12 Ways Weed Affects Your Sex Life
Is it safe? Is it more fun? Are there long-term effects? Read on for answers.
If you like sex and you like marijuana, chances are you've probably entertained the idea of combining the two at some point in your life. (Hey—no judgment, pal!) And if you've indeed mixed sex with weed, you'll have surely noted the wide array of different thoughts, feelings, and sensations you'll experience as a result. Having sex on weed is often an entirely different experience.
But is it safe? Are there long-term effects on your health? And does it actually enhance the sexual experience in any meaningful way? Read on, because we've compiled everything you need to know about America's favorite recreational drug and sex. Plus, how having sex while high can totally change the vibe, if you know what we mean.
Weed may increase the amount of sex you're having.
A 2017 study found that marijuana users tend to have more sex than people who don't smoke weed at all. The study was conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the results were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
"What we found was compared to never-users, those who reported daily use had about 20 percent more sex," says the study's senior author and assistant professor of urology Michael Eisenberg, MD. "So over the course of a year, they're having sex maybe 20 more times." The study noted that women who didn't smoke pot had sex an average of 6 times per month whereas those who were daily users did it 7.1 times per month. Men who didn't smoke at all, on the other hand, had sex 5.6 times per month, while daily users did it 6.9 times per month.
"Frequent marijuana use doesn't seem to impair sexual motivation or performance," Eisenberg said. "If anything, it's associated with increased coital frequency."
Weed can make sex last longer… Or maybe just make it seem that way.
If you've ever used marijuana and then, say, ordered a pizza (and found that 30 minutes feels like an eternity), you'll know that time can appear to slow to a crawl. Does the same effect occur in bed?
"While the conclusion that marijuana helps guys last longer in bed is tempting, we cannot rule out the possibility that this drug simply alters men's perception of time," Justin Lehmiller, a sex educator and researcher at Ball State University, wrote in Playboy. "Sex might seem to last longer when you're high, but the actual amount of time you spend having sex might not really be any different from when you're sober."
Weed has been shown to reduce testosterone.
A 2002 study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology claims that weed reduces the level of testosterone in the body. As testosterone is one of the key hormones that triggers desire in both sexes, low levels have a negative effect on libido and erectile function. Indeed, studies on ED in young men have suggested that lifestyle choices—marijuana use being one of them—are a big factor in why young, non-obese men with no underlying conditions are being hit hard.
Marijuana's illicitness may help facilitate sex.
A pilot study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that weed's illegality made study respondents feel like partners-in-crime—and, as a result, partners-in-sex.
"Some participants reported that the illegality of marijuana contributed to the facilitation of sexual actions," said Dr. Joseph Palamar, Assistant Professor of Population Health and drug researcher at New York University and the study's lead researcher. "With alcohol, you can use it pretty much anywhere if you are of age. But you can't smoke marijuana out in public; it has to be a private area or an 'intimate' area where you're not going to get arrested. So if you have someone you're attracted to in your dorm room, or whatever, you're already in an intimate setting, alone, and doing something forbidden together. Participants commented on how that can lead to sex."
Sex on weed may make you want more sex on weed.
A finding from the same study found that sex while high was somewhat habit-forming. Some couples reported craving "more sex after the first sexual episode on marijuana."
Marijuana may make you less fertile.
If you're looking to pass on your genes, you may want to put down the bong for a little bit. Small studies have shown that using marijuana more than once-per-week can lower sperm counts by up to 30 percent, leading researchers to speculate that there's an interaction between sperm and marijuana's psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Another study found that even if the woman is the one who has smoked, the THC in her system can affect any sperm that enters her reproductive system. So far, the researchers aren't saying that this is a clear causation, but unless you're smoking weed for medical reasons, cutting it down or out completely might help your chances of conceiving. Also worth noting: Studies have shown that marijuana use is linked to premature births, stillbirth, and low birth weight.
Weed can decrease inhibition.
Not a shocker, I realize, but it's worth noting. A lot of stoners report that weed makes them more relaxed and lowers their anxiety and sexual inhibitions. That echoes countlessstudies that show that marijuana affects all kinds of anxiety disorders—from social anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder.
People who combine sex and weed also report being interested in trying particular activities that they might have been too shy to try sober, so it may expand your sexual repertoire.
…and make sex less safe.
A potentially negative flip-side to being a more loosey-goosey when having sex high is that you may be more inclined to throw caution to the wind with regard to safer sex.
One 2010 study published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors found a link between marijuana use and a lower frequency of condom use and relatedly, a higher incidence of STIs. Being stoned can also affect the giving and understanding of consent. In an altered frame of mind, you may not be able to agree to something or fully ensure that your partner is enthusiastically on board. Brooklyn based sex-positive community Hacienda have a guideline about sex while intoxicated. "More sober, more fun."
Smoking may lead to erectile problems.
An Australian study led by Marian Pitts at La Trobe University in Melbourne has found that men who smoke marijuana daily are four times more likely to have trouble reaching orgasm than men who don't. (Interestingly, other marijuana super users her team spoke to had the exact opposite problem and experienced premature ejaculation at nearly three times the rate of non-smokers.)
Pitt's team analyzed data collected as part of a 2005 telephone survey of 16 to 64-year-olds, and 8.7 percent of respondents said they had gotten high in the previous year, with twice as many men (11.2 percent) admitting to marijuana use as women (6.1 per cent). People under 36 were more likely to smoke marijuana than older participants.
Weed can impair women's sexual functioning, too.
A very common side effect of smoking weed is cottonmouth. Well, it turns out that "cottonvagina" is a thing, too. A participant in this qualitative study complained that being high didn't make sex better because it just made it harder to get and stay "naturally lubricated."
"It's the drying of the mucous membranes," psychiatrist specializing in pharmapsychology Dr. Judy Holland told Vice. "Now not all pot is going to give you dry mouth, but if you have had a strain that is giving you dry mouth, it will also make you drier [down there]."
Frequent marijuana users report having more sexual partners.
The same 2009 study found that women who reported frequent cannabis consumption were also more likely to report more than two sexual partners in the previous year. For men, any cannabis consumption was associated with "a doubling of the likelihood of reporting two or more partners."
The strain of marijuana you use may have a huge effect on your sexual experience.
Earlier, I talked about THC, weeds psychoactive ingredient. THC is actually stimulant and the component of marijuana that can make you feel paranoid.
Paranoia and sex can be an odd combination and sometimes interfere with the fight or flight response to the extent that sexual function is compromised. If you want to try and avoid that from happening—and you really should—try and get a strain of marijuana with a higher ratio of CBD to THC. CBD is the ingredient in weed that is associated with relaxation. There's plenty of info online about how the CBD/THC ratio breaks down to help you make a choice that's right for you.
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