You’ve probably heard rumors about the effects weed can have on your sex life, but what’s really going on when you light up before getting between the sheets? Some people say that marijuana has helped them have longer, more intense orgasms (and more of them), while others say cannabis may contribute to erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems. So what’s the whole truth? Is marijuana good or bad for your sex life?
Thankfully, the era of safe, legal cannabis is ushering in a new wave of research that will hopefully put some of these rumors to bed. Recent studies on marijuana use and sexuality show that the truth may be a bit more nuanced, and that we still have a lot to learn about cannabis in the bedroom.
Does Marijuana Increase Sexual Desire?
It makes sense that the calming effects of cannabis might help put you in the mood, and a recent study found a very interesting correlation between marijuana use and higher libidos. Tracking adults who used marijuana and those who didn’t, the researchers found that users had about 20% more sex than abstainers. That looks like a pretty significant jump in frisky business!
However, the study’s data was somewhat limited. Because the researchers didn’t collect information about when participants were using marijuana relative to when their sexual activity occurred, it’s hard to say there’s a direct link between weed and libido just based on this study alone. For example, if a participant smoked in the morning and had sex in the evening, the link between marijuana and their sexual activity seems less compelling than if they were enjoying cannabis with their partner before heading to the bedroom. Still, perhaps relaxing with a little marijuana at any time of the day might do the trick to help you get in the mood.
Although researchers have yet to prove a direct causal relationship between cannabis and heightened libido, there is evidence to suggest that cannabinoids may have a more pronounced effect on women. According to sex therapist Lawrence Siegel, the cannabinoid THC may directly target the part of a woman’s brain that drives desire. So, while the jury is still out on the question of marijuana and libido, early research points to a link between using cannabis and more desire for sex.
Does Marijuana Improve or Increase Orgasm?
While you may have heard of (or experienced) longer and more intense orgasms while using cannabis, we don’t yet have a lot of data that proves weed really does enhance sex. After all, slowed-down euphoric bliss does sound a lot like just being high.
However, there is one study that suggests a link between cannabis and a more intense female orgasm. The smart vibrator company Lioness has created a product that can sense and record a woman’s orgasm based on the contractions of her pelvic floor muscles. On their blog, they published compelling orgasm data from several women showing climax was reached more quickly and lasted longer when they had smoked or ingested marijuana. If you’ve ever wanted to see orgasms represented in graph form, their blog is a real treat. Of course, more research on the topic is still needed to definitively prove marijuana’s effects on sexual desire and pleasure, but early signs all point to yes.
Can Marijuana Cause Sexual Dysfunction?
So far, the link between cannabis and a better sex life is looking pretty sunny, but what about the other rumors out there? As much as we love marijuana, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t explore the possibility of negative side effects for some folks. For starters, is it true that cannabis can cause erectile dysfunction?
So far, none of the studies that have been conducted have found a link between marijuana and erectile dysfunction. Common causes of erectile dysfunction include heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Although some doctors believe that smoking marijuana in conjunction with tobacco use may cause erectile dysfunction, taking action to tackle the known causes of ED will likely have a better impact on men’s sexual performance than cutting out cannabis.
There is however, some evidence that cannabis can lower a man’s sperm count. A small recent study found that a higher concentration of THC in urine correlated to a lower sperm count. Depending on your personal family-planning goals, this might sound like good news, bad news, or not really interesting news at all, but don’t throw your condoms out yet! As of this writing, no research has been published that suggests these lower sperm counts in THC users might actually have an effect on fertilization or the quality of the sperm.
There may be some negative side-effects for women too. Certain strains of weed can dry up the mucous membranes in our bodies, which is the cause of that familiar cottonmouth sensation. This same feeling can occur present in the vagina as well. For some women, vaginal dryness caused by marijuana can cause serious discomfort during sex. Luckily, this issue can be easily relieved with a bit of lube, and drinking more water won’t hurt either.
Cannabis and Your Bedroom
While scientists have yet to conclusively determine exactly how cannabis affects our sex lives, you have the power to get all the data on what you enjoy. Experiment with a partner or on your own to see how marijuana changes your sexual desire and experience. Make sure you don’t get too high; while sitting on the couch like a giggly puddle might be fun, it’s not always the sexiest vibe. On that note, if you are new to edibles use them with caution, as they can have more powerful effects than smoking or vaping.
Budtender and sexpert Chelsea Cebara tells Thrillist that finding the right strain is absolutely essential to having a great stoned sack session. “If you smoke a strain that is the wrong one for you, you can become nauseated, uncomfortable, and that’s not what you want. The right strain is going to make you more aware of your body. This is really important. You want something that’s not going to be too foggy, something that won’t cause you anxiety. Good strains for sex are ones that maintain mental clarity while giving you a relaxing body high.” She goes on to suggest that, in her experience, indica strains are the best for sex.
At the end of the day, everyone is different and sexuality is a wide and beautifully varied spectrum. We all feel marijuana’s effects a little differently, and one person’s bliss may not suit you. Trust and listen to your body, and use cannabis in the way that best benefits you.