The subject of cannabis and sex can be a confusing one. Research reveals two diametrically opposing points of view. One says cannabis helps your sex life; the other says it harms it. Dig a little deeper on the subject, and you’ll find scientific study backing up both sides of the argument – but you should never let an argument stand in the way of sex, so let’s take a look at some of the ways weed can theoretically help ‘the deed’.
Cannabis’ Potential as an Aphrodisiac
As far back as the 11th/12th century, the libido-enhancing and wellness wonders of cannabis were known and documented in Ayurvedic medical texts, where the plant’s aphrodisiac properties were highly commended. As such, the use of cannabis would form an integral part of tantric rite in the culture through the ages.
If you’re an experienced stoner, chances are you’ll know by now whether cannabis affects your libido positively, negatively, or not at all. A study from 2010 examined the differences in effects of cannabinoids on male and female sexual behaviour and found that women were more consistent in reporting sexual benefits after using cannabis[i], and several studies since appear to back this up.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study in 2019 that analysed the responses of 373 women. Half of whom admitted to regular cannabis use. Of these respondents, 60.6% noted an increase in sex drive[ii], solidifying those years of anecdotal evidence suggesting cannabis has aphrodisiac properties. Many of the sexual benefits linked to cannabis use are likely attributable to the body’s endocannabinoid system. CB1 cannabinoid receptors the most likely culprit in transforming cannabinoids into a sophisticated sexual rocket fuel (okay, maybe not quite) that can facilitate arousal in everything from the brain to the genitals.
It’s thought that cannabis can help your sex drive by making you more attuned to your partner. Boosting the neurotransmitter serotonin and heightening your senses, making you more susceptible to touch – basically boosting sensuality. However, this would appear to be a dose-dependent phenomenon. Over-consumption can lead to sedative effects, which would no doubt dampen sexual enthusiasm. A couple of tokes on a spliff might be just the thing to kick start some bedroom fun on Valentine’s Day. Set the scene for romance with your partner and see if a little weed gets you in the mood.
Cannabis Affects Sexual Function
Marijuana is believed to slow down the body and reaction times. Altering the perception of time in some cases. So, surely it must be bad for physical arousal, right? The stereotype of a stoner has long been one of a sleepy, slow-moving individual, so you’d think cannabis may harm sexual health – but that stereotype is changing as science continually produces more evidence of the positive effects of THC and other cannabinoids on the human body.
Sex is one of the most interesting areas of study, with the white coats finally learning what many of us already knew – that in many people, cannabis has numerous powerful positive effects on states of physical, sexual arousal and pleasure. In the case of male erectile function, for example, the role of cannabis as a vasodilator – meaning its ability to relax blood vessels and thereby improve blood flow – certainly seems to suggest that cannabis can contribute to stronger wood, in the short term at least. A warning, however – although studies do indicate a boost in this area, they’ve also found that chronic long-term use has the opposite effect and that daily heavy cannabis users may experience the anguish of erectile dysfunction.
There is some good news for those men, however – while imbibing cannabis is unlikely to reverse erectile dysfunction immediately, the good news is that are no contraindications between cannabis and Viagra or Cialis, so unlike alcohol, these performance-enhancing medications should still respond if you’ve combined either one of them with cannabis. In women, a recent study indicated an improvement in sexual function, sexual desire, arousal, and pleasure from regular use of the cannabis plant.
Warning: Cannabis may Significantly Enhance the Power of Your Orgasms
Some people – women especially – report feeling far more satisfactory orgasms after using cannabis. In other cases, cannabis has been lauded as a miracle ingredient that has helped women experience orgasms after years of being unable to climax.
There are studies to back this up, too in a study from 2017 titled The Relationship Between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women, an impressive 72% of respondents claimed marijuana always increased their pleasure, while nearly 62% said it enhanced the quality of their orgasms. The numbers are impressive; in each case, well over half of those participating in the study stated that cannabis use prior to sex significantly improved their experience, and who doesn’t want better sex?
To ease the fears of those who fear cannabis use could hinder their sexual performance or cause sexual dysfunction, the study found that only 3% of respondents experienced impairment[iii].
Cannabis and sex might not combine spectacularly for everyone, but the numbers in these studies are stacked in its favour.
Cannabis can Help improve Sex through Relaxation
For some people, the idea of sex and the prelude to sex can be extremely anxiety-inducing. This can be crippling but is sadly not outwith the norm. Whether through fear of intimacy, inhibitions, issues with body confidence or even unhealed past trauma, the notion of being naked and performing can cause the kind of stress that can not only stop some people from performing well and enjoying sexual activity, it can cause them to abstain from sex altogether.
One of the ways cannabis can help with this is its known positive effect on physical and mental relaxation. The wonder plant’s anxiolytic effect seems to put responsible users at ease and can go a long way to breaking down the mental barriers some people have built up over time, leading to the kind of liberated mindset which ultimately results in better and more carefree sexual experiences. That’s not to say you should get absolutely blazed before going in, of course – over-consumption can most certainly put the kibosh on amorous activities as it may lead to temporary effects which can be mildly incapacitating.
Cannabis may also have a role to play in terms of pain relief for those who experience physical pain during intercourse.
Dose, strain and consumption method are all factors one should be aware of prior to engaging in sexual activity in order to get to the sweet spot where sexual enhancement is likely. If you’re new to this and want to experiment, start with low doses – maybe share a lightly-dusted joint with your partner and wait for side effects before engaging. Or split an edible and get in the mood while it kicks in. If you’re lucky enough to live near a dispensary, get some gummies with different levels of THC to experiment on which level workers best for you.
The reported sexually-enhancing properties of cannabis are so promising that some companies have taken to producing cannabis-based lubricants, specifically for ladies – but before you turn your nose up at the thought of yours or you lover’s intimate regions suddenly smelling like Snoop Dogg’s dressing room, read on. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)-infused sexual lubricants are mostly odourless, and reassuringly flavourless into the bargain. Some have a very faint herbal scent to them, but it’s barely noticeable and certainly not overwhelming. One of the most encouraging upsides to cannabis lubes is that they perform the function they were designed for extremely well, meaning a good likelihood that you’ll stay wet – this is a clear advantage over many of the silicon-style lubes available for sex, which are typically very sticky for a few minutes but give way to a frustrating dryness soon after. The inconvenience of regular re-application is removed, freeing you up to relax and enjoy the experience.
Another bonus is that it relaxes lady parts, and is said to remove tension from the area while offering increased blood flow which can lead to enhanced pleasure. Depending on which lube you choose, you may even get the bonus of pleasant tingling, and product reviews are filled with glowing reports of women experiencing better orgasms than ever. The downsides? Some of the sprays can take up to an hour to kick in, so spontaneity can be compromised since planning and preparation are key. Also, if you’re going to use a THC lube, be extremely aware that these tend to be oil-based, and as such you should definitely not use these with condoms as they’re far more likely to break – and that’s not going to help anyone’s arousal. There are a plethora of CBD based lube options to choose from.
Cannabis and Sex. A Conclusion
Looking at scientific and anecdotal evidence, there’s enough of both to make the assertion that plenty of people find significant benefits in combining the effects of marijuana and sex. From enhanced arousal, more powerful orgasms, greater overall sexual satisfaction or even just a better emotional connection with your partner during lovemaking, there appears to be some extremely pleasing results.
Who would ever have thought that combining two of the most fun activities in life would enhance the pleasure? This is one experiment you’ll want to sign up for!