Whenever 35-year-old Hannah finds her sleep schedule slipping out of control — which happens around four or five times a year — she starts a two-week course of melatonin, a hormone supplement that tells your body it’s time to rest. Three days into one of these cycles, Hannah had an epiphany, which she shared on Reddit two years ago. “[I] had an interesting experience last night after taking melatonin and having sex,” she wrote in a r/SexOver30 thread. “[I’m] wondering if anybody has had similar experiences?”
What followed was a gloriously in-depth, horny essay about a crazy intense orgasm, as well as what she described as a melatonin-induced “sex high in [her] lady parts.” Since then, she’s fine-tuned her research and has discovered that a 5-milligram pill taken 30 to 45 minutes before fucking usually brings her to that same mind-blowing climax. “My experience seems to be an unusually intense reaction,” she tells me, cautioning that she hasn’t heard of this happening to other people very often. Still, a couple of years after her initial discovery, melatonin continues to get her off. Hannah estimates that each two-week course brings around five “pretty solid” orgasms, which is more than she has without it.
Obviously, it’s important to use any kind of supplement safely — consulting a medical professional and keeping an eye on dosage — but it seems Hannah isn’t alone in her kinky melatonin escapades. Some sex stores sell melatonin brownies as libido aids, a 1996 book refers to it as “nature’s age-reversing, disease-fighting, sex-enhancing hormone” and people like Tom, a pseudonymous 31-year-old, joke that they get the “melatonin hornies” when they take it to help them sleep. In fact, Tom says a 3-milligram pill can get him so boned up that he’s down to fuck even when he’s not awake. “My wife says it usually happens about 10 minutes after I fall asleep,” he explains. “I’ll start touching her. Sometimes I wake up and we get busy. Other times, I’ll eventually roll back over and succumb to sleep.”
To understand these effects, it’s important to break down what melatonin actually is. In short, it’s the sleepy-time version of serotonin, a hormone that keeps us energized throughout the day. As it gets darker, our melatonin levels gradually creep up to tell us that it’s time for bed, peaking at around 3 a.m. when most of us are in the deepest throes of sleep.
Research about its aphrodisiac qualities is seriously limited, however. There’s a bit of conflicting data about whether it enhances or suppresses fertility, but next to nothing that explains the “melatonin hornies” Hannah and Tom experience. All we have is a 2014 experiment that found melatonin can restore erectile function in rats with spinal-cord injuries and a more recent Turkish study that correlates ED with low melatonin levels, but neither makes much of a reference to its reputation or potential as a libido-enhancing supplement.
That said, Tom theorizes it might be related to the sleepy, spaced-out feelings it gives you (at least at low-to-medium doses). “There’s something about the drowsiness,” he argues. “It’s almost like you’re finally so relaxed and stress-free that your instincts are allowed to take over your brain. It kind of changes the state of your mind right before you pass out, creating this limbo where you’re too ‘asleep’ to be worrying about the real world, but still awake enough for your natural instincts to be driving your behavior. Melatonin seems to allow you to ‘ride’ this limbo state between being awake and asleep.”
Incidentally, melatonin is one of the hormones released during orgasm — it gives you that sweet, post-cum grogginess that often leads to deep sleep, which is why sex itself is sometimes recommended as a sleep aid.
When I ask Hannah if this drowsiness plays a part in her sexy experiences with melatonin, she explains that she’s usually more easily aroused when she’s sleepy, but that it’s way harder to reach orgasm without the supplement. With melatonin, however, orgasms are a walk in the park. “I’m in that highly aroused, sleepy state, but I’m able to have an orgasm way more easily,” she says. “They’re good, solid orgasms, too — they’re intense, but they don’t feel like I had to work that hard to get there.”
Again, caution and medical advice are key here, as melatonin can also elicit less pleasant effects like supremely fucked-up dreams. There’s an entire subreddit dedicated to these psychedelic visions, some of which are sexy — examples range from imagined stories of grinding on strangers in front of exes to kinky gay threesomes — but most of which are described as “violent,” “weird,” and in some cases, the “scariest dreams” people have ever had. Melatonin can also cause nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and joint pain at higher doses, so if you’re thinking of undertaking some Hannah-style melatonin experiments, tread lightly — it’s hardly a perfect cum-enhancer, and definitely doesn’t work for everyone.
But if you’re into being a little sleepy during sex and you don’t mind the potential nightmares, a nice low dose could skyrocket you toward the kind of Reddit-worthy orgasm that Hannah memorialized two years ago. The more likely result, however, is that you’ll end up grinding drowsily against your partner before rolling over into a deep slumber. Still, no harm, no foul — if all it gets you is a restful eight hours, that’s almost as good as an orgasm… right?