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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***

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MDMA molecule. Image from Charley Wininger

MDMA is the chemical of connection.

Its pharmacological action is able to generate a profound wash of safety, love, sensuality, and open-heartedness and thus, an ability to deeply connect with ourselves, with others, and our lives in general.

It is likely that you have heard of MDMA (3,4-methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine) as a highly-effective and emerging treatment for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

You might also have heard that, when it first entered the therapeutic scene back in the 1970s, it was used primarily for couples therapy.

It is MDMA for couples, romantic couples in particular, that we explore in today’s episode.

And we are going to do so with Charles Wininger.

mdma for couples charley wininger
Learn more about Charley and his work at

Charles Wininger, LP, LMHC, is a licensed psychoanalyst and mental health counselor specializing in relationships and communication skills. Recognized as “The Love Doctor” by the New York Times and Newsday, he’s been treating couples and individuals in his Manhattan and Brooklyn offices for 30 years. He sits on the board of advisors of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program at the Center for Optimal Living in New York. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.

He is also the author of the recent book, Listening To Ecstacy: The Transformative Power of MDMA.

His book is described as “A personal narrative and guide to the safe, responsible use of MDMA for personal healing and social transformation“… “Revealing MDMA’s versatility when it comes to bringing lasting renewal, pleasure, and inspiration to one’s life, [showing] that recognizing the transformative power of happiness-inducing experiences can be the first step on the path to healing.”

Additionally, Wininger is in his 70s, having rediscovered MDMA in his 50s. So we also talk about what it’s like to take MDMA as a senior, and the role (read: roll) MDMA has played in his perspectives on both aging and on living in the winter years of his life.

Charley Wininger joins us to talk about MDMA for couples, as well as MDMA for personal healing, spiritual awakening, and staying connected to the joy of being alive as we age into the winter years of our lives. Of course, MDMA comes with certain risks, and we talk about that too.

This interview was not only inspiring for me, but deeply touching, and I hope that you get as much of this interview as I did.

discuss this episode on our subreddit

Episode Clips



Episode Breakdown

  • MDMA for couples / MDMA in our aging time
  • How this interview came into existence
  • The history of MDMA, MDMA for couples, and MDMA’s prohibition
  • Rediscovering MDMA at 50 years old
  • The benefits of MDMA for the individual
  • MDMA is the chemical of connection
  • Accessing profound self-love, and how it changes you
  • Transforming one’s relationship to their body with MDMA
  • The benefits of MDMA for romantic partnerships
  • Using MDMA for couples therapy
  • The power of deep love and safety in resolving long-standing relationships conflicts
  • We all have these little dark secrets that we’ll be rejected if known
  • The importance of being careful with who you take MDMA with
  • How a cult of two collapses a relationship
  • How our relationship fail when we forget generosity and gratitude within it – and how MDMA helps remind us
  • The profound value of touch
  • MDMA is sensual, not necessarily sexual (but cannabis helps)
  • How reconnecting with the loving vulnerability between you and your partner can reawaken sexual intimacy
  • WARNING: MDMA within abusive relationships might make things worst
  • Taking MDMA as a senior citizen
  • The danger of taking MDMA as an older person
  • Losing the magic – Can taking a lower dose of MDMA help to bring the magic back?
  • Integration: A different way of understanding the MDMA hangover
  • The pain of using MDMA to open your heart.
  • What does aging offer us; what does it take away; where does MDMA fit in the process
  • The disadvantages of aging vs internalized ageism
  • How MDMA has impacted Wininger’s relationship to death and dying
  • Bridging the age apartheid with MDMA and the rave scene
  • You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone; learning how important our relationships are before death ends them
  • The most important lesson MDMA has to teach us during the troubled times we are in

Relevant Links

Learn more about Charley Winiger, watch/read some of his other interviews and videos, learn more about his book, or connect with him for a chat.

Listening to Ecstasy: The Transformative Power of MDMA
A personal narrative and guide to the safe, responsible use of MDMA for personal healing and social transformation




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*** Extra BIG thanks to my patrons on Patreon for helping keep this podcast alive! Especially, Andreas D, Clea S, Joe A, Ian C, David WB, Yvette FC, Ann-Madeleine, Dima B, Eliz C, Chuck W, Nathan B, & Nick M

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