like there's this groundswell of people tinkering with consciousness for all sorts of positive outcomes.” And then, of course, after that, we had Michael Pollan, we've had the psychedelic renaissance, Tim Ferriss, and everybody else. It's become very much more visible that those kinds of state seeking experiences are becoming more normalized. But then in the three years since the book has come out, it's very much seemed like a children's crusade, like a bunch of people are just breaking the sticks off bottle rockets and still hoping they'll go where we point them. So, this book “Recapture the Rapture” is basically trying to answer the question of what happens once we steal fire. How do we not burn down the house?

Ben:  Yeah. Well, what would be an example of that of somebody? How do you describe it, the analogy of the bottle rocket?

Jamie:  Oh, just breaking the sticks off them, and then still hoping that they can hit their target.

Ben:  What would be an example of that going on right now that you think is occurring, this so-called breaking the sticks off bottle rockets?

Jamie:  Well, I mean, it's an easy target. At this point, it's gone a little dormant in the last four, five months of quarantine, and this and that. But basically, the entire West Coast psychedelic, conchie, burning man, neotantra, cow ceremony, sound bath culture, which just thoroughly shat the bed and crawled up its own asshole in a peroxisome of Instagram narcissism. Versus, holy [BLEEP], we have been granted access to, or simply hijacked the keys to the kingdom, the kinds of initiatory experiences and, yeah, and non-ordinary states, revelatory states that used to be the domain of monks, martial artists, and mystics. And now, we just have people with no learning, no dedication, no commitment, sourcing from those places, and then promptly putting it in the ditch. And not just in the ditch where a Tibetan Lama would have cautioned you or a Zen lineage teacher would have said, “Hey, watch out for this.” Not even the nuanced and subtle ones, literally, like smack-dab back into the same ditch that their baby boomer parents put it in 40 years ago. Cultic tendencies, magical thinking, addictive obsessive behaviors, disconnection from practical realities.

Ben:  Yeah. Cavalier approach, often, in my opinion, bastardize use of plant medicine just because it is considered a noble and a laudable thing that people are using as an excuse in many cases to get high and say that they're finding themselves on the weekend in there, whatever, New York condo with a shaman. But yeah, I agree. It did at least [00:11:00] _____ out of control.

Jamie:  I had to laugh at one of our mutual friends who has a very well-known podcast of his own, and he was just casually describing a 30th birthday for his girlfriend down in Cabo where they were engaging in “party medicines.”

Ben:  Yeah.

Jamie:  Okay. I was like, “You mean ketamine and ecstasy?” There's not actually a category called party medicines. They're lost.

Ben:  Right. And neither should the two phrases or two words, party and medicine, necessarily go hand in hand that often. I'm always going to raise an eyebrow at that.

But when we talk about these plant medicines, obviously, in the book “Stealing Fire” and in my last interview with you, you did talk about, as you've just alluded to, how they can be used to hack the flow state to a certain extent as can many of the other things that you talked about in “Stealing Fire,” for example, such as tweaking respiration and breathwork, or for example, paying attention to things like vagal nerve tone, adventures, especially extreme adventures, et cetera. But when it comes to what the flow state has to do with sex and with partner connectivity, can you explain what the science behind that is, or why that's even important to think about?

Jamie:  Yeah, for sure. And I mean, if you'll indulge me for a sec, let's just do five minutes as set up as to why these things might matter, because in writing “Stealing Fire,” my initial thought was saying, “Hey, ecstasies like peak states, no matter how we get there, could be meditation, breathwork, psychedelics, sexuality, music, extremes, extreme endurance, sports, you name it. They take us literally ecstasies outside of ourselves, outside of our waking conscious, ego-based identity. And that when we do that, that's generally supremely enjoyable, but often quite profound, and productive, and helpful.

And what I realized is that as I was writing that book, it was nominally about ecstasies, but every time I would cite an example, I would always be pointing to, “Hey, those peak states actually help us heal, and those peak states actually help us connect and collaborate with each other.” And so, then I realized there wasn't simply just an advocacy that we should go to the mountaintop, it was actually much more like a full triangle, full pyramid, and that while ecstasies is at the top of the pyramid, catharsis, deep healing, and communitas, like profound connection with other people are the basis of that pyramid, and it feels like that is the geometry of our life. If you put those three things into motion, they become a spinning flywheel and we're forever seeing the highest heights, remembering what we forgot, using that inspiration and information to come back down into our mortal fallible lives and bodies, fix where we're broken, and do it in relationship and connection to each other.

So, that really felt like that's the sort of flywheel of becoming like we're always cycling through one of those three places. And if we get to pursue it sincerely enough over a long enough period with enough dedication to doing our homework, to acting on the things we're shown, that ideally at some point, we become twice-born humans, we become homegrown humans. The Greeks would have called it Anthropos. The most obvious visual image is Leonardo's Vitruvian Man, someone balanced head and heart, balanced masculine, feminine, balanced left and right, and up and down, where we're integrated and we're poised to be at our full expression.

Ben:  Yeah, beautiful expression, and be fully present. I think that was a part of “Stealing Fire” that you talked about when you talked about the ecstasies, that sense of being, an individual, an “I” gets replaced with that feeling of being a collective “we.” And the communitas that you described is almost that ecstatic state of unity. But from what I understood from your previous book “Stealing Fire,” you only get that when you're also completely and fully 100% present. So we're talking about the combination of ecstasy being in a flow state in extreme presence, allowing for some type of a communitas relationship between, in this case, for example, two individuals who might be making love, for example.

Jamie:  Well, exactly. And you figure if there is a test case for, can we get along with another human? The first one is the dyad, the pair or the partnership, and specifically a romantic or sexual partnership. And because if we can't pull that one off, because evolution, affectively through the kitchen, sink at that one. Like whether we want to or not, whether we know how to or not, evolution has primed us to procreate. And when we do, there is a cascade of neurochemistry that creates pair bonding. We literally learn to make love, not the actual active coupling, but literally active synthesizing the neurophysiological profile of affection, an attraction, and connection.

So, it does feel, I mean, A, it's a good test case. Like if we can't figure out how to love the ones we're with, we're pretty much [BLEEP] as far as trying to figure out world peace. And there's also this notion of all the evolutionary imprinting. Just to finish the tee up, the title “Recapture the Rapture” is twofold. One is because there's Yeats, the poet, wrote that famous poem, “The Second Coming,” which was, by the way, the most Googled poem of 2016, like, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”

Ben:  Was it really [00:17:00] _____?

Jamie:  Oh, yeah. The Wall Street Journal did a semantic analysis and uncovered that. But there's another line in there that has haunted me for years, which was, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.” And if you look around our world these days, whether it's conspiracy theories to [BLEEP] not politicians, to whomever, the worst are filled with passionate intensity, and they have hijacked the mic of our collective future. So, my inquiry was really, “Well, huh? How do the best of us, the rest of us, recapture our rapture, our lowercase rapture, our healing, our inspiration, our connection, so that we can take back the wheel from the nuthatches that are actually driving us towards literally the fulfillment of rapture ideologies?”

And rapture ideologies is not just fundamentalist religious beliefs like ISIS or Christian Zionists who want a Middle Eastern War to kick off Armageddon. It's techno singularitarians. It's people who are saying, “We're going to upload our consciousness to computers,” or, “We're going to piss off to Mars.” It's any ideology that shows the structure of saying, “The world as it is is [BLEEP], but there's an inflection point coming and we can see it from here.” And when we get to that inflection point, me and mine, like my crew, my tribe, we come up roses on the other side of that inflection point, like things are demonstrably better for us over there. Therefore, number four, pin it and go off the cliff with no skid marks and never mind the collateral damage.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jamie:  And so, that's the state of the world right now. And right now, the worst, the most passionately intense worse are calling the shots. So, for us collectively, to recapture our lowercase rapture, our inspiration, our healing, and our connection, we have to have some form of technology that is open source, that is scalable, and that's anti-fragile. So, open-source, meaning, it's kind of like the WordPress of reality. Here's an engine that you can use to build your own, but there's different cultures, there's different customs, there's different communities and identities, like there is no singular one size fits all solution, and any attempt to do that no matter how well intention ends in fascism. So, let's not even go there. What's the psychospiritual equivalent of blockchain that's configurable? So, scalable, it has to be cheap or free. Otherwise, most people, the bottom several billion, will never have a chance to experience it. And it has to be anti-fragile, meaning that when things get worse, it gets better.

