Cannabis and Sex
Ah, 420. A day to celebrate all things weed-related. In honour of the most “high” holiday, we’re looking at the ways sex and cannabis can be a match made in pure bliss -- when used with intention.
According to a 2020 study from The Kinsey Institute, COVID-19 is changing people’s sex lives in surprising ways. While majority of folks surveyed reported less sex, there was an increase in sexual diversity, including toys (ahem, how serendipitous), sexting (including nudes), sharing dirty fantasies, watching porn, masturbation selfies, and generally favouring various forms of cybersex.
So, the world is imploding and people are finding new ways to cope/explore/connect/survive via sexual diversity -- where does cannabis come in?
Whether you’re introducing a partner to your, er, kinkier desires - perhaps testing the waters of pegging for the first time? Reaping the countless benefits of masturbation, or just looking to experience less pain, the pungent green bud is here to help.
But first, we need to understand a bit more about desire, arousal, and the sexiest organ of all: the brain.
Sexual Desire & The Brain: The Dual Control Model
If you’ve read Emily Nagoski’s book Come As You Are (if you haven’t - do it!) then you may be familiar with the dual control model of sexual response, developed in the 1990s at The Kinsey Institute.
In a nutshell, this model proposes that the brain’s sexual response system mimics the “accelerator” and “brakes” relationship seen in our sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic nervous systems (“rest and digest”).
The accelerator is anything that excites our sexual response - sights, tastes, smells, touch, a fantasy - and gets our brain communicating with our genitals that they should wake the fuck up! something sexy is afoot.
The brakes are anything that can inhibit sexual response, including potential threats: pain, STIs, unwanted pregnancy, shame, stress, the ever-looming dread of a global pandemic, worrying about satisfying a partner or achieving orgasm. You know— basically anything involved with being a human being.
People of all genders experience brakes and accelerators in similar but different ways. If your brakes are on the floor under the weight of the world on your shoulders, no amount of acceleration is going to get you moving again.
What’s Weed Got To Do With It?
In seventh century India, and in many cultures since, cannabis was used as an aphrodisiac or to prepare for Tantric sex rituals. It was believed to help the consumer achieve euphoric connection with their divine selves.
So, I threw the question up on my Instagram stories:
“How does cannabis enhance or hinder your sex life / sexuality?”
And folks of all genders chimed in, with the most common theme being that it gets you out of your head and into. your damn. bodies. It lowers your inhibitions, stops overthinking and helps you feel grounded in the present moment, which is impossible when your mind is in 420 different places.
One study that looked at cannabis use and sexual satisfaction in cisgender women reported increases in sex drive, less pain and better orgasms. Aside from physically relieving pain in those who experience painful sex, cannabis can also help you relax, increase desire, sexual satisfaction and sensitivity to touch, and ease anxiety. One study also found cannabis helped people be more in their feels with a partner.
It makes sex possible for many with disabilities, chronic pain, or post-traumatic stress associated with sex. Anything that makes it easier to relax and be present and achieve better orgasms is a hell yes in our books.
Interestingly, one study found some cis men’s ability to achieve desirable orgasm was hindered by cannabis, but much more research is needed to understand the impacts of cannabis on sex and sexuality.
There is definitely a fine line when it comes to consumption; too much can lead to everyone falling asleep on the couch or getting too stoned for sexy times (we’ve all been there).
Sparking Up to Get Down
If you’re new to the world of cannabis it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Cannabis lube is a staple for many with pelvic pain, and sparking up before getting down can definitely help set the mood.
A general rule of thumb when exploring cannabis for anything new is to start low and go slow. THC can reduce pain and boost mood while getting you high, and CBD encourages relaxation and eases inflammation. CBD can also balance out the undesirable effects of THC, like paranoia and anxiety, so it’s a great way to soothe those sexy time nerves and maybe boost the accelerator a little.
Whether you choose to smoke or vape, consume edibles, oils or beverages, or drown your genitals in infused coconut oil (don’t forget oil-based lubes are not condom-safe!), always make sure to consume responsibly and with open communication if you’re with others.
Well, what are you waiting for?