25 August , 2005 12:53:00 Reporter: Tim Jeanes ELEANOR HALL: It may be known as the love drug, but researchers are now debunking the common belief that the drug Ecstasy is associated with an increase in libido. The finding was released at a conference on sexual health in Hobart today, as Tim Jeanes reports. TIM JEANES: The drug ecstasy is commonly taken by nightclub revellers; it's known as the love drug. Paul Dillon is with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. He says the latest research confirms that if you take ecstasy, you're actually more likely to want a good cuddle than something a bit more raunchy. PAUL DILLON: The perception is that ecstasy is the love drug, is the sex drug, and what we find with people who use ecstasy is that although they feel that they want to be close to other people and touch other people, they'd much actually prefer a big hug. TIM JEANES: Mr Dillon has presented a paper at the Australian Sexual Health Conference being held in Hobart. His presentation, "Drugs and Sex: Do They Really Go Together?", was prompted by what he says is a gap in our knowledge on the subject. PAUL DILLON: We do a lot independently. A lot of people actually look at sex, a lot of people look at drugs, but often we don't actually look at the link between the two. I mean, if you're looking at the stimulant drugs, people do use drugs and say that it heightens their sensory awareness, or the hallucinogenic drugs like LSD or cannabis to a lesser extent, what you can get there is a change in perception. We have a far greater range of drugs than we did even 20 years ago, and some of those drugs are very closely linked to sexual behaviour. I suppose the key one there would be GHB, Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, which we're starting to see in the club nightlife environments. That's a drug that for a long time was actually sold in sex shops, but once again, you take too much of it and things go terribly wrong, and we have had overdoses and we've even had deaths. TIM JEANES: Paul Dillon says despite the array of drugs now on offer alcohol is still the most popular. PAUL DILLON: It is a very, very powerful disinhibitor. We need to remember that alcohol is still the number one drug in this area. TIM JEANES: Now Shakespeare said that it provokes the desire, but takes away the performance. I mean, is that still as true today as it was in his day? PAUL DILLON: Well, I think anything that dis-inhibits you is going to make you… put you into situations that you may not consider going into before and unfortunately, we've all heard the term brew is droop, and I think that's what William Shakespeare was talking about. ELEANOR HALL: Paul Dillon from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, ending that report from Tim Jeanes in Hobart.