So, for me, that's kind of like, okay. Now, we're now into that situation like, how do you heal the world via tool- centered approach to it? Literally, like, what would IDEO, the design company, do? Not what would Jesus do. W-W-I-D, what would IDEO do? And I think in 2015, they came out with their human-centered design toolkit because they're like, “Hey, we design office chairs, and we design cool kitchen implements and snazzy clocks, and this and that.” But the reality is is the way we go about creatively thinking about designing stuff is probably helpful all around the world, for a Kenyan village, or an Indian city, or any of these, just humans trying to solve the human stuff.

So, if you figure that out, you're like, “Okay. If we wanted to be open source and scalable, then we should for sure, and we're trying to heal, inspire and connect, then we should act as close to evolutionary drivers as possible because basically, evolution has encoded us to do these certain things very, very strongly.” So, if you think about it, respiration is a strong one, right? I mean, even the idea that–

Ben:  It's something I feel compelled to do every now again.

Jamie:  Exactly. We feel compelled to do it. And for anybody that's played with any former breathwork, whether it's Wim Hof, or holotropic breathwork, or whatever, you realize your first crack at static apnea, how long can I hold my breath? What always happens? Involuntary breath movements.

Ben:  Right. Diaphragmatic contraction that you can either ignore.

Jamie:  Yeah. People think they're running out of oxygen, they're not, and there is a buildup of CO2. But you're like, “Holy [BLEEP].” So, the first time I feel compelled to breathe, I've actually got more or less like 40$ to 50% more gas in the tank. You're like, “That's interesting.” Kind of weird, but you're like, “Oh, evolution did it that way because if we cut it any closer, we would likely have snuffed it by accident more often than what's sustainable.” So, it built in this huge buffer, as well as very, very strong incentives to get it right. Don't forget to breathe.

Next in that list, sexuality. If we forget to procreate, then we cease to exist. So, literally, kitchen sink amount of incentive to ensure that–with the exception of things like the Kama Sutra, which has a few pages on how–or Japanese medieval pillow books, or the occasionally baldy medievals on it. Like, I mean, most of, for sure, all primates and all animals. And then, millions of years of hominid evolution, we figured out how to do that with no instruction manual. You're like, “Okay. There's there, there.” Now, so we've got respiration, sexuality, and then just a general category of embodiment, which just means how we tune in shape living in these skins of ours, in these meat suits, directly affects bodies and brains, shape, hearts, and minds.

So, there's all sorts of long levers there, and vagal tone, and others, endocannabinoid system, and other key big metronomes in our bodies are keys there. And then, you can think of amplifiers, like substances and music. And if you take a look at those, what we would normally call the Big 5, you're like, “Okay. Respiration, sexuality, embodiment, with the force multipliers of substances and music.” Literally, the building blocks of all, most transformative practices, and even underpin, most religious and cultural programming we've ever had, not always all at once, but in a mix and match toolkit.

Ben:  Yeah. And one of the things that you had sent over to me that I took a look at was almost like a matrices for connecting a lot of these components, specifically during the experience of sex to enhance–I mean, we already know that it's almost like this neurophysiological response to orgasm that puts one into a flow-like, trance-like state that often begins to occur due to the oxytocin and the vasopressin release and everything else even before an orgasm. But there are certain ways that we can actually enhance that flow state or increase the ability to enter that kind of trance-like state that we might only normally experience during, say, like an orgasmic threshold or post-orgasm in many cases.

And I found that absolutely intriguing when you started to show me and talk to me about some of these aspects of this so-called–what do you call it? The hedonic yoga matrices?

Jamie:  Of becoming, yeah. So, yeah. Now, we can connect the dots here, which is that if we have those five tools–because my assumption is that the psychedelic renaissance is doomed, basically, is that it's going to be commodified by venture capital and Big Pharma. There will be a regression to the mean that many of the most idealistic promises of those experiences won't turn out to be the case. And even if it did start to work, meaning, a whole lot of people powering up into goodness, truth, beauty, and taking courageous stance for human dignity, it would get shut down at the stroke of a pen. So, it's highly fragile. It's highly susceptible to both state and corporate capture. So, if we want something that's more versatile, we need to build not “The Anarchist Cookbook,” like that famous book, the most stolen book from libraries–

Ben:  Yeah. That I don't think you can get anymore.

Jamie:  Yeah, maybe not, but how to build bombs with the stuff under your kitchen sink. Instead, it's more like “The Alchemist Cookbook.” Like, what is a toolkit that anybody anywhere can use with minimally exotic materials or practices? They can actually get the job done of inspiration, healing, and connection. So, if you take a look at one of them, there's several threads into this investigation for me, but one of them was Rick Doblin, the founder of MAPS, and I were sharing a stage with Jason Silva, actually, in San Francisco last year. And we were just chatting in between sessions, and Rick was like, “Oh, yeah. Our most recent research is showing that the closest analog to the MDMA, PTSD therapy–so when they were taking veterans and they were taking survivors of childhood and domestic trauma and putting them under the influence of the compound MDMA, and then they were testing them, they were finding high amounts of oxytocin, prolactin, and vasopressin.”

And Rick said, “Yeah. And that the closest analog we found is the post-orgasmic state.” And you think about that for a second and you're like, “Wow, this is a 30-year, tens to hundreds of millions of dollar project trying to get a schedule one substance through FDA approval.” And it's going, it's further than it's ever been. It has profound impacts on the people who are fortunate enough to get to be a part of that sanction experience. But it's complicated, and it's fragile, and it's not accessible to everybody. And you're like, “Well, wait. So, there's that option, or how on Earth could we get as many people as possible to that exalted state known as post-orgasmic?” So, you're like, “Okay. So, that's interesting. That's really, really interesting.” And there's a book called “Love and Other Drugs” by I think a Yale and Oxford duo. And they've basically been making that case. They've been saying, “Hey, psychopharmacology and even psychosexual pharmacology, specifically, they spend time on MDMA, oxytocin, and a couple of other compounds, can literally be a profound and powerful adjunct to couple's therapy to closeness to all of those kinds of things.” And I don't know if you–do you know Nicole Prause? Have you come across that?

Ben:  No. It doesn't even sound familiar, actually. So, now make me feel bad about what I'm missing out on here.

Jamie:  Well, no, she's awesome and you should for sure have her on your show. She's a Kinsey Institute former professor there. She was at UCLA, and then she ended up peeling out and starting her own independent research think tank because she studies sexuality. And she was actually the one–you probably saw the headlines, I don't know when, five years ago when there were some–it's in that era of TED talks talking about like the addictive nature of pornography. And she and her lab had come out with actually a counter study saying, “Actually, it doesn't seem like sexual addiction is actually a thing.” And they've been actually measuring the physiology and measuring the responses, and she caught a ton of [BLEEP] for that one.

And then, there was another one she did where they literally 3D printed a bunch of dildos and had women select versus just like guessing or estimating from rulers on a page, what was the preferred penis size. But they actually–what do they call it? They said haptic preference, which basically meant rummaging around in a box of dicks and pick one you like the best. And what it turned out was that women tend to prefer penises that were slightly smaller for their longtime partner, slightly bigger for one night stands, that kind of thing. So, needless to say, she has been in–which was nominally correlated with higher testosterone, et cetera. So, that's the whole Lululemon Yoga chick sneaking off from her retreated as [00:29:27] _____.

So, needless to say, she steered into potentially controversial sexual subjects, but she's done it from the place of a clinician. And one of her most interesting studies, at least as far as what I was tracking, was she's been researching the use of women's orgasm as pharmaceutical prescription. So, she's reversed what Rick and MAPS have been doing, which is, can you simulate love via exogenous compounds? And can you actually instead make love via internal physiological response? And they're exploring. It's used for depression, for physical pain alleviation for all of these kinds of things. And she's like, “Okay. Wow, that's really neat.” I mean, there's a ton of taboos, there's a ton of titillation, and controversy around those things.

Ben:  Which is crazy. It's come full circle because female hysteria was once a medical diagnosis that I think included, among other things, sexual desire and female orgasm, and it was something associated with being absolutely bat-[BLEEP] crazy and having hysteria. And now, you're saying that the ability for females to be able to regularly orgasm could actually be something that could be diagnosed, or could be prescribed for psychological health?

Jamie:  Yeah, exactly. I think even Aristotle went so far as saying, “Woman's orgasm can prevent her from conceiving children.” So, yes, there's a long and storied fear of that right up to Cardi B and wet-ass pussy. But the point here is simply that, “Oh, wow, our natural physiological sexual responses can play a role in healing.” Neat. Here's the chemical profile. And if you can get to it via a true DIY methodology, like sexuality and orgasm, versus a highly controlled, rare, questionable purity, questionably neurotoxic compound like MDMA, which would you choose?

