Whether you’re enhancing the intimate connection you have with your partner or exploring the boundaries of sex with someone you’re not committed to, sex is one of the most beautiful of all human experiences. Or at least, that’s how everybody talks about it and that’s how everybody wants it to be — even though it’s not that way for everybody. For a lot of people, cannabis is a way to help the passion back into the bedroom.

There are a lot of cannabis users who rave about the impact of cannabis use on their sex lives — and there’s also a lot of research that even suggests a biological mechanism for it. But there’s the other side of the coin like there always is. Those who use cannabis frequently or who report being addicted to cannabis might even experience low libido.

In another scenario all together — if you’re just way too stoned, then having sex might feel funny, awkward, or not at all pleasurable. You might not even get there, if you know what I mean.

As an herbalist, I think using cannabis around sex is a great way to bring something new to intimacy. But cannabis, like any intoxicant, can come between two people in a relationship,  depending on how it’s used. When cannabis becomes a third wheel in a sexual relationship, it’s just that — and it isn’t fun.

So with that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the ways cannabis works for and against your sex life.

Cannabis, relaxation and getting in the groove

A couple is intimate, lying in bed together

Arguably one of the most common things standing between people and good sex is insecurity or tension. In one study, researchers even concluded that loneliness and depression played a major role in the pain experienced by women during sexual intercourse. 

Your sex life isn’t jumping when there’s no one to do it with. But your sex life also isn’t jumping if you can’t enjoy sex, even if there’s a huge line of people waiting to do it with you. This is where cannabis can really work for your sex life.

In a 2019 study published in Sexual Medicine, researchers found that many women reported decreased pain during sexual intercourse after using cannabis. Now, we don’t know why that’s the case, but we can speculate. 

Increased relaxation, which is also associated with less tension, might be why some women experienced less pain during sex. Being relaxed is extremely important to sex, because if you’re stressed, it’s very difficult to feel safe during a vulnerable experience like sex.

Cannabinoids have the power to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression when used in the right amounts. For those who find that THC actually causes them some anxiety, CBD is another option to consider. It’s effective at bringing on relaxation and it isn’t psychoactive.

Cannabis and the orgasm.

The orgasm; another phenomenon to be affected by the use of cannabis — or at least, a lot of people say it does. In this study, a whopping 65% of those who used cannabis before sex reported an improved orgasm as one of the effects, in both men and women. 

There is a very key difference between the run of the mill orgasm and the life-changing orgasm. I can’t say I know what it is, I just know a life-changing orgasm when I get one. One of the consequences of the psychological effects of THC is increased physical sensitivity. This is likely the phenomenon behind the amazing orgasm that cannabis is seemingly able to inspire.

But it’s not that cannabis produces a great orgasm. One can’t just smoke a spliff and explode into orgasmic bliss (maybe it happens in metaphorical ways). Which means there’s something else behind it too. Cannabis users often report a sense of increased interpersonal connectedness after using it. This apparent ability to connect seamlessly with the person you’re sharing intimate space with is surely linked to the improvement of the orgasm.

For some people cannabis can cause these feelings of increased connectedness. It doesn’t happen for everybody (some people feel anxious after using THC), which is why it’s important to feel that way if cannabis is at all going to make your orgasm better. It’s important to know yourself and how you respond to cannabis, instead of taking this as meaning that everybody can enjoy a better orgasm with cannabis.

The most important part of your sex life: your libido.

A black and white image of a couple in bed

At the end of the day, the most important thing in your sex life is your libido. Without it, you’re not having sex, and without it you’re probably not enjoying sex very much if you are doing it. And this is also the place where cannabis use is a little bit controversial.

In the study published in Sexual Medicine already mentioned, women also reported increased sex drive. It’s been noted in this study, too. Cannabis, when used correctly and in the right amounts, obviously gets a lot of people in the right mood for sex.

But there is a caveat.

This lesser-spoken-about topic lurks in the dark undergrowth of cannabis conversation. After a long time of chronic cannabis use, your libido can somehow get lost. This is lesser studied in terms of scientific research, but in this study, researchers noted that 26% of cannabis-dependent users who were abstaining reported an increased sex drive. 

Now, it might be a minority of people for whom this happens — you use weed for a long time and then you wake up one day and realise you haven’t felt horny in ages. But it is a very real possibility for a lot of people. In this study published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviours, researchers noticed that couples in which both people smoked cannabis showed a decreasing trend in conflict resolution over time. This substantiates the idea that something happens between partners (and this could theoretically be extended into non-committed sexual encounters) that negatively affects relationship outcomes (such as sex) after a long time with an addictive relationship towards cannabis.

That’s why it’s really important to think about cannabis and sex in two ways. There’s using cannabis in your life, and of course having sex from time to time. Or there’s using cannabis from time to time before sex or using it only before sex and having a mind blowing experience.

Cannabis can enhance a person’s libido and sex life, but for a lot of people, if cannabis the main event in their life, libodo and sexual arousal can be negatively impacted. 

Finally, let’s talk about dose.

The dose of cannabis is really important to the sexual experience, but it’s also the easiest thing to control, so that’s also why I left it to the end. It’s really simple — don’t use too much of it, especially if THC is your chosen cannabinoid.

Every seasoned cannabis user has accidentally used too much cannabis before. It’s not nice. You can feel anxious, paranoid, nauseous, dizzy — nothing that’s conducive to sex. 

Now I want you to think about the dose of cannabis that typically brings you to that point of disaster. Now, your dose before sex should be at most, ¼ of that dose. 

If 50mg of THC gets you sufficiently blasted, consider a sexy dose to be somewhere around 15 or 20 mg. You can always take more. But you can’t go back once you’re a floppy bag of limbs trying to be sexy.

5 Tips from a herbalist on using cannabis with sex

A gay couple sharing intimacy in bed

Here are my tips on using cannabis with sex to make it work for your sex life and not against it. 

#1: Don’t treat weed like it’s your partner — if you’re more interested in using cannabis than you are in having sex, cannabis won’t make your sex life any better.

#2: Keep the dose modest — I recommend keeping the dose between 5 and 20 mg of THC, and no more than 50 mg of CBD.

#3: Make it a thing — the same way you would make date night a thing. Make a point of feeling sexy and taking cannabis consciously together with the purpose of enhancing your sexual experience. Make it romantic, too!

#4: Mix it up — try different forms of cannabis consumption like edibles and tinctures to mix it up. You might find that there are certain formulas that make you feel sexier than others or certain strains that make you feel sexier than others. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and experiment with different things.

And of course, the most important thing is enjoy it! 

How has cannabis affected you in the bedroom? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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