Ben:  Yeah.

Jamie:  And if in doubt, I would say always go with the endogenous versus the exogenous. If there's a way to tune or tweak our own systems, our own bodies and brains to create more of a substance formed on chemical, whatever it would be that is beneficial, helpful or desirable, that's almost always a safer bet than ingesting or absorbing something from the outside, because our body is mediating it, it's tuning it, it's dialing it optimally for us. It's like peptides versus steroids.

Ben:  Right, right. Exactly, exactly. That's a good analogy because peptides are simply acting a lot of times on the cell surface receptor to induce an endogenous release of, let's say something like growth hormone versus just injecting growth hormone. So, you're looking at more of an enhancement of the endogenous response.

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Laying all that down as kind of like a groundwork, a framing for this idea of enhancing sexual flow, or kind of like hacking into this sexual experience using some of these techniques that you outlined on the hedonic sex matrices. One of the things that you tackle first is nitric oxide. And by the way, for those of you who are listening in, I'll link to all this if you just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/recapture. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/recapture. I'll link to all the stuff that Jamie and I talk about including an image of this yoga matrices. But the first thing that you discuss is nitric oxide. For you, when it comes to using that on a practical level–I've talked before about using, let's say like beetroot, pumpkin seed, beet juice, watermelon, extra virgin olive oil, the old school hack I used to do when I was bodybuilding backstage, we'd have little red wine and dark chocolate for enhancing vasodilation.

When it comes to the nitric oxide component, what are some of your favorite tactics there?

Jamie:  Yeah. Well, I mean, and again, since we teed up respiration, just to give people the super high end, which is that oxygen gets all the love, but there's really oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. And it's that blend of atmospheric air that we are dealing with. Nitrogen is fundamentally inert, and so we're mostly just metabolizing oxygen and spitting out a little bit more CO2. But by playing with the blending and ratios of those, you can meaningfully shift consciousness, you can upregulate yourself if you're feeling flat or down or lethargic, you can downregulate yourself if you're feeling stressed or anxious, and you can trip yourself out. So, it's almost sort of like gas, brakes, and steering. It can all be controlled by varying the rate, volume, depth, and even content of our breathing.

And so, one of the things you can do is gas-assisted breathwork. And two of the most interesting ones is either radically depleting CO2 via hyperventilation, which creates alkalosis, alkaline blood, it creates the tingles, the tetani, all of the things that people have experienced if you've done anything resembling, holotropic or intensive hyperventilatory breathwork. That can then lead to shifts in states of consciousness including visionary state Stan Grof, who was at Johns Hopkins. He was one of the early LSD researchers, who we're actually partnering with on a new breathwork project at Hopkins. Famously substituted breathwork for LSD when LSD was scheduled and got as much or deeper experiences from people just doing that, just massively blowing off CO2 into a hypocapnic state.

Ben:  Oh, yeah. We'll do that a lot. I have a very weird family. My wife and I will do either Wim Hof or holotropic sometimes. And we actually had an hour-long session last week in which prior to us sitting, eye gazing, talking face to face, completing some journaling together, being in a space together, we did an hour of holotropic breathwork, just laid out flat in our back. We also do eye gazing with our boys and we have a 20- to 40-minute routine we do in the sauna where we'll do the breathwork, and it puts you into this state where you are indeed blowing off a lot of CO2, and then you feel as though you shift slowly into this deep parasympathetic state afterwards, and it's wonderful for connectivity, for eye gazing. And when it comes to nitric oxide, are you actually increasing nitric oxide production via like the holotropic, or the Wim Hof in addition to blown off the CO2?

Jamie:  Yeah. That's a great question. I don't know. I don't know that specific question. I do know that I am–what am I? I'm dumber than a bag of hammers and basically slow to impress. So, basically, if there's a way to do something, I always want to pin it to 11 to see what the [BLEEP] it actually is.

Ben:  Well, you produce nitric oxide in your nasal passages, in your sinuses. So, I would imagine if you are indeed taking the breath into your nose and out through your mouth, you would see a pretty big increase in nitric oxide. And then, the other thing is that we know that one of the best ways to get rid of something like sinusitis is humming, like breathing through the nose and then humming because your nose, I learned this when I interviewed James Nestor, who wrote this really good book called “Breath,” your nose is one of the few tissues that contains the same tissue in it as the clitoris and the penis. It can have an erection. And so, when you breathe in through your nose, you increase the air circulation, and the vibrations of that increase the production of nitric oxide in the nose, in the sinuses. You get this little miniature nose erection. So, if you are breathing in through your nose and then audibly like, “Oh, oh, oh,” theoretically, you're creating a lot of nitric oxide.

Jamie:  Yeah. I think that was like the 2007 study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, which was talking about there's actually a 15 times boost in nitric oxide with vibration of the nasal cavity, which actually leads to a fascinating [BLEEP] hypothetical, which I've written about, and I had to really tread carefully because you just don't want to get out over your skis on this kind of thing, but the idea of Aboriginal didgeridoo playing and the use of circular breathing. So, a huge amount of very, very specific, both cheek and nasal control to create a continuous vibratory drone through the didgeridoo instrument is almost certainly doing that thing. You're doing circular nose breathing for ages. You're creating an acoustic drone, which is also trance-inducing and you've got the vibratory wood right up against your skull, and cheekbones, and sinus cavity.

And so, the likelihood that the physiological mechanism of that is actually what was shifting musicians into dreamtime is really solid. And once you see that, you realize like the Tibetan “om mani padme hum.” There's the Kabbalistic [00:41:19] _____. There's a ton of basically psychomagical practices around the world that all involve some short vibratory loop or mantra. And most of them, again other vowel sounds, which are able to extend and vibrate. And even the Hail Mary in Catholicism is basically an 8 to 10 second, 8- to 10-hertz breath cord. “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” And if you just picture someone in the Middle Ages, or anybody, anywhere at any time, kneeling in a dark church with lit votive candles in front of one of the saints that you're venerating and not surprised that people could have visionary or state experiences because of that heightened both breath control mechanism, coupled with boosted nitric oxide production and then some form of psychological and cultural mediated state experience. I've seen a deity. I've been visited by a saint. I've had an insight from the ancestors, whatever it would be. It's endlessly fascinating to me. You're like, “Oh, [BLEEP].” This is like the cheat codes to neuroanthropology. We understand how we've always been doing this human thing together. It's fascinating.

Ben:  Right. So, are you saying that prior to sex as part of foreplay, what you could do as a couple is just sit face to face and do like three to five minutes of Wim Hof breathing through the nose with some kind of a hum, or a chance on the exhale to increase nitric oxide, dump a bunch of CO2, and accelerate the passage into that flow state during the lovemaking that would occur afterwards?

Jamie:  You continued dragging me back to the how-tos. And yes, we will 100% [00:43:08] _____. But I do feel there's both a sort of academic and an ethical responsibility to contextualize both. Here are the mechanisms of action so that people are actually empowered and have consent and choice, they understand what they're doing and how it works. And then, also, the human factor because without aggrandizing this too much, these are the cheat codes to the universe, and these have been the most closely kept secrets of adepts for thousands of years, usually shareable only by pain of death and virtually no one ever got to use them. So, the fact that we're geeking out on it, and it's like, “Oh, here, cause neuroscience, cause MRIs, cause oxytocin,” doesn't diminish the impact, the potency, et cetera. Like you can lose your [BLEEP] mind and you can wreck your life playing with these hacks. You're basically hotwiring the ecstatic circuitry of a primate nervous system. And the question is, for good or ill, is entirely dependent on how we hold stuff.

Ben:  Right.

Jamie:  So, to finish to finish the gases, we got three gases. We got oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide. Oxygen gets all the love, but the other two are actually really quite interesting. You can massively decrease carbon dioxide by hyperventilating what we've just been describing, but you can also super boost it and carbogen It's a gas blend where you actually run 70%–how does it work? Seventy percent CO2 with 30% oxygen. So, this is a little bit like scuba divers, who will substitute helium or hydrogen. They will substitute other gases for nitrogen so that when you're diving deep underwater, you don't get nitrogen narcosis. So, they'll swap out a different gas so that doesn't happen, you don't get intoxicated down low, and they'll often boost oxygen in their scuba tanks so that you can ascend more rapidly and you don't get the bends, right?

Ben:  Right.

Jamie:  We're just playing with that neck of the woods and scuba divers have been way down that road longer than we have. But you can play with carbogen, and what carbogen will do is the exact opposite. So, with 30% CO2, that's basically one and a half times–actually, sorry, with 70% CO2, that is massively more CO2 in your system than you would ever normally have. You've got 30% oxygen, which is one a half times atmosphere. So, actually, you've got more of the rich red blood cells than you would ever know what to do with. But at the same time, your internal alarm system is screaming, “Mayday, mayday, mayday, you're suffocating alive.”

Ben:  Yeah. But in my opinion, like buying carbon generators, those are like 700 bucks or so to actually purchase a CO2 generator that would allow you to inhale carbon dioxide to that extent. I would question if you might be able to attain something similar with breathwork, but I don't know.

Jamie:  Yeah. I mean, I didn't even know about carbogen until last year when Dr. Roger Walsh gave me his book and it was based–it's called “Higher Wisdom,” and it was an oral history of the first psychedelic renaissance 2.0. If you say renaissance, begs the question, but if you say indigenous use for thousands of years was 1.0. And then, the 1950s and '60s was 2.0 and we're now living into the 3.0. Going back and seeing what those researches in Manitoba, at UCLA, at Hopkins were doing in the late '50s to early '60s is mind-boggling. They were so ballsy and so creative. And I mean, like Stan Grof back in Hungary was shooting people with like 250 to 500 mikes of Sandoz LSD, putting strobe lights in their face, connecting them to EEGs and galvanic skin response and blasting people. The UCLA folks were using it for schizophrenic children ages 3 to 12. They were using it for oncology pain relief. In fact, the oncology center had such profound results with pain relief via the LSD-25 at the time that the director of the hospital basically buried the evidence, buried the papers because it was going to [BLEEP] their entire business model of pain management.

And so, in those stories, I just stumbled across these three different examples of the use of carbogen as a precursor to LSD therapy. And it was a Hungarian colleague, Meduna, of Stan Grof's, and he had been using it to prompt epileptic seizures because that was the era of electroconvulsive therapy and seizure therapy, like the idea of a cold reboot to the nervous system, then letting people power back up into some form of homeostatic equilibrium. Basically, it's like when your computer is glitching, and you just turn it off, and you turn it back on, and things work again. So, that's what he was using it for, and it turned out not to payout.

But then, the psychedelic therapist adopted it and they used it as a screen, a precursor to LSD therapy. So, they would put somebody under carbogen respiration and see if they lost their [BLEEP], basically. And if they really, really lost their [BLEEP], then they wouldn't get to go through for the LSD therapy. It was testing abreaction, or could they trigger a trauma. And the thing that caught my eye was that several patients reported that they had more profound insights and breakthroughs on the carbogen than they did on the subsequent LSD therapy. And you're like, “Wait a second, that's super interesting.” So, that's carbon dioxide and tweaking it high and low. We know about supersaturating oxygen. That's fairly straightforward.

The final one is nitrogen, and this gets to your question of nitric oxide. So, nitrogen itself is a not wildly interesting, but it's two of its derivatives, nitric oxide, which is the neurotransmitter in our brains, which crosses the blood-brain barrier, Herb Benson at Harvard called the bliss molecule. That's responsible for deregulating stress responses, inducing lots of pleasurable neurochemistry and interior experience. Sometimes he called it the spirit molecule. I know there's a movie about DMT of the same name, but Benson was there first. Then, there's also nitrous oxide. What people would normally think of as laughing gas.

Ben:  Right. Like a whippet.

Jamie:  Yeah. Both of those are metabolic derivatives of the nitrogen family. And interestingly, nitrous oxide also breaks down into nitric oxide once it's in the body. So, now, we're into breath. Now, we're into breath. The bottom line is any one of those five things, respiration, sexuality, embodiment, substances, and music are all royal roads. They all lead to a destination just by themselves. The idea here that we're talking about broadly is the notion of stacking or combinatory practice, which is that if you layer these things on each other, you can get further, faster, more easily. So, that's the jam. And so, basically, you can supersaturate nitric oxide. And Neo40 is something I'm sure you're aware of. It's a super beet concentrate lozenge.

Ben:  Yeah. You can buy it on Amazon. It's going to give you a similar effect of Viagra in terms of the nitric oxide production.

Jamie:  Yes. And then, obviously, all the ED drugs are there.

Ben:  Yeah. Anything with sildenafil in it.

Jamie:  Yeah. Their vasodilatory effects AKA the boner is actually coming from pumping nitric oxide. Interestingly, there's also been several studies showing that heightened nitric oxide has antiviral and antibacterial elements and can also be indicative, a good protectant from COVID.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jamie:  So, just interesting stuff and both health-giving. And what's the right word? Not enervating. I mean, engorging is the extreme version, but yes, fundamentally, those are vasodilatory preventative. And then, also, mood-enhancing and supporting.

Ben:  Yeah. And any pre-workout that has like arginine or citrulline in it or something like that. It's not going to be as effective as like Neo40 or sildenafil such as Viagra or Cialis, but in a pinch, that or beetroot powder or beet juice are also pretty effective in terms of vasodilation.

Jamie:  Exactly. So, if we played with carbogen as this gas hybrid, there's also this notion of nitroxygen, which would be nitrous oxide and oxygen in a 70, 30 blend. And what's interesting there is that anesthesiologist at MIT, I think this is back in 2015, but they've been continuing the research since, did some research on nitrous oxide and found something incredibly unusual. In fact, the lead on the paper said there is literally no other molecule that interacts with the human nervous system in this way. And they found that after breathing a 70, 30 gas blend of nitrous oxide that subjects EEGs went into for 3 to 12 minutes approximately. And then, after that, it normalized, but for 3 to 12 minutes went into double amplitude Delta wave neuroelectric activity.

And to put that in context in the same way that we could playfully say that carbon dioxide and nitrogen are the forgotten gases of breathwork, you can say that Delta waves are the redheaded stepchild of neuroelectric research. Everybody pays attention to beta waves because that's where we are most of the time, as what you and I are doing as we talk to each other and everyone listening. Alpha waves get a ton of love with the meditation and loving, kindness, and flow states Theta waves, or that hypnagogic drift off to sleep/super-deep meditation if you're disciplined enough to not often fall asleep when you get that relaxed.

Gamma waves are those spiky high-frequency bursts of Gestalt, understanding the classic eureka moments and others. A number of again, super disciplined meditators can spend surprising amounts of time there. But Delta is usually only found in deep and dreamless sleep. And most sleep researchers are really geeked on REM sleep. So, Delta just gets swept under the rug, but once you start–and had I not experienced it directly, I wouldn't have known to keep looking. I just would never have come across it. But what actually Delta ends up is in certain, really esoteric meditative traditions, like Dzogchen and certain other ones, people are actually spending time there. And there's also some of the early men who stare at goats, mind hacking, brain hacking stuff that was taking place with the U.S. Special Forces was also harnessing data for remote viewing and telekinesis and other things. Now, obviously, what came of those studies through the fact knows, but there is a there there. And so, if you go into nitroxygen, that 70, 30 blend, and you find yourself do preparatory breathwork–now we can just–I'll give the breathwork protocol and then we can couple it to the sexual practice.

So, if you really wanted to do this, you would obviously make it as fun and enjoyable as possible. Set up a space, ideally a bed or a padded floor, or something where you are recumbent and no sharp objects, and it's comfortable. Set up some form of aesthetic focal points, dim lighting, whether that's candles or other forms of low intensity, high-quality light. Set up some forms of almost Pythagorean geometric alter/[00:54:48] _____/focal point, whatever it matters for you. Don't overbuild it. I think most people alters these days or usually just like grab bags or [BLEEP] they found on the beach or someone gave them at a festival. You don't need literally like a stone, a candle, a thing. It does what it needs to.

Now, this is basically a free dive protocol just brought to dry land. And actually, I was doing some free dive training with Kirk Krack, who was the world champion trainer. He trained David Blaine, and Tom Cruise, and Tiger Woods, and a bunch of other people, too. But he was giving us these breath protocols, and then just at the end of a session, he's like, “Oh, yeah.” And then, of course, if you do gas-assisted, you can hold your breath for 15 to 17 minutes. And I was like, “Wait, wait, what? Gas-assisted [BLEEP] breathwork? Are you kidding me?” Like that was a light bulb. So, you do the free dive prep, which is basically you do vagal breathing, so that idea of super slow exhales, like 10 second exhales, 2 second holds, 4 second inhales. And the intention there is at least that you're supposed to be slowing your heart rate down [00:56:00] _____.

Ben:  Right, because your exhales are longer than your inhales.

Jamie:  Yeah. And that signaling to your nervous system and your sympathetic response, like, “Hey, nothing to see here. Chill out.” And then, engage in 50 hyperventilations, like truly trying to blow out birthday candles. And the intention of that is to radically lower your CO2, which should extend the amount of time you can hold your breath without having that CO2 buildup too far, and then give you that insistent urge to breathe. And then, if you really want to go, depending on how you do this, either do the 70, 30 nitroxygen blend, or if you don't have the capacity with a splitter and medical oversight, whatever. And again, huge caveat mTORs here. Everyone is on their own recognizance. Don't do stupid [BLEEP]. But it would be you could inhale too long fulls of pure oxygen. So, you supersaturate your red blood cells.

So, now, you've got max red blood cells, decreased CO2. And basically, the capacity to hold your breath for a lot longer than you normally could. And then, down the middle of that, you shoot the torpedo of nitrous oxide and then hold that in your lungs for as long as you possibly can. And if you want to add a meditative, contemplative thought experiment, whatever, you can play the game of inhale that nitroxygen as if it's your first breath on this Earth, like literally as an infant to the world–fully taking it in like it is the stuff of life. Hold it for as long as you possibly [BLEEP] can until you literally think you're going to die. And exhale it as if it's your last breath on this Earth. And in the meantime, crank mother [BLEEP] tunes and have your special friend jerk you off.

Ben:  Wow, wow. And so, when you're talking about the nitroxygen, you could theoretically use something like a nitrous oxide canister for something like that, the old crack it, balloon, nitric oxide canister type of trick.

Jamie:  I mean, if you wanted to do the Amazon cheat, then it would be–

Ben:  The old school whippet approach.

Jamie:  It would be like boost oxygen canisters, although I've never seen it. I've never been really persuaded by those.

Ben:  Yeah. They saw them for athletes who are exercising at altitude, but it sounds to me like really big picture. What we're looking at here is you're trying to increase oxygen, you're trying to, at the same time, increase CO2, and increase nitric oxide all simultaneously.

Jamie:  Yeah, exactly. And basically, so that, because nothing interesting happens before the 45-second mark, and then the universe unfolds in front of you from 45 seconds to 2 minutes plus. And so, at that point, you realized, “Okay. So, now, we're in a supersaturated place. I'm in double amplitude Delta wave, neuroelectric activity, and all I've done so far–well, if we're following this descriptor, we have done preparatory breathwork, we've done gas blended static apnea, we've done aesthetic room and space, although you're not going to be in it, you're just going to be coming back to it, and music selection.” And music selection is essential, like, really without the tunes, you're just wandering around in the Cosmos with curated–

Ben:  It'd be like doing ketamine and just staring off into space in the silence. You wouldn't get much out of it.

Jamie:  It's the carrier wave to your epiphany.

Ben:  Mm-hmm, yeah.

Jamie:  And so, then you're like, “Okay. So, we have that stack done.” And you can optimize it and it's amazing. And you can also do anything resembling pre-post bodywork, fascia release, spinal mobility, pelvic tilt, those normal good things. And then, you're like, “Okay. So, now, what can we do with the erotic stimulation?” So, this brings us back to Nicole Prause and all of that work. And you're basically like, “Okay. So, are ecstatic nervous system circuitry maps one to one with our sexual arousal network?” We understand that sexuality has created just a majority of human suffering and trauma forever, and it's both tragic in that sense, but also potentially magic.

So, if we say, “Hey, evolution is amoral, doesn't give a [BLEEP] what we love or care about, it just simply wants a robust gene pool,” but we can reclaim our agency from that. We can literally untie our puppet strings and we can use all that incentive, all that encoding as actually rocket fuel for our own accelerated transformation, then you're in a very different place. Now, you're into the realm of alchemy and you're like, “Okay, neat. Now, how do I cultivate sexual arousal and time it with those breathwork launches?” And so, basically, you create a fundamentally what amounts to a partner yoga, and you can do it platonically. You can do it close on and you can do all of this stuff and it's awesome. And if you simply want to basically roughly double the impact, then have a special friend who you can engage in the intimate practices with as well.

And there's a few things that are especially helpful to play with. I mean, one is obviously genital stimulation, clitoris, head of penis. That's just sensation that gets looped through our nervous systems as we're doing our breath holds. Another is vagal tone. And the simplest ways to engage vagal tone is basically throat massage and traction, gargling and gagging, as well as basically rectal stimulation via, like from men, like an Aneros Prostate Massager, for a woman, a plug, anything along those lines. It engages the pelvic floor, which engages the pelvic nerve. It also stimulates the vagal nerve at its root. And for men, depending on the implement, it can actually trigger prostatic stimulation. For a woman, it can increase G spot pressure as well. So, you're like, “Okay. So, you have those things online.” And again, it doesn't need to be mucky, messy, embarrassing, just engage and implement. You can put your pants back on. It doesn't matter.

Ben:  By the way, not to put you in a spot where you sound like you're shamelessly plugging, but you, I think, had told me you were trying to put together almost like a little online store or link to be able to purchase some of the things that specifically would act on vagal nerve tone or endorphin and dopamine release in the sex toy department in this area. Have you put anything like that together?

Jamie:  Well, I mean, to be clear, we don't have a commercial interest in this at all. It was literally going to good vibrations, which is–

Ben:  Right. Good vibration just like the online sex website.

Jamie:  Yeah. It's a sex-positive women's cooperative based in San Francisco. And they just happen to have good, clean, healthy access to positive tools. So, you just figure, everyone, look around your kitchen, look at your granite countertops in your stainless-steel stove, and this and that, and you're like, “How often do we take out our microwave and look how many thousands of dollars we've spent on cooking?” And then, you look in your goodie drawer beside your bed and you look at the plastic [BLEEP] stuck in the bottom, and you're like, “How much do we spend on the tools we spend for [BLEEP]?”

So, I would, at a minimum, recommend that folks consider investing anywhere from a 500 to a couple of $1,000 on high quality, premium, beautiful tools for better psychosexual stimulation and arousal. So, that said, as you get close to orgasm, and this is true for women, I think women's pain threshold goes up four times on a normal orgasmic act, with something on board like nitrous oxide, it can go up eight times or higher. Something not dissimilar happens for men. So, there is a point where pain and pleasure can get hot wired close to arousal. So, you're like, “Okay. So, there's this, let's say, plus or minus 62nd, 92nd window where my brain cannot differentiate pain signal from pleasure signal. It's all coded as pleasure.” So, now, you're like, “Okay. Very interesting.” So, you take something simple. I mean, this is easy to make fun of, but also just whatever, it just works, which is something like nipple clamps because nipple clamps do a couple of things. You're basically like, “Oh, now we're just playing like build a buzz bingo.”

Ben:  Right. They're a little bit painful. Like if you and I were to be both wearing clamps right now, we'd notice.

Jamie:  Well, you'd notice. And of course, nipple stimulation boosts oxytocin. So, you're like, “Okay, neat.” And then, it also, especially when you take them off and all the blood rushes back, excruciating, and creates a flood of endorphins. So, if you now have high vagal nerve tone going on, and you have done your breathwork, and you're doing your gas assist, and you put on a banging [BLEEP] tune that absolutely drops into the funkiest, most ripping part of the tune right as you're peaking, and then your lover pops nipple clamps, engages in any form of sensation or contact play, basically, but the intensity can be increased. If you want, you can even reach behind your lover's neck, put your thumb and forefinger on their occipital lobes at the base of their skull, and you can provide throat traction and massage. And this is not choking. Anything that compromises airways, we just, say, categorically don't [BLEEP] with it, but you can get basically the combinations of traction and vagal nerve stimulation with loving throat massage stimulation and then positive vertical traction and massage at the occipital lobes. And you're like, “Oh my god, this is literally what we call the sexual yoga.”

Ben:  And you're doing that leading up to orgasm?

Jamie:  Yeah. And you can time it. And it says it's a slightly slippery target because fundamentally, nitroxygen and something like ketamine, both dissociative anesthetics in higher doses or amounts or durations. So, there is a sweet spot where your sensations are amplified and you're still feeling all the fields versus where you are zooted into a very non-ordinary imaginal state, but you're not necessarily as tuned into your body. So, physical orgasm can come or go. It doesn't necessarily have to all happen, but if it does happen at the same time, like if you just absolutely get cherries across the slot machine, you can end up, and I didn't know this was possible until I experienced it, but you can end up literally with orgasm's backed up in the queue that your nervous system hasn't yet had a chance to process.

So, it normally has three or four convulsions or whatever your typical physiological response can be. You can have like six or seven and they're just waiting until you get through the ones ahead of you. And you're like, “Oh, my god, I didn't even know my body could do that.” So, there's novelty, profundity, intimacy to be had by sharing these experiences with a dedicated partner and using, I mean, back to Rick Doblin and the PTSD work with MDMA, then using that supersaturated state, which we usually come backfilled with information and inspiration. And you're like, “Oh my god, I had no idea. I've never thought of that. I hadn't seen this that way. I didn't understand that about myself, or us, or the world, or you.” And then, staying with that and being in that incredibly tender space together, sort of almost like newborns. Just hold each other in the awe, and the mystery, and the wonder of it all, and using this again as a DIY, and this is “The Alchemist Cookbook,” as a method by which we can defrag our nervous systems, we can gain insight into our traumas, we can gain insight into our relationships, we can gain insight into our purpose and work in the world, and that we can use those experiences as again, back to the flywheel, of ecstasies, catharsis, communitas of the inspiration, the healing in the connection. We can use this as the flywheel that moves us forward through life.

And my experience is when you do that, it works. Let's say you set this practice up, and once a week, a nominal Sabbath practice. You unplug your Wi-Fi router and you block out three hours to spend with a partner, and you actually do this in a way that's intentional and grounded in your life. It functions a little bit like an electromagnet, like the idea of wrapped coil, like copper wire wrapped in a coil and spin it, and it creates magnetism. And it can be an incredibly strong magnet, and that's the polarity with your partner. Stop spinning it, stop doing that practice, and the polarity dissipates, and you're suddenly just going through life as roommates again. Do the practice and spin it up, and it gets stronger and stronger and stronger. And it's literally learning to make love. It's not mysterious and it's not an emotion. And if I'm not feeling it right now, I shouldn't get mad at you or tell stories or hold grievances or grudges. It's like we should go make more love and we know how. And then, whatever issues we have, we still have, but we now have juice, we now have energy to move through it. And it's a little bit like the rising tide lifts all boats. Half the time, if you engage in the psychosexual practice, if you do this yoga becoming like your grievances just aren't there anymore. And if all we've got is the blunt instrument of talking at each other or hiring a [BLEEP] therapist to trade pity stories and see who gets the advantage, that's it, dead end. Versus learning to literally work it out.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Now, you would of course, if you're listening in, you would want to take the time. This is more than just setting aside. Let's say you're like me, a parent with children, and my wife and I will often in the morning, calendar making love that night. But then we'll also, on a monthly basis, calendar more intensive retreat to, say, a hotel with a good suite that's relatively soundproofed, often quieter at the hotel where we can engage in practices that are a little bit more like this, like what we're describing. And so, a lot of this stuff does take intention. It takes planning, obviously, just the few things that Jamie and I have discussed thus far, like nitrous oxide, or breathwork, or nipple clamps, or anything else like that. You have to plan ahead and actually have all this stuff with you when you go.

And then, there are other things that we didn't really touch on too much, Jamie. For example, my wife and I will occasionally use like a testosterone cream or a nitric glycerin cream on the penis or the clitoris, which we found really enhances orgasm for both me and her. We've used intranasal oxytocin compound with ketamine, which is great for sex, but of course, ketamine can give you a little bit of droopy dicks. So, a lot of times, you got to throw a little bit of sildenafil, or any of these kinds of nitric oxide precursors into the mix. For you, as far as any type of gels, creams, topicals, lotions, or even plant medicines or synthetics, are there any that you think is part of these whole hedonic matrices for sex, any that you think are particularly big wins or that you think people would benefit from quite a bit when used responsibly?

Jamie:  Yeah. And so, now, if that was the PG-13, now we're into the NC-17, which is basically, I would just say, don't do anything that is against your moral, legal, ethical, cultural, or religious guidelines or dictates. So, 100% agency and full consent, as well as an understanding again that any one of these works by themselves. So, if the full stack is a lot, you're like, “Whoa, who does that? What kind of person throws that kind of a kitchen sink of this?” And really, the only things you can look around is like bachelor and bachelorette parties in Vegas and [01:12:49] _____ eyes wide shut blowouts, and you're like, “Oh, I'm not that type of person. We're not that type of a couple. Thank you, but no thank you.”

So, there is a question of bringing white light, bringing intention, and dignity, and mutual respect, and all of these things to terrain that, for all intents and purposes, has been abandoned to more extreme hedonist and sensation seekers. But now that said, I think Dan Savage, the sex columnist, I think he's at the Seattle Times or something, but he has that famous phrase of like for a romantic partner, you want someone who's the 3 Gs, like good, giving, and game. And ideally, that's the stuff of a good lifelong relationship. And I think something else you could say is you want a physician, a functional medical doctor on your team who is 3 Cs, which is curious, courageous, and connected. And if you have that, if you have the ability to work with someone who is willing to write you prescriptions and oversee you at your own recognizance, then you can explore things like carbogen and nitroxygen. You can get a prescription for sildafenil. Is that a right pronunciation?

Ben:  Sildenafil, yeah.

Jamie:  Yeah. For Cialis or Viagra. You can get prescriptions for oxytocin and ketamine if you're in a state where medical or recreational cannabinoids are allowed, then certainly those things. So, at the basic basics, you could say nitric oxide supplementation, ranging from the beets and the pumpkin seeds, all the way to Viagra. So, that's a precursor. If it works for you and works in your body and your mind, cannabinoids, optimizing the endocannabinoid system are well-known aphrodisiac and/or sensorial enhancers in the ancient Greek–

Ben:  I would imagine just like a good sativa, for example.

Jamie:  Yeah. I don't think you'd want to be in a full bore couch lock herojuana situation. You'd want to be engaged and invigorated in a positive way. And then, obviously, there's a difference between anything that you would inhale, whether that's vaporized or smoked versus what you would ingest via edibles. There's the whole liver-kidney thing and CB2 receptors that kick in, inedible. So, I would say that's kind of a higher level, that's a slightly more intensive body load and ride, but potentially meaningful for you. And then, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, as far as the gas-assisted breathwork. And that actually right there, cannabinoids plus the gas-assisted breathwork, plus the psychosexual and music is more than enough, more than enough.

Ben:  I was going to say you've given me plenty to talk with my wife about for our next little hotel getaway already. Absolutely.

Jamie:  Yeah. And then, if once a month, or once a quarter, or once a year, you would like to go deeper and you want to actually–because I mean, here's the other thing, is like once you figure this stuff out, you're like, “Oh, [BLEEP], there's nothing else is worth doing.” It's not worth drinking wine and ending up with a lazy hangover. It's not worth smoking weed in a casual way. It's barely worth tripping or engaging in psychedelics that don't involve some period of time where you're putting it all together. So, a result, you can go two ways on this. You can either go straight, decadent, hedonist, and you never pick yourself up off the floor, you've just hacked your own addictions. Or you become actually like White Light Girl Scout, Boy Scout, and you're just super clean, and all you do is bodywork and eat clean food and pure water and juices, and then you put them all together for these state experiences because you know exactly how effective they are.

So, yeah. So, now, let's add the next level on visionary or non-ordinary states to engage in this space. And there's a huge, huge caveat here, especially for women, but for everyone, which is trust is non-negotiable consent, clear boundaries, clear understandings because the value of these things is that you are deliberately and ideally, skillfully and gracefully looking to lose yourself. And what that means is the equivalent is your partner isn't your [BLEEP] buddy, they're literally like your rock climbing belayer. They're the person at the bottom of that cliff with your rope and your life in their hands. And there is a sacrosanct protocol that you never break no matter what, and that is that we are on this rope together until we untie and, say, off belay.

So, there's no wandering off in the middle of it, there's no breaking the container or your agreements as a couple. It's not on us or me to prescribe who gets to do this stuff, but it is fair to say that the notion of climber belayer is a non-negotiable. It's like how long you're in relationship with the person is your own, sovereign choices. We're all 21st-century grownups, but that you are engaged in impeccable agreements is essential. So, that said, yeah, oxytocin, ketamine, nasal spray can be super rad. If you have a physician that can connect you with that experience, and then if you want–MDMA is–it got rebranded as ecstasy in the '80s when it became more of a club drug, but really, it was called Adam, like literally, you're in the garden or empathy, which is actually far less sexy name. And again, serotonergic system tends to accompany a limp dick for many guys that has then prompted sextasy, which is often guys going clubbing in the bistro in Barcelona, other places with Viagra plus MDMA that is contraindicated and rough on the cardiac system. So, don't do those things, or if you do those things, know exactly what you're getting into.

So, MDMA can be a super sensual experience. You could even potentially offer that to a female partner, and then the male partner rides a slightly different cocktail so that you can be more responsive and they're sexually. Ann and Sasha Shulgin, who were the kind of fairy godfathers and godmothers of all things psychedelic, basically tested pretty much all psychedelics that they developed in their laboratory with each other as lovers, and 2C-B was their hands-down all-time favorite.

Ben:  Really?

Jamie:  Yeah. Hands-down. And to me, 2C-B actually lives up to the hype, the sort of urban legends of what MDMA was supposed to be sexually.

Ben:  Interesting. Okay. Yeah. That was the book “PiHKAL,” right?

Jamie:  Yeah. “PiHKAL” and “TIHKAL” are the two books.

Ben:  I have “PiHKAL.” I've made it like a quarter of the way through that book and still have yet to finish it. I keep starting it and doesn't stick.

Jamie:  Yeah. I mean, it's dense and it is what it is. But those guys were basically psychedelic tantricas. That's who they were and what they did. And then, that part of their story, because they were old and whitehead by the time most people became really familiar with them, no one could wrap their head around what they'd actually done for 20 to 30 years together, but they covered some ground. And then, you can go into the I-Max museum dosages of psilocybin and LSD. And yeah, I would say that's a decent–I mean, the obvious, the sort of hedonistic ones like Coke and methamphetamine, where if you read something and vice, you know about chemsex in the gay community, or something like that, it's often things along those lines. I would just say there's a contraindicated and not on that program, as far as increasing insight, healing, and connection. Those are often lizard brain, dopaminergic, just [BLEEP] mainlines. And obviously, any of the opioids are decidedly asexual and complicated for all the other health reasons as well, but it's not like you're missing anything.

Ben:  Right. You mentioned music a couple times. Are there any particular soundtracks that you really like or any Spotify list that you really like?

Jamie:  Yes, 100%. Basically, what we have is a playlist called Whomp, like W-H-O-M-P, and it's on YouTube. If you just do Jamie Wheal on Whomp, it's there, but I think unless you have YouTube red, which I don't know anybody on the planet that actually ever signed up for that thing, I think it gets [BLEEP] with commercials, but those are all the songs. And then, somebody in our community did actually transcribe it to a Spotify playlist. So, we'll put that in the link.

Ben:  Okay. Cool.

Jamie:  But basically, just heads up, you'll find–because of that double amplitude Delta wave thing and the coming unstuck in time–I mean, let's just actually describe the phenomenology, too, because that's very much–all we've been talking about is tactics. None of these tactics matter a damn, and none of them are worth the trouble, the effort, the complexity if it weren't for where they deliver you, and where it appears to deliver you. And again, I mean, I say this all provisionally. This is all just thought experiment and metaphor, but it appears to–it's like, you know that Vomit Comet, the big plane that goes in big roller coaster loops through the sky and then get like 15 seconds of zero-G?

Ben:  Yes. It's [01:22:21] _____, the Vomit Comet, yup.

Jamie:  And they pretend to be [01:22:25] _____. It's basically the psychological equivalent of the Vomit Comet, except that what you're doing to your partner–and you take turns because it can be quite a disembodied experience, you want to recumbent lying down safely sorted, all those kind of things, is the more you load up your partner's nervous system, and the higher the combined ecstatic orgasmic release with the breath-hold with everything, is the longer they spend in zero-G, basically floating through what you could just loosely call the information layer. And it appears to be a state of hyper cognition, extreme pattern recognition, and profound inspiration where you can think anything you want about anything you can think of with a 300 IQ for as long as you're there, and it is so gob smacking.

William James founded the entire field of optimal psychology and comparative religion at Harvard via his experiences with nitrous oxide. Joseph Priestley was one of the earlier discoverers of it. William Colt, the guy who came up with the Colt 45, actually raised the venture capital because his dad wouldn't fund him. He raised the venture capital, throwing 19th century Wild West nitrous parties. And Winston Churchill actually used it all the time to gain his insights. Now, the challenge with that experience is that most of those guys, Churchill and James in particular, stopped using it because they're like, “[BLEEP], man, I cannot remember what I see.” And Churchill actually used it because he got in a car accident in New York. He forgot to look the other way, crossing the street and got clipped by a taxi and ended up in the one hospital in New York that it was starting to use nitrous oxide as an anesthetic. And he's like, “What the [BLEEP] is this stuff?” But he goes, “I have a hard time telling which is more painful, basically, getting over my broken bones and aches, or having these profound insight slip through my fingers and elude me.”

And I thought about that a lot because I'm like, “Well, is it a dead end?” Because you have to be super careful of this neck of the woods, right? This is the left-hand path. This has always been the forbidden fruit, and there's a reason that it has ended badly for most people who go down this road. But I think that James, he quit because he couldn't always remember what he was seeing and he was concerned that he would earn the ridicule or the ostracization of his Harvard colleagues. And I think that there's several things. I mean, one is he was a Victorian disembodied intellectual. So, everything you share with your listeners, everything you embody as a person is extremely more attuned and embodied than those guys were. They were heads on sticks, right?

Ben:  Right.

Jamie:  So, we have a lot more of our nervous system in our physiology, integrated and able as a vessel to hold, store, and retrieve information better. The next is James gave us what James didn't have himself, which is a language and a vocabulary for non-ordinary states and the peak heights of human experience. So, now, we have vocabulary. And the final piece is is something as simple as our [BLEEP] phones, which is you can lean over blissed-out halfway back from heaven and mumble it into a voice recorder and capture it versus taking a quill pen and dipping it into ink trying to write–

Ben:  Yeah. God bless voice recorders I've used in the many a time in that state. Absolutely.

Jamie:  Exactly, exactly. So, we have better language and vocabulary, we have higher embodiment, we have better capture mechanisms.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Jamie:  And that allows you to literally bring back Quicksilver.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I like that phrase, “bring back Quicksilver.” We probably scratched the surface of everything that I want to talk you about, but you lay out a lot of this in the book, too, right, in “Recapture the Rapture?”

Jamie:  Dude, it's running so long. I'm literally writing the final chapter right now and I'm writing about what is essentially a postmodern update to a global Christed consciousness, open-source religion that expresses all of this in a mythopoetic form at the intersection of Kairos and Chronos. My sense is when we get lobbed outside of time in these states, there is the chance for us to become–like, it is a death-rebirth initiatory practice. And it's no longer metaphorical, right? You're literally like ketamine, nitrous oxide, all of these things, the Delta wave activity. They all have the vagal nerve tone coming out of the cranial nerves. They all actually deal with a deep brain stem reset. Like, that's half of the magic of what all these things do. And you're like, “Wait a second. So, now, we have a biological address, IP address, for what was always a metaphysical death-rebirth experience. And we can now connect the dots end to end from literally like our neocortexes connected to spinal columns, connected to erogenous zones. We're naked apes. Two, we're twice-born humans becoming Anthropos to take a stand.”

I mean, ideally, it's because it's no longer–this brings us back full circle to my critique of like West Coast psychedelic country culture. We were fixated on transcendence and fixated on avoiding doing the hard things, and fetishizing some hockey stick redemption where we're all off the hook for digging [BLEEP] ditches and taking stands. And I think to be a homegrown human, to be fully initiated as Anthropos is to actually gain–like McKenna said, don't give into astonishment. Spend enough time in the numinous, in those magical realms so that you've scratched your itch, you've haunted your white whale. There's nothing remarkable about the insight that we are just starlight dressed up as matter. In fact, you take that as table stakes and you're like, “Holy [BLEEP], what's actually remarkable is this seven or eight or nine decades, I'm here in this form with opposable thumbs, and a prefrontal cortex, and work to do.” And that we actually come fully home like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Truly, I had to leave Kansas. I had to go chase the mirage of that big dude behind the cut and who wasn't all that to come back to Kansas and say, “[BLEEP] yes, there is no place like home. And here, I take my stand joyfully and courageously with my brothers and sisters.”

And so, that's the true recapture the rapture because we are at the eschaton. We are for sure at the end of a chapter. Who knows whether it's the whole book, but we are needed at full strength, and we can't be at full strength if we're limping, and crimped, and collapsed, and contracted around our trauma. And we can't if we're blasted off and [01:29:41] _____ at the back of beyond either. And blending those two things is the bliss [BLEEP] crucifixion. You're like, “Holy [BLEEP], I can light my nervous system up and I can experience neck-snapping, white light orgasm that melts my circuits.” Yes, you can. And the burden and the blessing of that knowledge is all the wounding of the world.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Jamie:  And can I hold them both without flinching?

Ben:  Yeah. It'll be interesting for me to read the book, especially for me coming at things from a Christian perspective, which is always interesting when I'm reading your materials and coming at it from a different standpoint, yet I always find it absolutely intriguing. And for those of you listening in, I know that you have your own thoughts, and comments, and feedback on a lot of this stuff, so A, when's the book come out, Jamie?

Jamie:  It launches in April, and I'm literally in final crunch right now [01:30:47] _____.

Ben:  Okay. I know exactly what it feels like. Okay. So “Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex, and Death in a World That's Lost Its Mind” comes out in April. I'm going to be reading it. Hopefully, sooner than that. If I get my hands on a review copy, I'll let you guys know and I will do a review of it. And then, if you guys have your own questions, and comments, and feedback in the meantime to add, because we covered a lot of stuff we haven't really talked about before on the show, just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/recapture. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/recapture, and that's where we'll have shownotes to everything that Jamie and I talked about. I'll also link to his book on Amazon if you want to preorder it. I love what he's doing and it would be enormously supportive for him if you want to get on and preorder the book, and it's definitely going to be one that I'm reading cover to cover.

Jamie, dude, that was a lot. I think that gives people quite a bit to work with.

Jamie:  Awesome, man. Well, dude, aren't we scheduled for you to come on Home Grown Humans on Friday?

Ben:  Yeah. You have a podcast, yes, or an online audio learning platform, whatever you want to call it, but yeah, I'll be on there I think later on this week.

Jamie:  Perfect. Well, you know, I would love actually to talk about that with you, like your faith and how it all intersects with everything that you do.

Ben:  Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Jamie:  And the personal space and optimization stuff.

Ben:  Absolutely. I would love to discuss that. So, there's your preview, folks. If you hear me on Jamie's show, that's probably part of what we'll be discussing. So, stay tuned for that, too. Alright, dude. Well, sounds good. So, I guess I'll talk to you in a few days. And again, for those of you listening in, in the meantime, you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/recapture for the shownotes for this episode. And Jamie, thanks so much for coming on, man.

Jamie:  For sure, man. Great chat.

Ben:  Alright, folks, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with author and performance expert Jamie Wheal signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.

 

 

Jamie Wheal is a peak-performance expert who, in his new book, Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex, and Death in a World That's Lost Its Mind, maps out a revolutionary new practice that combines the best of neuroscience and optimal psychology. He calls it hedonic engineering, and it is an intensive program of breathing, movement, and sexuality that mends trauma, heightens inspiration, and tightens connections—helping us wake up, grow up, and show up for a world that needs us all.

Groundbreaking new research is demonstrating that we can shift our neurology and biology into peak states and radically upgrade not just our well-being but also our sexual experiences. The secret to biohacking sex is to combine breathing, moving, and sexuality into an intense program that can be used to break free from the stress, anxiety, and addiction that are destroying us and find a way back to mental health.

Jamie is an expert on peak performance and leadership who specializes in the neuroscience and application of flow states. He has advised everyone from the U.S. Naval War College and Special Operations Command, the athletes of RedBull, and the owners of NFL, NBA, MLB, and Premier League teams to the executives of Google, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, Cisco, and Young Presidents' Organization. He studied historical anthropology under MacArthur Fellow Patricia Nelson Limerick, specializing in utopian social movements, and his work has appeared in anthologies and peer-reviewed academic journals.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Why Jamie wrote his latest book, Recapture the Rapture…07:55

  • “Required sequel” to Stealing Fire
  • Psychedelic renaissance, celebrities, etc. have “normalized” euphoric states
  • How we “steal fire” without burning down the house
  • No learning, no commitment in those who engage in euphoric practices
  • The words “party” and “medicine” are not meant to go together

-What the “flow state” has to do with sex and partner connectivity…11:35

  • Peak states take us out of our conscious identity
  • They help us heal and connect/collaborate with others
  • Not just a journey to the mountaintop; it's like a pyramid with ecstasies at the top, communitas (profound connection with other people), and catharsis (deep healing) as the bases of that pyramid
  • That pyramid is the geometry of our lives; putting those 3 things into motion, they become a spinning flywheel
  • We're forever seeing the highest heights, remembering what we forgot, using that information to come back down into our mortal, fallible lives and bodies, fix where we're broken, doing it in relation to each other
  • Flywheel of becoming; we're always cycling through one of those 3 places; pursuing it sincerely with a dedication to acting on the things we're shown, at some point we become twice-born humans, home-grown humans (Anthropos)
  • Leonardo's Vitruvian Man
  • We learn to “make love” in the course of having sex
  • Poem “Second Coming” by Yeats (most googled poem in 2016)
    • The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity
  • How do the best of us recapture the “wheel” from the worst of humanity
  • Open source, scalable, anti-fragile (when things get worse, it gets better) technology to be used to heal and connect with others (community)

-The evolutionary drivers that enable us to heal, inspire, and connect with other people…20:50

  • Respiration – breathwork
  • Sexuality – if we don't procreate, we cease to exist
  • Embodiment – how we tune and shape our bodies (bodies and brains shape hearts and minds)
  • Amplifiers – substances and music

-The hedonic yoga matrices of becoming…24:40


  • The psychedelic renaissance will eventually be co-opted by Big Pharma, venture capitalists, etc.
  • Alchemist's cookbook: things anyone can build with basic household materials
    • Toolkit that anybody anywhere can use with minimally exotic materials or practices to do inspiration healing and connection
    • Rick Doblin, the founder of MAPS
    • Jason Silva
  • Love Is The Drug by Brian Earp and Julian Savulescu
  • Nicole Prause recommends prescribing orgasm as a medical prescription
  • Sexual responses can play a major role in healing
  • Choose the endogenous vs. the exogenous

-How to hack the air we breathe…36:15

  • Oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen make up atmospheric air
  • Change blend ratios of O₂/CO₂/N₂ intake via breathing to shift consciousness
  • Gas-assisted breathwork:
    • Depleting CO₂ via hyperventilation; holotropic, or intensive hyperventilatory breathwork
    • Stan Grof and LSD researchers at Johns Hopkins achieved similar results via breathwork as seen with LSD doses
    • Increased intake of nitric oxide
    • Breathe through the nose and humming helps with sinusitis
    • Aboriginal didgeridoo playing and circular breathing
  • Breath by James Nestor
  • BGF podcast with James Nestor
  • Academic and ethical responsibility to contextualize theory and practice
  • Carbogen is a gas with different ratios of O₂ (30%) and CO₂ (70%) than air often used by scuba divers
  • Higher Wisdom by Dr. Roger Walsh
  • Carbon Dioxide Therapy by Ladislas Meduna
  • Patients reported a more intense experience on carbogen than LSD
  • Nitrogen:
    • Nitric oxide (neurotransmitter, bliss molecule, induces pleasure)
    • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • The evolutionary drivers (respiration, sexuality, embodiment, substances, music) can be “stacked” for an enhanced, expedited experience
  • Delta waves, usually only found while in dreamless sleep, are an oft-overlooked means of achieving this “high”

-Biohacking sex with breathwork…54:13

  • Set up a comfortable space
  • Aesthetic focal points, dim lighting, etc.
  • Freedive protocol brought to dry land (gas-assisted breathwork)
    • Vagal breathing (slow exhale, slow inhale)
    • 50 hyperventilations (blowing out candles)
    • Inhale two lungfuls of pure oxygen (maxed red blood cells)
    • Nitrous oxide
  • Increasing O₂, CO₂, NO simultaneously
  • 45-second mark is where the magic happens
  • Music selection is essential (carrier wave to the epiphany)
  • Pain and pleasure can intersect close to the point of arousal
  • Orgasms “backed up in the queue” of the nervous system
  • Can be a sort of electromagnet with your partner

-Gels, creams, lotions, plant medicines, etc. for biohacking sex that Jamie recommends…1:12:05

  • Don't do anything morally, legally, ethically, culturally objectionable or against your religious guidelines
  • Dan Savage‘s 3 Gs: good, giving, and game
  • Functional physician who is 3 Cs: courageous, curious, and connected
  • Nitric oxide supplementation from beets to pumpkin seeds
  • Cannabinoids: Sativa
  • Difference between inhaled and ingested substances
  • Gas-assisted breathwork
  • Visionary or non-ordinary states:
    • Trust, consent, clear boundaries are non-negotiable
    • Partner isn't a sexual partner; more like a mountain-climbing partner
    • Oxytocin
    • Ketamine
    • MDMA
    • 2CB
    • Psilocybin
    • LSD
  • PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story by Alexander and Ann Shulgin
  • WHOMP playlist Spotify

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

– Jamie Wheal:

– BGF podcasts and articles about breathwork:

– Books:

– Supplements:

– Other resources:

Episode sponsors:

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